If you’re reading Reef Builders on the regular, there’s a good chance that you wake up thinking about live corals, how to grow them better, make them more colorful, and the frags you’ll get or share with reefing friends. But corals are so much more than an aquarium ornament and our lives are inextricably intertwined with the ecosystems that corals build than you could ever imagine.
Our world would be such a poorer place if corals and the reefs that they build disappeared for a wide range of reasons. We already know that corals are the keystone species for huge ecosystems and corals reefs are a huge source of food for many coastal communities.
Do you like to breathe? Do you like where sea level is at today? What about seafood to eat and medicine for exotic diseases? Coral reefs produce a ton of the planet’s oxygen, healthy reefs protect shorelines from erosion and there’s a huge industry that is bioprospecting for new compounds and medicines to treat cancers and other life threatening diseases.
It’s easy for us reef aquarists to bounce around our little coral reef aquarium world but wild reefs are really under threat. We sincerely hope that people can wake up to the important ecosystem services that coral reefs provide before they are gone because at this rate, it really seems like our generation will have to rebuild many coral reefs around the world, if it’s even possible.