reef animals

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🎂 Happy anniversary to Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary! 🎉

Today, the sanctuary is 27 years old. Within this sanctuary’s 2,900 square nautical miles lie the world’s third-largest barrier reef, extensive seagrass beds, mangrove-fringed islands, and more than 6,000 species of marine life. 

(Photo: Daryl Duda; GIFs: NOAA)

ecosystems coral reef

diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals. Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish.

The Last of its Kind
Sharks throughout the world are being destroyed at a devastating rate for shark fin soup and other human causes. This image of a lonely reef shark cruising over a desert of sand was captured to help portray the importance of conservation before we lose them FOREVER. Photo by Laz Ruda.

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“Sharks have everything a scientist dreams of. They’re beautiful - God, how beautiful they are! They’re like an impossibly perfect piece of machinery. They’re as graceful as any bird. They’re as mysterious as any animal on earth. There are more than two hundred and fifty species of shark and everyone is different from every other one. - Peter Benchley