What Are Coral Reefs?
What are coral reefs? Although the general public has recently gained wide exposure to coral reefs and reef life through numerous high quality documentaries, the term is not so easily defined in words alone, and the answer to that seemingly simple question can vary widely depending upon one’s perspective.
A recent Internet search for the answer to the question “what are coral reefs?” yielded the following definition: “complex tropical marine ecosystems consisting chiefly of compacted coral together with algal material and biochemically deposited magnesium and calcium carbonates”.
While such definitions may be technically correct and useful in certain contexts, they do little to convey to the uninitiated any appreciation for the many unique aspects of reef structure, marine life, or natural beauty. These are things that must be seen (preferably in person) to be truly comprehended.