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UNDER THE SEA 3D

Change One Element /Whole System is Affected
One of the points "Under the Sea 3D” illustrates is how these species are interconnected— with each other and with their habitats—and evolved in ways that make it possible for them to live and thrive.

Small, agile fish known as Cleaner Wrasse get their meals by grooming dead skin and parasites from the mouths and gills of larger carnivorous species. The larger fish, in turn, refrain from eating the Wrasse because they value the service. Keen-eyed gobies often share their dens with shrimp, which are blind but are excellent burrowers. Staying close to the goby, shrimp are warned of approaching predators; meanwhile, they employ their digging skill to enlarge the goby's home. The coral reef, itself alive, provides a refuge for many animals, as well as a hunting ground for food and a place to spawn.

As Howard observed in "Deep Sea 3D” and reiterates here, "If you remove one element from the mix, things change. Remove several things and the system collapses. "It's a complicated situation, ” he grants. "There are many issues affecting the coral reef. Industries, especially in the Third World, have a major impact. There's a lot of benefit to people from that kind of development but there is also a benefit to people to have the coral reefs and not to allow them to die off.

"One of the things affecting coral reefs on a worldwide scale, and especially the Coral Triangle region where you have the greatest biodiversity, is climate change— specifically the increase in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Not only does carbon dioxide create the greenhouse effect that causes global temperatures to increase, but it also dissolves into sea water, altering its chemistry from alkaline to more acidic. It's not a big change, but it affects some very important chemical reactions. Most importantly, it hinders the formation of calcium carbonate, and calcium carbonate is what makes the coral reefs themselves, as well as the shells of animals like mollusks, clams, and the Chambered Nautilus,” he explains.

"If these chemical changes become too dramatic because carbon dioxide levels rise too high, coral reefs could begin to dissolve and many animals would be unable to form shells, and that could have a devastating effect on ocean ecology worldwide.”

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