Coral reefs are often referred to as the rainforests of the oceans because they are so biodiverse.
Coral reefs are warm, clear, shallow ocean habitats that are rich in life.
The reef's massive structure is formed from coral polyps, tiny animals that live in colonies; when coral polyps die, they leave behind a hard, stony, branching structure made of limestone.
The coral provides shelter for many animals in this complex habitat, including sponges, fish (e.g. blacktip reef sharks, groupers, clown fish, eels, parrotfish, snapper, and scorpion fish), jellyfish, anemones, sea stars, crustaceans (like crabs, shrimp, and lobsters), turtles, sea snakes, snails, and mollusks (like octopuses and clams). Birds also feast on coral reef animals.
Coral reefs develop in shallow, warm water, usually near land, and mostly in the tropics; coral prefer temperatures between 24-26 °C and depths not exceeding 25 metres so that light can penetrate. The water must also be clear and free from sediment.
There are coral reefs off the eastern coast of Africa, off the southern coast of India, in the Red Sea, and off the coasts of northeast and northwest Australia and on to Polynesia.
There are also coral reefs off the coast of Florida, the Caribbean and Brazil.
Coral Reefs are amazingly bio-diverse - They have an enormous range of species of flora and fauna
Coral polyps live on and in the limestone structures that make up the reef
Fish off all kinds live from the nutrient rich seas in and around the corals
It a scuba divers paradise – but the corals are extremely delicate and may be easily damaged
THESE ACTIONS DECIDED WITHIN A PARTNERSHIP OF THE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES MAKING UP THE CORAL TRIANGLE
HOMEWORK Research the recent oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico What caused the spill? What is likely to be the long term impact of this disaster? What is the response? What are the difficulties dealing with the problem?