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Exploring a coral reef

Global Ideas TeamJune 25, 2014

A coral reef is like a city with every living organism in it carving out its own niche. If one is threatened, the delicate balance of the ecosystem is endangered. Global Ideas shows why coral reefs need protecting.


For over 400 million years, coral reefs have formed some of the world’s largest and most diverse ecosystems. They provide a habitat for living creatures, protect shores from flood waves, stabilize coastal regions and even provide people with food and incomes.

So, we have every reason to protect corals. But the opposite is happening. Global warming, overfishing, polluted water and tourism are all taking a toll on coral reefs. Currently, reefs are shrinking faster than rain forests. According to statistics from 2008, almost a fifth of the world’s reefs are already dead. But the trend can still be reversed: most reefs can recover provided global CO2 emissions are hugely reduced. Scientists have also found that some corals can adapt to warmer water temperatures.

A lot of people, and not just experts, are trying to help save the reefs. In Indonesia, they are grown on concrete blocks in the water to replace the reefs destroyed by a tsunami. Everyone can do their bit by cutting water wastage and by planting trees.

06.2014 Global Ideas Koralle Vorschau v3 en
Image: haveseen, Volodymyr Vechirnii, vlad61_61 Fotolia

Author: Global Ideas
Camera: Axel Warnstedt
Design: Angela Dehio and Olof Pock
Photography: Axel Warnstedt, Fotolia, Public Domain: USGS/Christina Kelogg, CC BY 2.0: Will Thomas Forge Mountain Photography, CC BY 2.0: epsos.de, CC BY 2.0: USFWS