Title graphic for Sea and Sky's Coral Reef Life pages

Life on the Coral Reef

The world of the coral reef is one of the most diverse ecosystems on our planet. The sheer number of life forms on the reef rivals even that of the tropical rain forests. Built over thousands of years by tiny calcium-producing organisms, the reefs are a haven for countless thousands of life forms, some of which seem totally alien in form. It is a fairy tale world of bright colors and ever changing patterns. Only on the coral reef can one find living examples from nearly every group of organisms representing a billion years of evolution. Some of the oldest reefs today began growing over 25 million years ago.

Diving on a coral reef is like entering another world. We have, in fact, spent less time and money exploring the world's oceans than we have the surface of the Moon. Every day brings the discovery of an exciting new species. It is a world of never-ending wonders. But it is also an extremely fragile environment, and it is in very real danger of disappearing forever. Mankind's ignorance and carelessness is beginning to have a noticeable impact on the world's coral reefs. From the Florida Keys to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the damage is becoming apparent. If we wish to share this wondrous world with our children, we must take steps to conserve it. The first step to saving our coral reefs is education.

This section of Sea and Sky was created to bring some of the splendors of the sea to the attention of the public. You can click on one of the categories below to learn about some of the creatures in each group. You may also use the menu on the left to navigate through the world of the coral reef. Click here for a list of Credits & Sources.

Sponges & Sea Squirts   Sponges & Sea Squirts
Corals & Anemones   Corals & Anemones
Sea Worms   Sea Worms
Echinoderms   Echinoderms
Crustaceans   Crustaceans
Mollusks   Mollusks
Coral Reef Fishes   Coral Reef Fishes
Unusual Reef Fishes   Unusual Reef Fishes
Sharks & Rays   Sharks & Rays
Marine Reptiles   Marine Reptiles
Marine Mammals   Marine Mammals