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Maui Wildfire Aftermath: Understanding the Impact on Surrounding Coral Reefs


The beauty of Maui, with its lush landscapes and stunning coral reefs, has long been a paradise for locals and tourists alike. However, the recent wildfires on the island have raised concerns about the potential consequences for its delicate marine ecosystems. In this blog post, we'll delve into the impact of the Maui wildfire on the surrounding coral reefs and explore the measures being taken to mitigate damage.


photo courtesy of euronews.com

The Link Between Wildfires and Coral Reefs


At first glance, wildfires and coral reefs may seem unrelated, given that one occurs on land and the other underwater. However, the relationship between these seemingly distinct ecosystems becomes apparent when we examine how wildfires can indirectly affect coral reefs.

  1. Water Quality and Sedimentation: Wildfires generate ash, sediments, and pollutants that can be washed into the ocean through rain runoff. This influx of sediment can reduce water clarity, blocking sunlight and hindering coral photosynthesis. Sedimentation can also smother corals, impacting their health and growth.

  2. Nutrient Runoff: The nutrient-rich runoff from burned areas can elevate nutrient levels in the ocean. Excessive nutrients can lead to eutrophication, fueling the growth of harmful algae. These algae can compete with coral reefs for resources and, in severe cases, smother and damage the corals.

  3. Temperature and Coral Bleaching: Wildfires may exacerbate climate change-induced temperature increases in the ocean. Elevated sea temperatures stress coral reefs, making them more susceptible to coral bleaching events. Coral bleaching occurs when corals expel the symbiotic algae that provide them with essential nutrients, potentially leading to coral mortality.


The impact of the Maui wildfire on the surrounding coral reefs is a reminder of the interconnectedness of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. While the fires may have direct consequences for the island's vegetation and landscape, they can also indirectly affect the health and resilience of the underwater wonders that make Maui so captivating. With careful monitoring and mitigation efforts, Maui's coral reefs have a chance to recover and continue enchanting visitors for years to come.


What can we do?


When the oceans are stressed, wearing a mineral sunscreen, as opposed to chemical sunscreens, can significantly reduce stress on coral reefs. Mineral sunscreens primarily use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients, which act as physical barriers to block harmful UV rays. Unlike chemical sunscreens, mineral sunscreens do not contain oxybenzone and octinoxate, common ingredients known to harm coral reefs. When chemical sunscreens wash off swimmers' skin, they can accumulate in the ocean, promoting coral bleaching, impairing coral reproduction, and disrupting marine ecosystems. By choosing mineral sunscreens, conscientious beachgoers can help protect these vital marine ecosystems, ensuring that our beautiful coral reefs continue to thrive and support marine life.


Better for you. Better for the environment.


About



EPO9 was formed four years ago by a collection of surfers, scuba divers, snorkelers, swimmers and outdoor enthusiasts who worship the sun but really care about, and want to protect, the oceans and marine environment which brings us so much joy. Eponine Labs, LLC was incorporated in June 2022. Its mission is to manufacture a sunscreen that is truly non-toxic to the marine eco-system and ​will afford the user the highest standard of skin protection from the sun's harmful UV rays.


People choose Coral Sure Sunscreen for its broad spectrum protection and non-toxic, moisturizing properties. Learn more at www.epo9coralsure.com


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