Puzzled? Are you? Must have heard about the rainforests on the land but “rainforests of the sea”? Yes they do exist. “Rainforests of the sea” is name given to the spectacularly coloured coral reefs. Just like the rainforests are useful to people and wildlife on land, coral reefs are crucial for marine life. Almost one-fourth of the unique marine species live in coral reefs.
You must be wondering how these bright and brilliant coral reefs are formed under the sea. They are almost like underwater cities. The tiny living beings that live here are called ‘corals’ and the structures are also made by the hard limestone(calcium carbonate) that they secrete over their bodies to protect themselves .
Different types of corals produce differently shaped coral reefs. One coral reef might look like a big collection of horns of stags while others might look like huge bunches of cabbages or mushrooms out of your kitchen garden. And Pooh should get ready to scuba dive as there honeycomb corals too!!
Coral reefs form in warm and clear water that has few nutrients. Even a little bit of pollution can damage them. They are generally found in tropics – regions surrounding the equator and subtropics – regions around the Tropic of cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. The most popular and largest coral reef in the world is the Great Barrier Reef which is in Australia.
Coral reefs grow even less than three centimetres in an year. That’s the size of your nail you cut every fortnight!!
Coral reefs that exist today are millions of years old. We must surely treasure them!!