Coral reef facts
Find out fascinating facts about amazing coral reefs…
Did you know that more wildlife lives around coral reefs than in any other part of the ocean? Find out more about these important ecosystems in our coral reef facts…
What are coral reefs?
When you look at a coral reef, you might think that you are seeing a group of colourful rocks. But don’t be mistaken! Reefs are actually made out of living creatures called coral.
Where are coral reefs found?
Coral reefs can be found all over the world! However, most coral reefs grow in shallow, clean ocean waters on either side of the Equator, because they need sunlight and warm temperatures all year to survive.
Some famous coral reefs include the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Amazon Reef in Brazil and French Guiana, the Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines and the Miami Terrace Reef in the United States.
- Quick facts about coral reefs…
- – Coral have growth rings, just like trees!
- – The first coral reefs formed on Earth 240 million years ago. That’s before the dinosaurs were alive!
- – Most coral reefs today are between 5,000 and 10,000 years old.
- – There are more than 800 different types of hard coral around the world.
- – The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system on Earth. You can even see it from space!
Life in coral reefs
Lots of different types of sea creatures call coral reefs their home – giant clams, starfish, sea turtles, seahorses, eels, cuttlefish and many, many more. The reefs provide this diverse range of animals with everything they need, including food and shelter.
A lot of animals who live on the reef camouflage themselves to blend amongst the coral, either to stay safe from other animals or to hide as they hunt.
Plants also live on reefs. Algae live inside soft coral, using sunlight to provide food and help the coral grow. In other areas, sea grass provides food for sea animals like dugongs and turtles.
Why are coral reefs endangered?
The biggest threats to coral reefs are pollution spilling into the oceans, damage from ships and boats, and climate change, which makes the water warmer and more acidic.
Save our coral reefs!
To save our coral reefs, many people are working hard to clean up the pollution on land and in the sea. Some countries have even protected their coral reefs.
You can help save coral reefs too, by following some simple tips:
– Conserve your water use, by turning off taps when you brush your teeth!
– If you’re lucky enough to go diving, look at the coral – but don’t touch it! Touching coral can disturb it, and sometimes kill it.
– Spread the word and tell your friends about how they can help save the planet!