A clownfish and sea anemone living in harmony.
Coral reefs are home to millions of species. 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.
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)