Kw-logo-smaller

Coral Reefs 101

Coral reefs are home to tens of thousands of animals!
Coral Reef

Coral reefs are one of the most ecologically important organisms in the world - but they're dying at an alarming rate. Find out more about these amazing ecosystems and what you can do to save them!

What are Coral Reefs?

Coral reefs may look like stone but they are actually made up of tiny clear organisms called coral polyps and their skeletons. They develop in shallow, warm water, usually near land, and mostly in the tropics - between 70 and 85 degrees fahrenheit (21 - 30 celsius). They are home to one-third of all marine fish species and thousands of other species. Reefs provide homes to fish, support endangered and threatened species, and are safe havens to marine mammals and turtles. Without coral reefs to call home, these animals could all die.

Threats to the Reef

More than half the world's coral reefs are threatened by humans, either through coastal development, over-fishing, and/or marine pollution. One of the greatest threats is elevated seawater temperatures, which result in "reef bleaching." Reef bleaching occurs when water temperatures increase (due to global warming), which causes algae - the major food source of coral polyps - to die. If there are no algae, there's no coral and if there is no coral, thousands of marine species could become extinct.

Types of Coral Reefs

  • Fringing reefs: Reefs that form along a coastline and grow on the continental shelf in shallow water.
  • Barrier reefs: Reefs that grow parallel to shorelines but farther out than fringing reefs. They are usually separated from the land by a deep lagoon.
  • Coral Atolls: Rings of coral that grow on top of sunken volcanoes in the ocean. They start off as fringe reefs surrounding a volcanic island and then - once the volcano sinks - only the reef remains.

What You Can Do to Save the Reef

  • Encourage your 'rents not to use chemically enhanced pesticides or fertilizers. They leach into the groundwater and ultimately end up damaging coral reefs.
  • Support reef friendly businesses. Ask how reef-friendly your tour company is if you go diving on your next vacation.
  • Tell your peeps how important the reef is so that they can help support the cause.
  • Recycle. Manufacturing plastic, and metal from scratch can lead to global warming so help out by recycling your trash.
  • Before buying tropical fish, ask if they were ecologically harvested. Some fish are caught in a manner that damages the reef.
Related Stories:
>
>

readers voted!

Comments

TacoDuck361

TacoDuck361 wrote:

Lol, they trying to teach you riley about them and you like, " Pretty colors." Lol
commented: Tue Apr 22, 2014

riley8915

riley8915 wrote:

I love those colors tho ;3
commented: Tue Apr 22, 2014

CuteMoo2

CuteMoo2 wrote:

Omg They Soo Pretty ^^
commented: Tue Apr 22, 2014

there are 6 more comments

Please login or register to add comments

share with your friends


Twitter Facebook Myspace Digg


like this article?
Sign up now to get more just like!

latest videos

Nemo-poll

What's the Reef in Finding Nemo?

  • The Walt Disney Reef.
  • The Great Barrier Reef.
  • The Mid Atlantic Reef.
  • The Florida Reef.

related stories

Ocean acidification is more proof that we humans have really screwed up when it comes to taking c...
The Great Barrier Reef is home to thousands of species and is so big you can see it from space! H...
These fish got their name because when they become alarmed they puff themselves up with air or w...

Random in the forums

Taidoku
Taidoku posted in Say Anything:
5.....just look at patrick!
reply 3 minutes
miley15
miley15 posted in Say Anything:
8
reply 6 minutes
Team Audi #46
7. Nice tree.
reply about 1 hour
ChickenGoPowPow
10.. I guess
reply about 1 hour
Ilikeham123
5. HEY I GAVE YOU A 5
reply about 1 hour

play online games

Candy-100

A great online version of the famous Candy Crush. This is the best game launched...

1515_gl_kidzworld_100x100_jpg_fz

Intriguing planets, weird and wonderful characters; challenge friends and find a...

157262_(2)

When you go back to Candyland, you’ll wonder why you ever left in the first plac...

100x100_ra_logo_girl

Uncle George has left you his farm, but unfortunately it’s in pretty bad shape. ...

_thumb_100x100

Shoot blobs with different properies to merge yellow blobs. Your blobs can be re...