Diving Into Coral Reefs

There is much attention given to space exploration, but it seems to this child that the ocean gets short shrift. As with biology and outer space, there are many discoveries coming to light from the world down under the waves. Consider the coral reefs.

Corals are mostly found in marine environments (except for the "impossible" coral reefs at the mouth of the Amazon River, of all things). Michigan's state stone is the petoskey, which is fossilized corals that are now extinct. Just thought I'd mention it since I lived in Michigan my first 40 years.

Tiny corals build gigantic life-sustaining, evolution-defying reefs. These fade away and come back, but we must help protect them as God's stewards.
Palmyra Atoll, NOAA photo by Erin Looney
Corals confound Darwin's disciples. These tiny animals act like plants and build their own homes. Those homes eventually turn into coral reefs, which are amazing ecosystems that only cover a small percentage of the ocean floor. Lots of mutualism (symbiotic relationships) happen in the reefs. They not only benefit a huge amount of marine life forms that homestead there, but are important to humans as well.

Global warming alarmists are saying that the reefs may be entirely gone in a few years. While that would be tragic, those jaspers operate from a deep-time evolutionary perspective, rejecting the fact that our Creator sustains living things. Yes, reefs are getting smaller, and Christians are to be stewards to help keep this from happening.

The good news is that despite the doom and gloom folks, some corals do seem to come back to life, and doing it quickly. Coral reefs in Hawaii are coming back, fake news about the Great Barrier Reef is the opposite of the truth. Coral gardeners are working to bring back coral in Jamaica.

In the tropical ocean waters fringing many of the continents lie vast stretches of colorful structures resembling underwater gardens. These vivid structures are not constructed of plants but living animals. We know them best as coral reefs and can find them in shallow and deep water all around the world. The most well-known reef, the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia, covers over 130,000 square miles. This reef system is visible from space. In 2020, oceanographers found a reef in Australian waters that was 1,640 feet tall—taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Even more impressive than the area that reefs occupy is the variety of life that calls them home. We use the term biodiversity to provide a measure of the diversity of lifeforms living in an ecosystem. More species typically means higher biodiversity. Coral reefs are the most biodiverse ecosystems on earth. . . .

Coral reefs also provide coastal protection, absorbing wave action that would erode the coastline of areas that tens of millions of people call home. Additionally, corals are a source of medicine used to treat diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.

To read the full article or listen to the audio done by an outstanding reader, fin your way over to "Coral Reefs: The World Beneath the Waves".