Coral Reefs

Corals are tiny animals that live in large communities made up of individual polyps that secrete a calcium carbonate substance that hardens and builds up to form the reef structure over time. There are different types of corals, such as brain corals and fan corals, that form different types of structures. The coral polyps live symbiotically with algae that provides them with their food. Disease, temperature extremes and pollution can cause corals to expel the algae, leaving only the white calcium carbonate skeleton behind, an event called coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is a worry with global warming heating up the oceans and carbon dioxide causing the oceans to acidify. Coral reefs are important ecosystems because they support larger communities of fish, mollusks, crustaceans and other sea creatures.
Read More
Meet 'Squishy Fingers': Flexible Robot Advances Undersea Research
Squishy Fingers robot collects coral.
January 30th, 2016
There's a new soft and squishy robot in town, and it's ready for some serious underwater business.
Read More »
From a Childhood Fascination with Fish to a Career in Conservation
Colorful fish in basket
August 13th, 2015
Coral reefs are key to wildlife, and human, survival — and they may yet be saved.
Read More »
NASA to Capture Best-Ever Portrait of Coral Reef Health
Mariana Islands Coral Reef
January 15th, 2016
NASA is about to get up close and personal with Earth's corals: The space agency will use airplanes and water instruments to survey these delicate structures and capture the most detailed views ever of the planet's corals.
Read More »
Beautiful Corals in Home Aquariums Can Poison You
A zoanthid coral
August 13th, 2015
Aquarium enthusiasts and people who work in aquarium stores should be aware that some types of coral produce dangerous toxins.
Read More »
Coral Pyramids in Micronesia Date Back to Middle Ages
Bat tomb corals
March 13th, 2015
New evidence reveals that the ancient coral tombs of Leluh in Micronesia could be up to 700 years old — much older than previously thought.
Read More »
Hot Oceans Are Killing Coral Reefs Around the World
Bleached coral can be seen at Lisianski Island in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, in Hawaii, as documented during a NOAA mission in August 2014.
October 8th, 2015
For only the third time on record, coral bleaching is occurring across the globe and climate change is to blame.
Read More »
Red Sea's Glowing Corals are Rainbow of Colors
June 26th, 2015
Deep in the Red Sea, beyond the reach of most scuba divers, coral reefs are putting on a glowing, colorful show, scientists have discovered.
Read More »