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.


Corals, sponges, and algae are the major components of most coral reef communities as shown in this picture.


Corals and Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They teem with life, with perhaps one quarter of all ocean...

Coral Comeback

Diverse and beautiful, coral reefs have been in the ocean for almost 500 million years. They only make up one-tenth of one percent of the ocean floor, yet up to 25 percent of marine...

Discover Deep-sea Corals in Maine

Scientists with NOAA Fisheries discovered deep-sea coral gardens in relatively shallow waters of the Gulf of Maine in 2014. As their name suggests, deep-sea corals live in cold oceanic waters. Unlike shallow-water corals, however,...
Coral Spawning by Moonlight

A Tale of Sex and Stress in the Ocean

A coral has just spawned. Each of the hundreds of polyps releases a small pink bundle of sperm and eggs. Credit: Raphael Williams Welcome to Citizens of the Sea , a new blog series...
An underwater photo of coral recovering from a bleaching event.

A Pleasant Surprise: The Recovery of Bleached Panamanian Corals

These corals are still in recovery after a mass bleaching in Panama, in the summer of 2010. You can see some bleaching on the tops, but the sides are looking good. Credit: Amanda Feuerstein...

Coral Reefs Changing Over Time

How do we know what coral reefs looked like hundreds of years ago? Often times, we are simply left wondering. Scientists can get an idea from naturalist recordings, but there are many unknowns and...