Coral reefs rival rainforests in diversity of life, and together they hold the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Coral reefs support one-quarter of all ocean life, help feed millions of people, and protect homes and cities.
However, their existence is threatened by rising water temperatures and ocean acidification linked to rising carbon dioxide levels, both of which affect the corals’ ability to feed themselves and successfully reproduce. In the past few decades, one-tenth of all coral reefs have been destroyed and one-third have been seriously degraded.
Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute scientists have pioneered low-cost, high-impact reproductive technology to offset the effects of climate change on reefs, mainly through the creation of frozen repositories for reef species around the world.
Don’t miss the corals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s Amazonia exhibit.
How to Help Corals
You can make positive choices to help corals! Help save our oceans by following these six simple actions:
- Keep beaches clean. Remove your trash and help pick up after others.
- Avoid buying souvenirs and jewelry made from corals.
- Practice safe and responsible diving and snorkeling by not touching reefs or anchoring your boat on a reef.
- Eat fish that are caught sustainably.
- Conserve fresh water. Take shorter showers and turn off the tap while you brush your teeth.
- Talk to your parents and grandparents about what energizes you to live sustainably.