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Marine life - coral reefs

Coral is pretty looking stuff at the bottom of the sea. But it's more than that, as the curious growths of intricate patterned coral formations are made of vast numbers of small animals forming a living surface over hard stuff which they have generated, made of chalk. Like trees in a forest, the underwater branches of coral harbour myriad creatures in a diverse ecosystem.

"Coral reefs occupy half a percent of the sea floor, yet they support a quarter of all marine species" - a quote from LIFE, BBC1

It would be good to preserve this, partly because we like interestingness in nature and biodiversity which continues to survive, but also because coral reefs take away carbon dioxide and turn it into solid calcium carbonate limestone. Each square metre of coral can produce ten grammes of calcium carbonate per day, representing 2.4 litres of CO2 gas removed from the atmosphere. That's carbon sequestration that actually works! Coral reefs are also good for the tourist industry, and for making restful documentaries about marine life. The life on a coral reef makes a good job of turning unsightly shipwrecks into interesting ornamental objects for visitors to gaze at, and having all that stuff down there at the bottom of the sea helps to reduce the ravages of natural disasters attacking the coastline; tsunamis, hurricanes, etc.

Coral has uses, (and I don't mean as tourist souvenirs!). As the skeletal material has a honeycombed structure, it can be used as surgical substrate to replace missing bone. The body tends to accept it as natural and grows new bone where it was.

Here are a few helpful coral references:

Coral at Wikipedia

Coral Reef Alliance




Coral Reef Initiative

Reef Relief






As the tax havens I am looking at the possibility of emigrating to tend to be tropical places, I'm hoping to include some pictures and first-hand experiences of coral reefs on this page at some time.