Be the most informed person in the room with Newsy's free e-newsletter

View our privacy policy: http://www.newsy.com/privacy/
USFWS - Pacific Region

Ah, Fish Pee. Keeping Our Beloved Coral Reefs Alive

Coral reefs have been dying at an unprecedented rate since the 1970s.

By Lindsey Pulse | August 19, 2016

It turns out nothing keeps the world's coral reefs thriving quite as well as ... fish pee.

The urine, which has phosphorus in it, is a fertilizer for coral populations. That, along with nutrients in the water, helps coral grow.

SEE MORE: Global Warming Is Killing Corals In The Great Barrier Reef

Article Continues Below

But overfishing has decreased the populations of the large fish that produce the needed nutrients for reefs to thrive.

And corals are already facing enough problems. Since the 1970s, reefs have been dying at an unprecedented rate.

The underwater animals need an intricate balance of environmental factors to thrive, but warming water temperatures are killing them. Bleaching and rising levels of acidity have caused entire reefs to disappear.

SEE MORE: When Coral Reefs Die, Fish May Lose Survival Instincts

Which isn't great because reefs are a breeding ground for species that humans need to survive, like fish used for food and economic purposes.

They are also buffers for hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Want to see more stories like this?
Like Newsy on Facebook for More Animals Coverage