Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are known as the "rainforests of the sea" and represent the most diverse and most threatened ecosystems. They are the largest living structures on our planet. Their biodiversity is fascinating for any kind of visitor - tourists, divers as well as scientists. They cover a total area of ca. 280,000 km², which represents only 0.09 % of the world's oceans and less than 1.2% of the world's continental shelf area. In ecology, they play a major role in the functioning of shallow water ecosystems of the tropical and subtropical areas, support large fish stocks, stabilize the coastal areas and protect the mainland in different ways. Economically, they support millions of people who depend on subsistence or commercial fisheries, aquarium trade and - of increasing importance - on tourism. Thus, coral reefs play a major role in the sustainability of coastal human communities and provide many other regions and communities with benefits from its wealth of life and beauty. The need to protect these ecosystems is well known but insufficient action is taken. Threats to coral reefs are numerous. On a large geographic scale global warming causes severe coral bleaching events. In addition, regional and local impacts are often due to land reclamation, coastal development and industries and last but not least, fishing, pollution and tourism itself. All this is human-based and can be changed through our decisions. It's in our hands..........








© Reef Expedition 2007 to the Maldives I Impressum