Coral Reef Ecology

Hard corals form the backbone of the coral reef ecosystem, providing an intricate three-dimensional structure with hiding places and habitat for thousands of species of fish, invertebrates like clams, shrimp, sea stars, sponges, and anemones, sea turtles, and many other animals. Each of these animals plays a unique role in the ecosystem, keeping it functioning and in balance. Watch a busy coral reef at Palmyra Atoll: