Credit: Blane Perun

What Do Coral Reefs Do

Anyone who studied biology knows about the important role coral reef formations play in the promotion of biodiversity on our planet; but what do coral reefs do to support the global environment, and how does that tie in with its effects on humanity as a species and civilization? Coral reefs are a vital component that contributes to the health of the ocean and to that of Earth’s entire ecosystem. Offering protection and a diverse range of habitats that benefit many species of marine life, corals also prevent strong waves from crashing into the coastline and damaging the fragile mangroves and other ecosystems that grow there.

So what do coral reefs do to help the environment in the first place? Due to the fact that they form large structures that basically create a gradually growing wall protecting beaches and coastlines, they are able to reduce water flow into the area, attenuating the waves to ensure that coastlines aren’t damaged even during storms. They also filter out the carbon dioxide in the ocean, using a complex chemical reaction to separate the carbon and use it to construct their shells and calcium carbonate skeletons. Finally, corals provide protection for local marine creatures such as fish, sea turtles, lobsters, sea snakes and a host of other species of marine life. The coral reef food web is large enough to be essential to keeping many of the rest of the ocean’s species alive and to make a vital connection with coastal ecosystems as well.

Humanity has a lot to gain from thriving coral reefs. What do coral reefs do to make our live better and our jobs easier? First of all, the protection they offer and the rich biodiversity they support allows coastal communities to flourish. Responsible tourism can improve entire economies, and fishing practices can not only feed entire coastal cities, but also provide profitable export opportunities. Corals also contribute to keeping the ocean clean and clear of CO2, being able to prevent disease and an unbalanced coastal environment from taking hold and affecting our health and economy.

Many types of corals and the marine life they support are able to filter the water around them to eliminate sediments and organic particles that make ocean water murky. The result is clear water that also enhances sunlight exposure and allows for the formation of a greater sanctuary that can house many more species. Also, the diversity of coral reefs encourages symbiosis processes and attracts a larger variety of marine animals of every kind. So what coral reefs do best is supporting the continuing growth of some of the most fascinating, useful and unique animals that live in the ocean.

Blane Perun

Diver - Photographer - Traveler

Whale in Ocean