- Coral reefs only make up .02% of the entire ocean floor, yet support 25% of all marine life.
- Coral reefs make up an ancient habitat that is 500 million years old, predating dinosaurs, sharks, and even the appearance of trees on Earth.
- Coral reefs are considered one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet and are often referred to as the "rainforests of the sea."
- The three largest barrier reefs in the world are the Great Barrier Reef, the Mesoamerican Reef, and the Florida Reef Tract.
- Coral reefs are made up of individual coral polyps. These polyps excrete calcium carbonate, creating the reef structure below them.
- Coral reefs are vital ecosystems. They support more than 1 million marine species by providing them with spawning, nursery, and hunting grounds.
Not So Fun Facts:
- More than half of the worlds coral reefs have been lost in the last 30 years due to drastic environmental changes caused by human activities and development.
- Scientists estimate that we could see all shallow coral reefs lost by the end of the century if we don't take drastic measures to combat climate change.
- The loss of an entire biome has the extreme likelihood of creating a negative domino effect on all other species on Earth.
- 70% of the oxygen we breathe comes from our oceans. Coral reefs are a critical part of keeping our oceans healthy. If we lose all coral reefs it can be assumed that there will be incredibly detrimental repercussions regarding oxygen levels in the atmosphere.
How Can I Help Protect Coral Reefs?
- When swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, freediving, surfing, or boating respect their space. Do not touch, take, grab, poke, kick, anchor or harass coral in anyway.
- Embody this mindset and remind others to respect our oceans and marine life if you find yourself in situations where they are not.
- Remember that every experience you have with a wild animal, no matter the proximity, is an incredible experience that you are privileged to have.
- Make educated choices as a consumer
- Do not purchase coral in stores - any coral that is for sale has been wrongfully harvested while alive and then left to dry out and die so that the skeleton stays intact for display.
- Support companies and brands that do not support the illegal trade of coral.
- Choose ecotourism trips that do not exploit or endanger marine life including coral reefs.
- If you choose to eat seafood choose locally sourced and sustainably caught seafood from fisherman who use sustainable and safe fishing gear. The app Seafood Watch can help you make educated choices when you visit your local seafood market.
- Sign petitions collecting signatures in support of protecting coral reefs.
- VOTE! Elect local, state and federal officials who are going to:
- Implement and vote to pass bills and policies that will protect our oceans and coral reefs.
- Implement both Green and Blue New Deals to protect our environment and combat the climate crisis.
- Implement new marine protected areas and sanctuaries.
- Support federal legislation that works to protect our oceans.
- Support local legislation that is working to create policies that protect our coral reefs and are working to create new Marine Protected Areas.
- Use re-usable items instead of disposable plastic ones.
- Eliminate single-use plastic from your everyday lifestyle.
- Use mineral-based sunscreen to protect coral from the harsh chemicals found in chemical-based sunscreens.
- Educate yourself about coral reefs, ocean health, and the climate crisis.
- Go out into the world and educate others!