There are literally millions of animals that live in coral reefs and that live around the reefs, but a few specific species of animals that live in coral reefs are corals, clams, sponges, sea horses and certain types of fish. Sea turtles, lobsters and other species like to live near coral reefs and depend on them for survival.
The coral reef is an important part of the ocean's ecosystem because the reefs help to provide food and protection against predators for many of the ocean's creatures. Some animals and plants rely on the coral polyps and the coral reefs so much that they cannot survive without them. One example of this is the zooxanthellae algae. These creatures live on the coral and are actually the reason why coral reefs are so colorful. It is the zooxanthellae algae that is colorful.
Unfortunately, the human activity on land and in water has threatened the existence of the coral reefs. Humans damage the coral through overfishing, ship groundings, destructive fishing practices, introducing disease and distributing waste throughout the oceans. Global climate change is also threatening the coral reefs as ocean temperatures rise at an alarmingly fast rate. It is believed that global climate change is occurring due to human expansion, which is creating what is known as the "greenhouse effect."