Coral reefs are often considered the medicine cabinets of the 21st century.
Coral reefs are sometimes considered the medicine cabinets of the 21st century. Coral reef plants and animals are important sources of new medicines being developed to treat cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, viruses, and other diseases.
Since corals are stationary animals, many have evolved chemical defenses to protect themselves from predators. Scientists continue to research the medicinal potential of these substances. In the future, coral reef ecosystems could represent an increasingly important source of medical treatments, nutritional supplements, pesticides, cosmetics, and other commercial products.
For more information:
NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program
U.S. Coral Reef Task Force
NOAA Coral Reef Information System
Coral Health and Monitoring Program
Five Things You Should Know About Coral Reefs
Value of Coral Reefs (audio podcast)
Coral Reef Ecosystems (NOAA State of the Coast)