Coral Reef Biology

Thousands of coral species

Most of us think of coral reefs as places for snorkeling in a warm, tropical sea filled with beautifully colored fish. Stony, shallow water corals are just one type of coral found on Earth. There are also soft corals and deep-water corals that live in deep, dark, and cold ocean waters. Here are resources for understanding the basic biology and anatomy of coral, types of coral, environments where corals live, and how corals grow and reproduce.

The Coral Organism

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These resources provide information about coral structures and their functions, how they reproduce and grow, and the “mutualistic” relationship most corals have with zooxanthellea, the photosynthetic algae that live in their tissues.

Types of Coral

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Different types of coral live in specific marine environments. Their unique characteristics have developed through biological adaptations. Explore stony, shallow-water corals and reefs, soft corals and deep-water corals.

Distribution of Corals

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Did you know that most coral reefs are found in tropical and subtropical waters? These resources highlight the number of species of coral and their relationship to their environment. Find out how many more species exist in the Indo-Pacific as compared to the Atlantic.

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