Coral reefs are very important to the ocean ecosystem. Many plants and animals rely on coral reefs for shelter. They also find their food there. Algae, sponges, clams, and many species of fish are among the organisms that live on coral reefs.
Coral reefs are home to so many types of organisms that they are often called the "tropical rainforest of the ocean. A loss in coral reef habitat can lead to a dramatic loss of biodiversity. Many scientists are concerned that such a loss of biodiversity is already happening.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Coral Reef Initiatives, an estimated 10 percent of Earth's coral reefs have already been seriously harmed, and a much higher percentage is threatened.
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Exploring the Environment®, Coral Reefs was developed under a cooperative agreement with NASA.
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