9 facts about coral reefs that will surprise you

Coral Lagoon at S.E.A. Aquarium
Coral Lagoon at S.E.A. Aquarium

In line with the start of TeREEFic World at the S.E.A. Aquarium, we share nine facts about this important underwater habitat :

  1. Coral reefs cover less than 0.2 percent of our oceans but they contain approximately 25 percent of the world’s marine fish species. They are second only to rainforests in biodiversity of species, hence the nickname “rainforests of the Ocean”.
  2. Coral reefs are buffers and protect coastal communities against waves, storms, and floods, helping to prevent loss of life, property damage, and erosion.
  3. Approximately 30 million people depend on coral reefs for their livelihood. The value of coral ecosystems is approximately US$29.8 billion per year.
  4. Coral reefs are found all around the world in tropical and subtropical oceans at a depth of less than 50m. This is because the coral animals require sunlight to build tropical reefs.
  5. Corals are animals called polyps. They have a hard outer skeleton similar to a snail shell, but they are closely related to sea jelly and anemones.
  6. Corals can protect themselves–each polyp has a ring of tentacles that can sting for defence and capture food.
  7. Coral reefs are formed by two types of corals: the stony corals that provide the solid framework by producing limestone, and the soft corals that provide habitats for marine life.
  8. The bright colours some corals have come from pigments or algae in their tissues.
  9. Coral reefs grow slowly. A coral is considered fast growing if it grows between 10 to 20cm in a year but some only grow millimetres in that period.

Find out more about the amazing life under the sea at S.E.A. Aquarium during TeREEFic World.

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