Up to 4,000 individual species can co-exist on a single reef.Take Action ↓
From seahorses and sharks to oysters and octopi, coral reefs teem with life. Over 25% of all sea life centers around reefs, which is rather incredible considering coral reefs only cover about 0.2% of the seafloor. Because of their immeasurable biodiversity and productivity, coral reefs are nicknamed the “rainforests of the sea.” These vibrant ocean metropolises are the foundation for life underwater, and rightly so, as reefs themselves are alive.
“Coral reefs represent some of the world’s most spectacular beauty spots, but they are also the foundation of marine life: without them many of the sea’s most exquisite species will not survive.”Scheherazade Goldsmith
All reefs started out as a single coral polyp— a soft, tiny animal that gets its energy from the sun. Guided by the sounds of marine life, thousands of floating polyps reunite on a nearby hard surface, together forming a coral colony. The coral reefs we see today are like living museums— the reflection of thousands of years of history. Many, like the Great Barrier Reef, are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites because of their central role in so many global cultures and our collective natural heritage.
The rich biodiversity of coral reefs translates directly into food security, livelihoods, medicines, and a plethora of other critical human benefits. Yet, despite their undeniable value, coral reefs face severe degradation from a wide array of intensifying threats. Coastal development, overfishing, and ocean acidification challenge their very survival. Today, over 75% of the world’s coral reefs are threatened.