In our last post we looked at the Rain Forest of the Ocean, the Coral Reefs. I even had the opportunity to introduce some fun facts about coral reefs in my last scuba class, which was a lot of fun and really help bring to the students why buoyancy is so important.
So, some more fun facts about coral reefs
They are home to nearly 1/3 of all know fish species. On your next dive on the coral reef, take a moment and try to count all the fish you see and that is only such a small fraction of what is out there in the ocean.
The Atlantic Ocean only holds about 8% of all the world’s coral reefs with about 70 different coral and 500 fish species. But the Indo-Pacific holds 92% of all the coral reefs with over 700 coral and 4000 fish species. That right there makes me want to go to the Pacific to dive more and more. Imagine all the new creatures just waiting to be discovered. Of all of the 107 known coral families only 8 are found in both oceans.
Scientist and drug companies have found that coral reefs contain many bio-medical compounds including antibiotics, anti-cancer and anti-HIV agents.
Coral Reefs protect over 1/6th of the world’s coast line. In fact if not for coral reefs a lot of the low Caribbean Islands that we all enjoy easy travel to would not exist. In the Maldives around Male, the natural reef had to be replaced to protect the island. The cost of that project was approximately $10,000 per square yard. While the cost to protect the coral reefs is less than $1 per square yard per year.
Coral Reefs are in danger. In 1998, the World Resource Institute estimated that 58% of the coral reefs were at risk. The coral reefs in South and South East Asia, the Caribbean and East Africa are at the greatest risk; while in places such as the Philippines, Jamaica and Indonesia the majority of the reef is already seriously damaged and dead. In 2000, researchers found that 11% of the world’s coral reefs were damaged beyond recovery and by 2004 almost 20% of the coral reefs were dead, partly due to rising temperatures. Some are even forecasting that in the next 30 to 50 years that most of the world’s coral reefs could be gone