Species name: Too many species of corals to list
Description: Coral reefs are the most diverse marine ecosystems, playing an important role in providing habitats for important species of fish and critically endangered marine wildlife such as the Hawksbill Turtle. Among these reefs is an important group of creatures encompassing crabs, oysters and cuttlefish.
IUCN Status: Corals are in severe decline.
Key Threats: Anthropogenic activities, such as coastal development, dredging, wastewater discharges, sedimentation, pollution, anchor damage, landfill, and discarded or lost fishing gear.
Where they’re found today: Various species of corals are found in all oceans of the world, from the tropics to the polar regions.
Abu Dhabi’s efforts: Abu Dhabi has approximately 350 km2 of coral reef associated habitat. As part of our work to protect them, in collaboration with New York University – Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), we conduct an annual monitoring and assessment programme to understand the health status of coral communities in Abu Dhabi’s coastal waters.
- They grow in different shapes depending on their species. Some of them resemble trees, brains and honeycombs.
- Unlike plants, corals do not make their own food. Corals are in fact animals.
- In Greek mythology, it is believed that when Perseus killed Medusa, drops of her blood fell into the sea and became bright red corals.
- They usually eat at night and share food with others. Their stomachs are connected to one another!