Welcome to the unique, stunning and hugely diverse world of coral reefs! Everywhere you look the reef harbours an incredible array of life, from cleaner wrasse precariously cleaning the mouths of big predatory grouper to nudibranches quietly chopping away at sponges, and clown fish carefully tending to their anemone home.
Under every nook and cranny is a different weird and wonderful creature, elaborately adapted to its little niche on the reef and intrinsically linked to its fellow reef species. This variety of life on the reefs is made possible largely due to the reef-building stony corals lying down their coral skeleton to form the foundations of the reef.
These ancient geological structures teeming with fish and invertebrates are the rainforests of the sea. They are the most biodiverse marine ecosystems harbouring around a third of all marine species, most of which are found nowhere else, not bad for an ecosystem that takes up only 0.2% in area of the marine environment!
Yet 19% of coral reefs have already been lost and 35% are seriously threatened by direct human actions such as over-fishing, water pollution and sedimentation. These estimates do not take into account the combined effects of climate change including ocean acidification, raising sea temperatures, sea level rise and more frequent occurrences of large storms. When climate change is factored in all coral reefs are severely threatened. Without immediate drastic reductions in atmospheric CO2 concentrations coral reefs face imminent and total collapse in the face of global climate change.
EDGE Coral Systems
Coral reefs provide the perfect habitat for millions of different species of fish, crustaceans, sponges, soft corals, molluscs, echinoderms, and worms, to name but a few