Coral reefs are amongst the most valuable ecosystems on Earth. Coral reefs support more aquatic species per unit area than any other marine habitat. As a result, healthy coral reefs play a crucial role in enabling commercial and subsistence fisheries. Over 3 billion people depend on marine life for their livelihood.

How does it affect humans

In addition, coral reef structures buffer shorelines against the energy from waves, storms, and floods, helping to prevent loss of life, property damage, and erosion.

Corals are also being studied as possible cures for cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, viruses, and other diseases. Scientists estimate that there may be millions of undiscovered species of organisms living in and around reefs which is considered key to finding new medicines for the 21st century.


Without coral reefs, humans would lose vital sources of food. Many subsistence and commercial fisheries would disappear. Local economies would also lose billions in visitor revenues from diving tours, recreational fishing trips, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses based near reef ecosystems.