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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (or the GBR as it is known to reef aficionados) stretches for more than 2,300 kilometers (over 1,429 miles) and can be seen from outer space. This largest barrier reef...
Overview MORE STORIES Overview MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
Welcome to Moorea, a tiny, isolated island in the middle of the vast Pacific...
Slideshow MORE STORIES Slideshow MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
Coral reefs are beautiful, vibrant ecosystems that house roughly one quarter of...
Coral reefs are some of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet that are...

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A master of disguise, the pygmy seahorse ( Hippocampus bargibanti ) grows to only 2cm in length and matches the gorgonian coral that it lives on. The pygmy seahorse is so successful at hiding that it was not found until its home...
Just like other seahorse species, male weedy sea dragons are the ones to get...
Compare the healthy coral on the left with the bleached coral on the right...

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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...
Coral reefs provide food for swarms of fish, both large and small. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found on our Coral Reefs overview page .
When snorkeling in the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA) in West Maui, I keep an eye out for certain kinds of fish. Not the brightest or the biggest, but those herbivores such as...
Overfishing and sedimentation have heavily impacted this reef off the western coast of Guam. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in our Coral Reefs featured story .
The Tubbataha Reefs National Park site in the Philippines was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1993. The site is an example of a pristine coral reef with a spectacular 100 m (330 ft)...
Is it lights out for corals once they have experienced a bleaching event? Not necessarily. This photo shows a coral reef near Bocas del Toro, Panama that is in the process of recovering from a mass...
Dr. Valerie Paul is studying chemical defenses that may protect coral reefs from many species of herbivores that live on coral reefs. In this picture she is examining tropical seaweeds on...
This 200-year-old bamboo coral colony is growing on the Davidson Seamount off the coast of California. The skeleton of this deep-sea coral has bamboo-like segments. See more pictures of coral in our...
Nestled among the beautiful coral reefs of Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a place that could provide the key to our understanding of one of the biggest threats to coral reef survival: Ocean Acidification...
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...
Beneath the sun shining through the Red Sea onto a hill of coral, butterfly fish ( Chaetodon lunula ), and angelfish swim together. The two fish can be confused for each other, but are distinguished...
Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic...
Syllid fireworms are a part of the Syllidae family , which is a type of polychaete worm. Usually these small worms, not getting much bigger than 13 cm, live on the ocean floor. But when the worms...
Corals, sponges, and algae are the major components of most coral reef communities. To the untrained eye, they are sometimes difficult to tell apart. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found in...
In the wet lab aboard the R/V Seward Johnson , Dr. Martha Nizinski examines a sample of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa , collected 600-m (1,969-ft) deep off the coast of the southeastern United...
The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native to the Indo-Pacific, is invading Atlantic waters. The lionfish is a popular home aquarium species, and some were most...
Shallow water coral reefs straddle the equator worldwide. The shallow coral reefs found in U.S. territorial waters are highlighted in purple in this map. More about coral reef ecosystems can be found...
Algae has overtaken this coral reef off heavily populated Kiritimati, or Christmas Island. Few fish swim in the murky waters. The causes include pollution, overfishing, and increased water...
Much of the carbon dioxide we emit into the atmosphere ends up in the ocean. As CO 2 levels rise, seawater becomes more acidic. This change in chemistry poses a serious threat to marine organisms...
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