Coral Reefs: The Rainforests of the Sea

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The Rainforests of the Sea Coral reefs are one of the most diverse habitats in the world today and it this diversity that makes them so important to the overall health of the oceans and thus the overall health of the oceans as a whole. Coral reefs take up only a very small percentage of the entire surface of the ocean's surface. However, despite this, they provide a home to about one-quarter of all of the species that live in the oceans. (Mulhall, 2007, p. 321). Among the other life forms that live in the world's coral reefs are fish, worms, echinoderms (such as sea urchins), sponges, and the evolutionary ancient classes of tunicates and cnidarians. One of the most striking aspects of the diversity of coral reefs is that they can exist (and support this florescence of life) in places where few other animals can flourish: Cold and deep waters (Smithers & Woodroffe, 2000, p. 4). However, most corals live in tropical waters; it is on these types of corals that this paper focuses, looking in particular at the reef fishes that make their homes in the world's coral reefs. A very wide range of fish lives in coral reefs. These fish include both those who live entirely within the reefs and those that move in and out of the reef's periphery. Both types of fish eat smaller animals that also live in the reef or small plants that habitat the reef including seaweed and algae. The fish that live in coral reefs are often very brightly colored, a fact that allows that allows them to blend
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