Coral Reefs are diverse ecosystems formed under tropical waters that contain so many interesting types of fish, invertebrates, and other marine life such as sea turtles, sponges, and seahorses. In fact, coral reefs, or as we like to call them, “rainforests of the sea,” are home to almost one-fourth of the total species living in the sea. But did you know that coral reefs are actually alive? In honor of Earth Day this year, dive into the wonders of coral formation with us, and learn how you can protect these beautiful underwater paradises!
How are Coral Reefs formed and Where are Coral Reefs Found?
Coral reefs are divided into three types: Fringing reefs, Barrier reefs, and Atoll reefs which all require specific conditions to thrive, including shallow water, plenty of sunlight, and of course, free-swimming, reef-building corals larvae. As the coral grows over long periods, they form into a reef. The three types of reef represent different stages in the reef development over time, and each is found in different parts of the coast.
How Can I Protect Coral Reefs?
We are at a dangerous turning point in our ocean's history. Coral reefs can no longer keep up with the speed of global environmental changes caused by humans. Pollution, overfishing, rising sea levels, climate change, and invasive species, amongst other local pressures, add stress on coral reefs.
In fact, we have lost more than half of the world's coral reefs in the last 30 years, and without swift action, all shallow-water coral reefs are projected to vanish by the end of this century. While there is no way to know how severe the consequences would be of losing all of our planet's coral, around 70% of the Earth's oxygen is produced by the ocean. Coral reefs are a critical part of the balance of life in the sea, and losing these reefs could mean damage to coasts, shorelines, homes, and businesses.
But fear not, studies have shown that a healthy reef can better withstand bleaching, can recover from hurricane damage, and is better able to cope with disease outbreaks. Tropic Labs proudly sponsors the world's largest reef restoration organization based out of Key West, Florida. To date, they have farmed and planted over 100,000 corals in the Florida Reef Tract. A portion of every Tropic Labs sale is contributed to the Coral Restoration Foundation's crucial mission to educate and restore coral reefs.
Learn more about the Coral Restoration Foundation here!
- Students, Keene State College, and BIO 381 Tropical Marine Biology. “Reef Types and How Coral Reefs Are Formed.” Go to the Cover Page of A Student's Guide to Tropical Marine Biology, tropicalmarinebio.pressbooks.com/chapter/types-of-coral-reefs/.
- “Learn More: How Are Coral Reefs Formed?” Encounter Edu, encounteredu.com/cpd/subject-updates/learn-more-how-are-coral-reefs-formed.
- US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. How Do Coral Reefs Form: Corals Tutorial, 1 June 2013, oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/tutorial_corals/coral04_reefs.html#:~:text=Coral%20reefs%20begin%20to%20form,%E2%80%94%20fringing%2C%20barrier%20or%20atoll.