Importance of Coral reefs

  • Corals are the basis for the formation of other ecosystems:g. the grazing of coral formations by parrotfish leads to the formation of very large expanses of sand; this, through the action of currents, leads to the formation of islands and shallows, and ultimately to the formation of mangroves and other coastal forests
  • Important for protection of coastal ecosystem: Reefs are found along more than 150,000 kmof coastline in more than 100 countries and territories.
    • They form a barrier that absorbs the forces of waves, currents, storms, hurricanes, etc. coming from the open sea, thereby reducing coastal erosion.
    • Thus, they protect both the ecosystems between the reefs and the coasts, such as lagoons with seagrass beds, as well as human settlements along the coast.
  • An important source of Food resource: Reef animals are an important source of protein. Coral reefs provide about 10% of the fish caught worldwide (70-90% for the Southeast Asian countries)
  • Important for carbon sequestration: Coral reefs (made of calcium carbonate) are an important reservoir of carbon and help sequester ocean carbon, thus are an important part of the carbon cycle.
  • Importance for Medicine:g. Coral organisms are used in the search for treatments for certain cancers or the aging of cells. The coral’s skeleton, (used since 1970) for bone grafts, is a promising lead for bone regeneration.
  • Economic importance: As per an estimate, the total annual net benefit of the world’s coral reefs is $29.8 billion. Reefs are the backbone of tropical regions’ economies, through reef-related tourism and marine exports.