The vast expanse that stretches just beyond the shoreline and under the horizon holds within it a hidden world, mostly unexplored and unknown. Although the majority of our marine biodiversity is yet to be discovered most of us are familiar with coral reefs, either through pictures or visiting them in person.
Watching life as it unfolds around the reefs is a surreal experience. The ocean slowly soaks up the warm sun as the sunrays race in to create lucent patterns on the shallow ocean floor. Brightly colored fish shimmer in the morning light while corals gently sway on cue to the drifting currents. Tiny creatures find refuge in the meandering crevices of the reefs and others scout it in search of their next meal. Teaming with life the reefs are a magical microcosm of sea creatures. Thousands of species live and thrive in this colorful and vibrant ecosystem giving coral reefs their unique status of being called the rainforest of the oceans.
Covering less than a percent of the ocean floor, corals are often mistaken to be plants when in fact they are classified as animals. The reefs are home to 25% of marine life and they contribute approximately 30 billion dollars to the global economy in carbon absorption, shoreline protection, tourism and fishery. This underwater ecosystem, which is a vital lifeline to both the aquatic life and the global economy, is seriously threatened by human actions. Almost a quarter of the reefs around the world have been permanently destroyed and two-thirds of the remaining reefs are at risk of destruction.