Coral Reefs: Cradles of Marine Diversity

via gr8dnes

Coral reefs are some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, sometimes referred to as the “rainforests of the sea.” Occupying less than one tenth of one percent of the world’s oceans, coral reefs are responsible for fostering 25 percent of all marine species. They are an integral part of healthy fish stocks, as many of the juvenile species they harbor eventually make their way out to deeper seas, and do much to protect shorelines from damages that come from violent storms, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Their economic impact is significant to a large majority of island nations and other coastal communities, for what they contribute to tourism and fisheries. Indeed, life would be much different if coral reefs were to disappear from our oceans forever.

But coral reefs are more than just a material resource. Corals are extraordinary organisms, displaying a myriad of different colors, shapes, and sizes, and can be found in cold, deep waters as well as the renown shallows of the tropics. Because their color comes from the various types of zooxanthellae they consume, the vibrant hue of a coral is a great indication of the health of a marine ecosystem. When corals experience stress in their environment, such as pollution, sedimentation, bacterial infections, or change in water temperature, chemistry, or salinity, they expel the zooxanthellae because they cannot supply the necessary nutrients for photosynthesis. This effect is known as coral bleaching. Although some coral bleaching can be recovered from, severe bleaching results in total death. Due to the slow-growing nature of many corals, widespread bleaching has serious implications for the immediate health of the planet as a whole. It is important, then, that we increase our collective awareness of the vital role they play in our lives today, before they are erased from existence in our future.

 

via USFWS Pacific

 

via mattk1979

 

via <SLiM>

 

via Derek Keats

 

via © Ahmed Amir

 

via Wodgie

 

via daipresents

 

via edwardcallaghan73

 

via Marcio Cabral de Moura

 

via Derek Keats


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Comments

  1. The wet kind.

  2. All of them. A live diverse reef is a great thing. They truly are the incubators of life as we know it. Do something for the reef today. If nothing else, pick up one piece of trash on every dive. Millions of divers could make a difference in the health of our reefs worldwide.

  3. All of them. A live diverse reef is a great thing. They truly are the incubators of life as we know it. Do something for the reef today. If nothing else, pick up one piece of trash on every dive. Millions of divers could make a difference in the health of our reefs worldwide.

  4. The kind that doesn’t sting. :-)

  5. The kind that doesn’t sting. :-)

  6. Brain coral for the zombie divers.

  7. Brain coral for the zombie divers.

  8. Those who are alive

  9. Those who are alive

  10. The really cool lookin kind

  11. The really cool lookin kind

  12. The one’s where sharks like to hang out !

  13. The one’s where sharks like to hang out !

  14. Pillar coral because they open their polyps during the day.

  15. Table coral!!!

  16. I love Fire Coral. LOL.. Favorite is Elk Horn really.

  17. Golden

  18. Living, healthy.

  19. Nemo’s mother

  20. All of them!!

  21. Near Acapulco, all of the coral was this beautiful purple I have never seen before….What kind is it if it’s purple?

  22. Any and all living coral is awesome

  23. Oculina varicosa (at 450 ft ).

  24. Are sea fans coral?

  25. Are sea fans coral?

  26. Healthy!

  27. Healthy!

  28. brain coral

  29. brain coral

  30. Living

  31. Soft corals are awesome. Saw some beautiful soft coral off Orpheus Island, Australia.

  32. Elkhorn

  33. I love all coral, It’s too hard to choose!

  34. PitoSicilia says:

    We hace beautiful coral reefs(volcano rock)here in El Salvador,Central América,The place were we dive is called Los Cobanos.I wish I could show you some photos.
    El Salvador is also known for surfing.

    Regrets!

  35. Bird’s nest! All kinds of little critters hiding in there.

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