15 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Coral Reefs
So coral reefs are marine plants, right? Not exactly. Here are some facts you might not have known about Coral Reefs:
1. A coral reef isn’t a “thing,” it’s actually a community of life that lives and thrives in one location. What we think of as the base of the reef (and what we see when it is dry and removed from the water) is only one small aspect of a living reef.
2. Reefs that are noticeable in size, like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, are between 5 and 10,000 years old.
3. 58% of the world’s reefs are threatened by human activity.
4. The algae that typically covers and grows on a reef lives in a symbiotic relationship with the coral polyps. There are many different kinds of algae, from the microscopic to ones with leaf-like appendages several feet in length.
5. Scientists have discovered that many parts of a coral reef can be harvested to make medications to treat cancers and other illnesses.
6. There are three types of reefs, and one gets mistaken for an island. There are barrier reefs, fringing reefs and atolls. The last is often called an island when it is really a reef.
7. Fringing reefs get their name from being closer to shore than a barrier reef. They are arranged like a fringe around the shallow waters. Barrier reefs are further out to sea and in deeper waters. Atolls are mistaken for islands because they are island-like and grow on the outer edges of lagoons.
8. A coral reef needs sunlight to grow, that is why thriving reefs around the world are generally are found in waters less than 60 feet deep. They also are more likely to be found in tropical oceans, as the water is clearer and warmer.
9. Oddly enough, reefs usually grow up on the east shore of land masses. The temperature there is thought to be warmer than the western side. The ideal temperature for a coral reef is between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
10. Coral reefs also play an important role in helping to manage carbon dioxide levels. This makes them of great benefit to the world’s population.
11. There are more types of fish living in a two-acre area of coral reef than there are kinds of birds in all of North America.
12. Coral reefs are found in 109 countries and significant reef degradation has occurred in 93.
13. When corals experience even as little as a 1-2 degree temperature change over a period of time, they expel the symbiotic algae that live in their skeletons which they rely on to survive.
14. When coral bleaching occurs, 10-20% do not recover and die.
15. Roughly one-quarter of coral reefs worldwide are already considered damaged beyond repair.
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4Ocean has dedicated itself to conserving the ocean and beaches with year-round beach cleanups and dives as well as a fleet of boats on the ocean seven days a week pulling trash. Every month this year, we have partnered with a different organization to support a different marine-related cause. This March, we have partnered with the Coral Restoration Foundation
Help conserve the coral reefs while also removing a pound of trash from the ocean! Click HERE to get your Limited Edition Coral Reef 4Ocean Bracelet!
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