Coral Reefs in Kane'ohe Sandbar, Hawaii

Coral – Creatures of the sea  Part I

Aloha! This is the Captain Bruce PR team!

You may see coral while you snorkel in the seas of Hawaii. Coral is vital to the creatures living in the waters of Hawaii. Coral also serves as a natural barrier and protects the environment in that we humans live from strong tides.

Coral Reefs in Kane'ohe Sandbar, Hawaii
Coral Reefs in Kane’ohe Sandbar, Hawaii

Are corals carnivores?

In Kaneohe Bay where Captain Bruce operates the tours, we are protected by a barrier reef. This barrier reef keeps waves calm all year round, which allows the corals to continue growing. There are mainly three types of corals in Kaneohe bay, cauliflower coral, lobe coral, and finger coral. We think of coral to be vegetation, but in reality, they are closer to being sea anemones. Their bones are made of calcium. Inside there is a polyp that has an antenna. At night the polyp uses its antenna to collect and feed on plankton, so corals are carnivores.

Corals clean the ocean environment

Corals live near the surface of the ocean where sunlight can reach them, to a depth of around 30 meters. The coral formations serve as shelters for reef fish and sea turtles.

  • Coral Reefs in Kane'ohe Sandbar, Hawaii

When you snorkel, you may see sea turtles resting in between corals, and the reef fish actually feed off the corals. If the corals were to disappear then these creatures would not be able to survive.

The calcification of the corals

The calcification of the corals is not just a problem for Hawaii but for all over the world. This is called coral bleaching. The rise in the temperature of the ocean and the strong sunlight are some of the reasons for coral bleaching. Also, other factors affecting the corals are the overdevelopment of land and the runoff of agricultural chemicals and dirt. Coral reefs may revive after a few bleaching events, but if they calcify for a prolonged period of time then they will die.

Coral Reefs in Kane'ohe Sandbar, Hawaii

It is important to stop coral bleaching especially for the ocean and for the creatures living in it. The survival of the corals is important for humans as we receive many benefits from the ocean.

Let’s protect the corals

The state of Hawaii, ten years ago, in order to control and eliminate foreign marine vegetation, released Hawaiian sea urchins ln Kaneohe Bay. The sea urchins eat the foreign vegetation in order to grow, so placing the sea urchins controls the increase of the foreign vegetation.

There are ways to help protect the corals.

1. Do not touch or stand on the corals.

When swimming or snorkeling or scuba diving in the ocean, let’s not touch or stand on the corals, in order to protect them from damage.

Coral Reefs in Kane'ohe Sandbar, Hawaii

2. Use ‘Reef Safe’ sunscreen

In the state of Hawaii, a law was passed on January 1, 2021, to ban the sale of sunscreen containing oxybenzone and octinoxate. 

In the stores of Hawaii, you can find many brands of ‘Reef Safe’ sunscreen, so please check and see for yourself.

The sun’s rays are very strong in Hawaii, so in order to protect your skin you need to use sunscreen. It’s very important to use a ‘Reef Safe’ sunscreen to protect the ocean environment.

The issues mentioned here are for when you swim and/or snorkel in the ocean.
In addition, plastic waste is a serious environmental problem. In Hawaii, the use of styrofoam containers and plastic utensils has been prohibited on September 6, 2022.

Many things have been done to protect the ocean. We must all strive to come up with things to do to better the world around us.

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