Coral’s Quarrel

Coral Reefs; the Rainforest of the Sea

Coral Reefs; the Rainforest of the Sea

Coral Reefs

The coral reef, the diverse “rainforest of the sea” is in deep trouble. Coral reefs only cover about one percent of the earth’s surface but yet they are home, habitat and grocery store to twenty-five percent of the ocean’s creatures. Coral is very important, but coral reefs are dying. Human activity is to blame. Destructive fishing that scrapes dredges across the bottom of the sea can destroy an entire coral reef in one fell swoop. Pollution from cars and industry is causing the oceans to warm and changing the waters where coral try to grow. The bleaching of corals happens when the organisms that live inside and with the coral structure start to die. You can see why corals might have a quarrel with us humans.


The Coral’s Quarrel

Boulder Brain Coral Closeup

Boulder Brain Coral Closeup


We, the coral, have a quarrel

With how humans treat the sea

How they heat up our reef waters

Boosting sea acidity



Listen to the coral chorus

As we sing our song of woe

When the ocean waters sicken Coral_reefs_papua

Coral polyps cannot grow



All these years we have been growing

We’ve been building up our reef

Now we watch our home’s destruction  Coral_Varieties

While the coral sings in grief



Can’t you hear the coral chorus

As we sing our song of woe?

We are losing our bright colors

Coral bones begin to show

Photo by Adam Pender

Photo by Adam Pender



Symbiotic coral features

Are a vast community

And we’re home to countless creatures

That commune here in the sea



Come and listen to the coral

Sun Coral Closeup

Sun Coral Closeup

Singing to humanity

You can hear us as we softly

Sing our song to save the sea

                  — Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud



For more information about coral reefs, please visit Ocean Portal, a site sponsored by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Link:



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