Mangroves and seagrass beds are two of the most important associated habitats of the greater coral reef ecosystem. Habitat: They support 25% of all marine animals, from thousands of fish species to sponges to marine mammals. Some remain in their natural state while others have been modified through changes in land use. Assessment of a large number of studies shows that a whole coral reef reduces wave height by 76–89%. An estimated 4,000 fish species, and some 25 percent of marine life, depend on coral reefs at some point in their existence. Coral reefs provide the spawning and nursery grounds that economically important fish populations need to thrive. Caribbean coral reefs extend from the Greater and Lesser Antilles through the islands of The Bahamas. As sea level rises and slowly floods coastal plains, coral reefs … They provide food for many organisms within the ecosystem. Reef animals are an important source of protein. There are 14 coastal ecosystems that are important to the function of the Reef: coral reefs, lagoon floors, islands, open water, seagrass, coastline, estuaries, freshwater wetlands, forested floodplains, health and shrublands, grass and sedgelands, woodlands, forests, and rainforests. Occupying less than one percent of the ocean floor, coral reefs are home to more than twenty-five percent of marine life. If stony corals and clownfish are on the coral reef celebrity A-list, the lowly sponge would have to be on the C-list or lower (or is it sea-list…pun intended, unfortunately, but I couldn’t help myself). A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals.Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate.Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups.. Coral belongs to the class Anthozoa in the animal phylum Cnidaria, which includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Coral reefs help to protect coastal communities from storm surges and erosion from waves, both of which are likely to increase in the face of sea-level rise. Coral reefs, thanks to their diversity, provide millions of people with food, medicine, protection from storms, and revenue from fishing and tourism. Coral reefs provide many valuable ecosystem services, including seafood, livelihoods, tourism, recreation and biodiversity. Coral reefs provide an important ecosystem for life underwater, protect coastal areas by reducing the power of waves hitting the coast, and provide a crucial source of income for millions of people.. Coral reefs teem with diverse life. 1. Plants Besides fish, several types of plants are found within coral reefs. Coral reefs ecosystem has variety of corals, algae and sea sponges, which become the main support for the whole ecosystem. This provides many benefits to the islands themselves, including protection from high seas as well as being part of a large ecosystem that benefits the entirety of the ocean. Although deep water corals do exist, the majority of reef builders like to be in shallow waters, where sufficient sunlight can penetrate to fuel the photosynthesis of the algae that lives alongside the coral animals and provides them with essential food. Coral reefs provide important protection for coasts and coastal populations against the destructive forces of the sea under storm conditions. Coral reefs provide about 10% of the fish caught worldwide. Protection from storms: Coral reefs are also our first line of defense against tropical storms, helping to protect all of our coastal communities. 2. Because coral colonies serve as the foundations of coral reef ecosystems, their decline may translate into a loss of habitat for numerous plant and animal species that depend on them. 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