Discover the beauty of coral reef ecosystems.
Coral reefs are fascinating and valuable ocean ecosystems, prized for
their beauty and diversity. Although scientists are just beginning to
understand their complex biology and ecology, coral reefs are being
destroyed at an alarming rate. About 16% of the world's reefs have been
lost in the last five years alone, and another 25% are severely
degraded. To help reverse centuries of damage, scientists are racing to
understand how coral reefs work, and what's troubling them.
Additional exhibits highlight synchronous coral spawning--an annual spectacle of nature in which corals spawn in unison--as well as the Birch Aquarium's contribution to coral reef conservation through its highly successful coral propagation program. Much like propagating plants from cuttings, fragments from many kinds of corals can grow into new colonies, creating live corals for aquarium displays without harming natural coral reefs. The stony corals in the Pacific and Caribbean reef tanks are the fruits of our aquarists' propagation efforts.