Hidden beneath the ocean waters, coral reefs teem with life. Fish, corals, lobsters, clams, seahorses, sponges, and sea turtles are only a few of the thousands of creatures that rely on reefs for their survival.
Coral reefs are also living museums and reflect thousands of years of history. Many U.S. coral reefs were alive and thriving centuries before the European colonization of the nearby shores. Some reefs are even older than our old-growth redwood forests. They are an integral part of many cultures and our natural heritage.
Today, these important habitats are threatened by a range of human activities. Many of the world’s reefs have already been destroyed or severely damaged by water pollution, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, disease, global climate change, and ship groundings. However, we can still protect and preserve our remaining reefs by acting now.