Coral Reef Facts

WELCOME TO OUR INFORMATIONAL WEBSITE ON CORAL REEFS, DEDICATED TO PROVIDING VISITORS FACTS AND INFORMATION REGARDING THE GENERAL STRUCTURE, COMPOSITION, VARIETY, AND MARINE LIFE OF THESE COLORFUL AND DIVERSE ECOSYSTEMS.

ALONG CONTINENTAL COASTLINES AND FAR FLUNG ISLAND OUTPOSTS OF THE TROPICS, CORAL ECOSYSTEMS RISE FROM THE SEAFLOOR TO FORM LUSH OCEANIC OASES, UNLIKELY ANOMALIES SET AMIDST VAST EXPANSES OF THE OTHERWISE BIOLOGICALLY BARREN OPEN WATERS THAT ARE TROPICAL SEAS. 

YET, DESPITE THE INTRINSIC VALUE AND UNIQUENESS OF THESE UNDERSEA MARVELS, OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THESE ECOSYSTEMS IS AT BEST STILL FAIRLY RUDIMENTARY.

THIS SITE IS THEN, FOR PRACTICAL REASONS, BUT A BASIC INTRODUCTION TO AN EXCEEDINGLY BROAD ARRAY OF INTERRELATED TOPICS THAT HAVE ALREADY FILLED MANY ACADEMIC VOLUMES. WE HOPE YOU WILL TAKE THE TIME TO EXPLORE ALL THIS SITE HAS TO OFFER, AND RETURN OFTEN. CORAL REEFS ARE ROCKY MOUNDS AND/OR RIDGES FORMED IN THE SEA BY LIVING THINGS THROUGH THE ACCUMULATION AND DEPOSITION OF LIMESTONE (CALCIUM CARBONATE).

underwater coral photo

What Coral Reef Facts Can I Learn Here?

Our “coral reef facts” website is organized around three main topics:

1. Coral Reef Structure
This section explores the formation and structure of coral reefs, answering such questions as:

  • How are coral reefs formed?
  • What are the different types of reefs?

2. Coral Reef Distribution
Here we explore the factors that determine the global distribution of coral reefs, and individually examine each of the three great regions of coral reef development.

Where are coral reefs are found?
Caribbean Coral Reefs
Red Sea Coral Reefs
Indo-Pacific Coral Reefs

3. Marine Life
This section provides basic information about the composition of the coral reef biome; the main kinds of living things that make up the coral reef community, including:

  • Coral Reef Plants
  • Coral Reef Fishes
  • Other Coral Reef Animals
  • The Coral Reef Food Web

What basic “reef facts” can I learn here?

Our section on “Reef Facts” addresses definitions of reefswhere they are locatedhow they are formedthe main types of reefs, and the structure of reef ecosystems.

I am mainly interested in reef life!

Biology and ecology are central themes of this site. Our section on “Reef Life” includes treatments of reef plantsreef animals (invertebrates)reef fishes, and the reef food web.

I want to know more about reef diving and snorkeling!

Our section entitled “Dive Coral Reefs” includes a few general tips to help you plan your dive trip, advice on some reef diving skills, and a summary of reef-friendly diving practices for both divers and snorkelers.

What if I want to learn more about topics discussed here?

Our “Additional Resources” section contains annotated lists of our selection of “recommended readings” on the main subject areas discussed on this web site.

Also, where appropriate, sitelinks to external web sites providing particularly valuable and relevant content are provided within the text of individual pages.

 

These undersea palaces are home to more species of fishes, corals, and many other type of marine life than any other ocean habitat.

Coral reefs also provide many valuable services to humans. Food, shoreline protection, and medicines are just a few of these benefits. These are also the best places to visit if you want to experience marine life – up close and personal.

Explore Coral Reefs With Us

Coral reefs are experiencing a rapid decline in ecosystem health in most locations in which they once thrived. Much of this problem is the direct or indirect result of human activities. We all need to better understand the nature and importance of these vital marine resources if we are to act to prevent further decline and assist in coral reef recovery efforts.

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