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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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Coral reefs are some of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet that are home to beautiful wildlife and provide food to many people living on the coast. So how do you protect the reefs without cutting off communities from...
Dead man’s fingers ( Alcyonium digitatum ) are soft corals named for their...
Is it lights out for corals once they have experienced a bleaching event?...

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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...
The “Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef,” a unique exhibition and thought-provoking fusion of science, conservation, mathematics, and art, is on display in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s National...
Two years after being covered in an oil substance, from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, deep-sea corals were colonized by hydroids and their branches began to break off.
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...
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 .
This piece of pocillopora, or cauliflower coral , would normally have a rigid outer skeleton, but researchers dissolved it to expose the coral’s tissue and take a sample for DNA analysis. Read more...
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...
Stare at a tide pool and you will often see a crust of pink coating the bottom. No, this is not bubblegum from some careless teenager’s shoe: it’s a stony kind of seaweed that, like other seaweeds,...
Bikini Atoll, formed over millions of years around an island in the Pacific Ocean about halfway between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii, has been subjected to horrific human-caused disturbances. Between...
This is an unidentified moray eel , collected from 650 feet off the coast of Curacao. Morays are very secretive animals that tend to stay hidden in caves and crevices. Researchers with the Deep Reef...
Unlike the shallow tropical coral reef pictured on the top, the deep-sea Oculina reef at bottom does not require sunlight. Learn more in the article " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."
Healthy coral reefs support a mindboggling array of life. Here, at Rapture Reef in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, colorful fishes throng the waters for as far as the eye can see.
Boring sponges get a bad rap. Their own name betrays them, announcing to the world that they are unexciting, ordinary and quite frankly, boring. However, if ever a misnomer existed, this is it. More...
Dr. Claude Payri, a researcher working on the Moorea Biocode Project , collects samples on the reef slope of Moorea, French Polynesia. More about the Island of Moorea can be found in our Scientists...
The robotic arm of a Pisces submersible collects a gold coral colony ( Gerardia sp.) during a research cruise in the Hawaiian Islands. Ocean scientists have radiocarbon-dated some Gerardia specimens...
Giant clams are one of the many wonders of coral reefs. They can grow up to five feet wide, weigh over 400 pounds, and live for 100 years! They power all that bulk by filter feeding microbes and...
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...
The pink strands of this single deep-sea coral harbor a variety of marine life. Sea whips are gorgonian corals and have flexible skeletons. See more pictures of coral in our Deep-sea Corals article.
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...
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