Why are coral reefs important?


Quick Answer

Coral reefs are important to the biodiversity of Earth. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, coral reefs house more species than any other marine habitat, making them the equivalent of an underwater rain forest. The life there provides scientists vast opportunities for pharmaceutical research.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Scientists believe reefs support millions of undiscovered life forms, life forms they believe to be the key to cures for some of humanity's most devastating diseases.

Coral reefs have environmental importance as a species that filters carbon dioxide out of the water, helping to balance undersea gases, which in turn affect marine life and carbon dioxide levels throughout the planet. Reefs, such as the Great Barrier Reef, serve as protection for shorelines against large wave activity, keeping harbors and people out of harm's way.

Reefs further benefit humans by sheltering a variety of fish that feed millions of people. Commercial fisheries make millions from these fish, and local fishermen are able to support their families and communities with their catches. Additionally, coral reef tourism brings in large amounts of money to support local towns around the world, employing the citizens and enriching their lives as well as the lives of those who visit such natural wonders.

Learn more about Environmental Science

Related Questions