‘Coral reefs are known to be noisy underwater metropolises bustling with sea creatures living in and among the infrastructure built by corals. These underwater cities are densely populated and rich in diversity: they comprise about 25% of marine life, yet they occupy only one percent of the ocean floor (approximately the size of Ecuador!)’ writes
Dr. Anjani Ganase, Trinbagonian marine biologist and project leader of The Maritime Ocean Collection
. Our country of Trinidad and Tobago is home to beautiful, unique coral reef ecosystems. However, less than one percent of our citizens have ever seen our reefs. We all know the old saying – out of sight, out of mind. So we want to share some love
for our reefs and take a moment to talk about them – why do coral reefs matter?
Our reefs are essential for biodiversity – remember Dr. Ganase’s statistic? Over 25% of marine life on the planet lives in reefs. In Tobago, many creatures
make coral reefs their home, including starfish, lobsters and squid, while giant manta rays
and sharks regularly visit. You may ask, why is biodiversity important anyway? Well, healthy, biodiverse reefs also contribute to a healthy ocean. A healthy ocean contributes to a healthy planet… and a healthy you. “You like to breathe?” asks Michael Crosby
, a marine scientist and the president of Mote Laboratory and Aquarium, “estimates are that up to 80% of the oxygen you are breathing in right now comes from the ocean. It doesn’t come from the land.”