Feature Image

Anarrhichthys Ocellatus/Wolf Eel
Browning Pass/Vancouver Island/British Columbia
Paul Nicklen/ National Geographic Stock/ iLCP

February 25, 2016. Water / Oceans

Rainforests Of The Seas

Coral reefs are often compared to rainforests in their ecosystem complexity and capacity to support life

Cristina G. Mittermeier, Gregory S. Stone, Russell A. Mittermeier, Octavio Aburto-Oropeza, Claudio Campagna, Kent E. Carpenter, Laurence P. Madin, David Obura, Enric Sala, Sebastian Troëng, Peter A. Seligman & Stefan Gutermuth

The biggest repositories of marine biodiversity are coral reefs. Though they occupy just 0.1% of the surface of the planet, they harbor an exceptionally high number of species, including numerous reef fish, crustaceans, sponges, hydroids, mollusks, echinoderms, and many others.

Coral reefs are often compared to rain forests in their ecosystem complexity and capacity to support life. Reaka-Kudla (1997) estimated that coral reef biodiversity amounts to about 93,000 described species, or almost 34% of all marine life. She also suggested that coral reefs contain a very high number of undocumented species, concluding that the true number of species on global coral reefs is at least 950,000. Indeed, tropical waters remain relatively understudied, particularly compared to the temperate waters of the Northern Hemisphere.

This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Conservation Series Book Oceans: Heart of Our Blue Planet (2011)



Heart of our Blue Planet

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