The following are guest posts from undergraduate students in the Marine Ecology class that I am a TA for this semester. See the entire student blog at http://marineecologyblog.web.unc.edu/
By Courtney Grigsby
If you’re a Disney fan, you’ve probably seen the movie Finding Nemo. Besides the memorable catch phrases in the movie such as “Fish are friends, not food” and “Just keep swimming” one thing we all remember is that Nemo lives in an anemone. Anemones fall under the phylum Cnidaria which includes one of the most important creatures in our world, coral reefs. Nemo’s beautiful underwater community is mostly coral reefs.
Corals provide complex structures that organisms, such as small fish like Nemo, can hide in to avoid predation. They contribute to the biodiversity of the oceans, ensuring that fish like Nemo and Dori, and even Crush and Squirt the sea turtles, have the resources they need to survive.
Coral reefs give us many of the medicines we use today. If you suffer from asthma, you need coral reefs. If you have a family member with arthritis, they need coral reefs. If you take pain or anti-inflammatory medications, you need coral reefs http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/habitats/oceanscoasts/explore/coral-reefs-and-medicine.xml
It’s great that we found Nemo, but now we need to work on making sure that Nemo and all his future kids and grandkids have a thriving community to live in. There are some simple things that we can do to protect the coral reefs. Make sure you don’t trample over any coral reefs on your next tropical family vacation, and of course, don’t throw trash into the ocean. Prevent sediment with toxic chemicals from polluting the reefs by asking family and friends to sweep their sidewalks and driveways instead of hosing them down, use weed-free mulch, and other things found on this site http://www.marc.org/environment/water/sediment.htm.
Help keep Nemo’s community thriving and remember, just keep swimming!