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Celebrate Corals Week

December 06, 2022

Corals Week is December 5–9, 2022! Join us in celebrating this diverse group of invertebrate animals and the reef habitats they create.

Corals in clear pristine waters. Shallow water provides habitat for branching corals (Acropora spp), as seen here on a reef flat in Guam. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Jonathan Brown

Coral reefs are the most diverse habitats on the planet and serve as homes for fish, crabs, seahorses, sea turtles, and more. They provide coastal protection for communities and millions of dollars in recreation and tourism. There are both shallow coral reef habitats and deep-sea coral habitats.

Despite their great economic and recreational value, corals are severely threatened by rapidly worsening environmental conditions (such as ocean acidification and rising water temperature).They are also threatened by human activity, such as pollution, oil and chemical spills, ship groundings, and marine debris. Corals are slow growing. When corals are harmed, it can take many decades—even centuries—for them to recover.

The best way to conserve coral reefs and reduce future habitat loss is to know everything we can about them. Explore the features below to learn about the many coral species, coral reef habitats, and the work NOAA Fisheries does to research and protect this diverse group of animals.

Coral Features

Deep-Sea Coral Research to Gain New Understanding of Alaska Fish Habitat

A multiyear, international study is using innovative technology to shed light on what red corals need to reproduce and sustain their populations, and how they may respond to climate change.

Dive deeper into this multiyear study of deep-sea coral

A fish swimming around deep-sea corals
A rockfish among deep-sea red tree corals at a study site in the Gulf of Alaska. Credit: Alaska Department of Fish and Game ROV Team

A Growing Facility to Leverage Coral Science

Advancing coral research, spawning efforts, and restoration science in an expanded experimental wet lab facility.

Learn more about the Coral Research and Assessment Lab team and their wet lab facility

the A and B Raceway tanks of the newly expanded coral science facility
Flow-through seawater systems at the newly expanded coral wet lab, which has 3 grow out raceways and an experimental 30-tank system. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/ Allan Bright (Permit: FKNMS-2018-163-A1)

Mesophotic and Deep Benthic Communities Restoration

Vital seafloor habitats were damaged by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. NOAA and partners are building a network of experts and resources to restore this underexplored area in the Gulf of Mexico.

Habitat restoration in the mesophotic zone and deep-sea communities 

A colorful array of corals and crinoids on an underwater bank
Mesophotic corals and crinoids on Bright Bank, near the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Credit: Marine Applied Research and Exploration, NOAA

How Are Fisheries and Coral Reefs Connected?

Learn how overfishing impacts corals and what you can do to protect these important ecosystems.

More on the connected between fisheries and coral reefs

Fish swim above a coral reef in the Caribbean.
Fish swim above a coral reef in the Caribbean. Credit: Tom Moore

Science Blog: Innovation to Learn About Deep-Sea Coral Communities in the Gulf of Alaska

We are using new technologies and methods to learn more about deep-sea coral communities in the Gulf of Alaska.

View more from this science blog series

Colorful orange and white fish species swimming around a yellow-colored deep-sea coral habitat in Glacier Bay Alaska.
Rockfish swimming around deep-sea coral habitat in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

A Cautionary Tale: The 2019 Coral Bleaching Event in Hawaiʻi

Corals bleached less in 2019 than anticipated, but bleaching events are increasingly occurring in the Hawaiian Islands.

More About Coral Bleaching and How to Respond

A coral reef with bleached corals appearing white
Corals in Kāneʻohe Bay demonstrated a range of bleaching responses during the 2019 heat stress event. Credit: Chuck Babbit Photography