First and foremost we must stop pollution of our oceans. Some pollution like oil spills can certainly be avoided by careful operation or ceasing offshore drilling altogether. However cumulative effects associated with climate change, like ocean acidification and increased fresh water content, may be irreversible. If these processes continue the coral reefs may die. Also as a side note, snorkelers or other explorers of coral reefs should remember not to touch any of the environment because oils from human skin can be damaging to the reef.
There are organizations that specifically focus on the study and protection of coral reefs, such as the United States Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF). This organization partners with the EPA, academic institutions and non-profit groups to address issues such as over-fishing, misuse of recreation related to the reefs, coral bleaching, coral diseases, water quality and proper coral reef management. Through research, monitoring, mapping, environmental education and on-site action, the USCRTF works to conserve these ecosystems, both in the U.S. and internationally. It has an Education and Outreach Working Group, which enables students, scholars and activists to take part in coral reef protection.
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