Coral reefs are quite fragile and can be easily broken off by hand. The coral reefs make up the largest biological structure on Earth. Coral Reefs need light, current and warm waters; Coral Reefs are facing big environmental issues such as bleaching (which causes the coral to die), development near the coast has also attributed to the death of reefs all over the world, links have also been made to the thinning of the ozone layer.
The best way to test for fragility is to not touch them.
Testing the fragility of a coral reef is one of the easiest things in the world. It takes a little time but will give a large amount of information. Watch from afar, perhaps 12 ft. study the lifeforms in the reef. Take notes of how they manage their days. Then a few days later, walk on it, touch it, put a tin can on one of the outcroppings. Then study it again. Just those small acts of what we consider normal and innocent activities will adjust their entire world. The can and your body will add new germs to their home, some animals may die. If you walk on it it is very easy to break off a small 1 inch piece. And that alone will kill maybe a hundred little animals that those you didn’t unhouse will need to eat.
Once the reefs are disrupted the time it takes for the indigenous life form to return and repair the damage is in the 50 – 100 year range.
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