Coral reefs are the rainforests of the oceans, providing a home for a dazzling array of life. Reef-building corals are the trees that form the foundation of the ecosystem. These corals are usually colonies of many small animals called polyps, which grow a hard calcium carbonate skeleton and can live for hundreds of years.
each year, the value of coral reefs to the global economy.
A Rich and Complex Ecosystem.
of marine life
calls reefs their home.
species of fish inhabit reefs.
species of coral. And thousands of other living organisms.
CORAL REEFS - THE TREASURES OF THE SEA
Fighting climate change
coral reefs are the oceans’ lungs; they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and transform it into the oxygen we breathe. By doing this they regulate air and water temperature for us all.
coral reefs protect coastlines against big waves, storms and erosion. They are capable of absorbing 97% of the energy of the waves and can reduce wave height by 84%.
The services that coral reefs provide have been valued at around $10 trillion per year. This includes food resources, tourism, coastal protection, climate change mitigation and other gifts to humanity.
over 500 million people depend on coral reefs for their food, resources and income. In French Polynesia, economical, cultural and social activities often rely on a healthy reef. E.g. tourism is the primary source of income here.
Corals for science
Reef organisms are important sources of new medicines. They have already provided drugs for treating asthma, arthritis and some cancers.
A rich ecosystem
coral reefs occupy less than 0.1% of the earth’s surface, yet they provide habitat for approximately 25% of known marine species.
Based on current trends, all coral reefs may be dead by the year 2050. This will directly affect hundreds of millions of people and will be an enormous loss for the planet
Almost half of the world’s reefs have been lost in the last 40 years. The main cause is a warming climate, in addition to overfishing and human pollution.
Coral is a very complex animal. It is linked to the jellyfish family and sea anemone (cnidaria), it looks like a small anemone called polyp.
Barely seeable with your eyes, a polyp is building a calcareous skeleton and is living in colony. Every polyp has algea within themselves called zooxanthellea.
Both of these organisms live in symbiosis. This means that when the coral is giving a protection and nutrients to the algea, the algea is giving energy, food and oxygen in exchange.
All the corals together are creating the reef, a real city underwater which is a shelter for more than 30% of the marine life.
WHAT IS A CORAL?
Let's Change the Tides.
We are taking action to resolve the problems our reefs are facing. We aim to SAVE the coral reefs through education and coral reef restoration.
We transplant coral cuttings onto degraded areas of reef. When these coral fragments grow, they help to recreate reef habitats. This allows other life to return and strengthens the reef against future damage.