Coral Reefs

Called the “rain forests of the sea,” coral reefs are important ocean ecosystems that support a quarter of all marine organisms despite covering less than one percent of the sea floor.

LATEST POSTS

DIVE DEEPER

Deep-sea Corals

It may be the last place you’d expect to find corals—up to 6,000 m (20,000 ft) below the ocean’s surface, where the water is...

The Moorea Biocode Project

Scientists on the tiny island of Moorea, in the Pacific, are gathering one of every life form large enough to pick up with tweezers. They're on a quest to build a detailed catalog of...

Expedition to the Line Islands

The Line Islands are one of the most remote places in the Pacific Ocean. Credit: Smithsonian Institution Remotely located in the central Pacific Ocean, south of Hawaii, the Line Islands provide a remarkable research...

Visit the Line Islands with Reef Ecologist Dr. Stuart Sandin

A number of questions have inspired marine ecologist Stuart Sandin to head to the coral reefs of the Line Islands . Sandin works at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California,...

Zooxanthellae and Coral Bleaching

Tiny plant-like organisms called zooxanthellae live in the tissues of many animals, including some corals , anemones, and jellyfish , sponges, flatworms, mollusks and foraminifera . These microscopic algae capture sunlight and convert it...

Bizarre and Beautiful Coral Reef Animals

From parrotfish that cover themselves in a blanket of their own mucus to tiny pygmy sea horses, there are some bizarre sea creatures that live in coral reefs . In this slideshow you can...

Two Views of Coral Reefs: Thriving and Threatened

Coral reefs are beautiful, vibrant ecosystems that house roughly one quarter of all marine species and provide billions of dollars in products and services to humans each year. But they are also vulnerable to...

Reef Rescue: Protect Coral Reefs with Your Actions

A diver cares for the reef by cleaning up discarded fishing gear and garbage. Credit: Amos Nachoum 2005/Marine Photobank Coral reefs are beautiful, vibrant ecosystems that house roughly one quarter of all marine species...

Welcome to the Moorea Biocode Project

Scientists journey to the isolated island of Moorea on a quest to catalog every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers—from mountaintop to seafloor. Get up close and personal with researchers in...
Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems.

Coral Reefs: One Species at a Time

Coral reefs are bustling cities of marine life, until rising ocean temperatures turn them into ghost towns. Can reefs spring back from devastating bleaching events? In this episode of the Podcast of Life ,...
Caribbean boulder star coral (Montastrea cavernosa)

Star of the Reef: One Species at a Time

Each month, the Naked Oceans podcast invites a leading marine researcher to pick the "critter of the month" by asking: if you were a marine organism, which one would you be? This month, Dr...

Coral Reefs Need You

A variety of organisms make their home on this tropical coral reef in Indonesia. Credit: © Chris Newbert/Minden Pictures For those of you who have had the opportunity to visit a coral reef ,...
A piece of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit.

When Art Meets Science: The Hyberbolic Crochet Coral Reef

The stunning Smithsonian Community Reef—an accompaniment to the main Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit created by local crafters. Credit: Rebecca Bray/Smithsonian Institution The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef,” a unique exhibition and thought-provoking fusion of...

Marine World Heritage Photo Gallery

Marine World Heritage is a prestigious list of 43 marine ecosystems and biodiversity treasures from across the globe, including countries such as Australia, Iceland, Russia, South Africa, the Phillippines, United States, and Yemen. Together,...

Coral Forests of the Deep Ocean

Corals are not only found in shallow tropical waters, but in cold, dark, deep areas of the sea. Amazing coral forests are found at depths of 60-3,050 meters (200-10,00 feet). They support an abundance...

Science in a Time of Crisis: Assessing the Impacts

Part 6 of a 6-part series describing WHOI's efforts to understand the scope and impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "Assessing the Impacts" describes a range of work...

Studying Deep-Sea Corals

What happens to deep-sea coral samples after they are collected? In this image gallery, see some of the ways ocean scientists sort, measure, photograph, and study them. Learn more in the multimedia feature "...

Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) Video

Dr. Carole Baldwin , a research zoologist and fish expert with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, gives viewers an inside-look at the Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP). She and her colleagues are...

Exploring the Blue Planet with J. Murray Roberts

J. Murray Roberts studies and maps the cold-water corals known as Lophelia in the North Atlantic, where the bases of some coral mounds are 2.6 million years old. Credit: Sebastian Hennige Imagine you’re an...

Pages