Our Amazing Coral Reefs for kids ages 4-8 are incredible things of beauty, with a fascinating mix of underwater gardens and marine life. Of particular importance are the stunning coral reefs, which act as a protection mechanism to coastlines and a home to an array of ecosystems.
What is Coral? Corals are in fact animals, not plants. So, what does a Coral Reef do? Coral reefs protect wildlife, ‘Barrier’ reefs get their name because they protect shallow warm waters, this protection creates an important habitat for many types of tropical fish and rare plants.
What types of Coral Reefs are there? There are three different types of coral reef, fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls.
Fringing reefs are close to shore, where as a barrier reef will lie further out to sea. Often, atolls will be mistaken for islands because they are so large and generally appear on the rim of a lagoon.
When you see Coral, the color is so beautiful, how does Coral get its color? Coral reefs are naturally colorful because of algae, whichlives inside of the coral, providing them with food. How cool is that! Known as “rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean but are home to almost 25% of all known marine species!
So, what is happening to our Coral Reefs, and how can we help? Unfortunately, 25% of coral reefs are irrevocably damaged. Destructive fishing practices, coral mining, and climate change are some of the reasons behind their plight. Coral Reef Conservation Act to protect, conserve, and restore the nation’s coral reefs by maintaining healthy ecosystem function. They focus on four main pillars of work: Increase resilience to climate change (we can do our part), Reduce land-based sources of pollution (again, we can do our part), Improve fisheries’ sustainability, and Restore viable coral populations.
Given their incredible value, it is now more important than ever to address and reverse the threats impacting coral reef ecosystems. The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program is leading efforts to study and conserve these precious resources for current and future generations.
We can certainly do our share to conserve and protect these amazing ecosystems. Watch the video below for more exciting facts, and click on our Coral Reef work book and join in the fun! So much to think about! Have an amazing day!