Hidden beneath the oceans’ waters, coral reefs teem with life of unimaginable beauty and mystery.  Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems on our planet and support more species than any other marine environment. 

Approximately one thousand species of corals have been discovered, most of which are found in warm, shallow tropical waters while six species of deep sea corals have also been identified. (https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/17sedci/background/coral-ecosystems/coral-ecosystems.html)  

deepwater coral garden
Deep-sea coral and fish thrive in Madison-Swanson Marine Reserve off the west coast of Florida, protected in 2000.

These reef systems support over 4000 species of fish, many of which are commercially important, and overall an estimated 1-9 million species of marine inhabitants.  In fact, about 25% of marine species depend on healthy coral reefs.  Species ranging from some of the tiny crustaceans, sea slugs and fish, to mollusks, sponges, turtles, snakes, sharks, rays, and so many more rely on healthy coral reef systems for their survival as places to find shelter and food, as well as to reproduce and rear their young. Because of the diversity of life found in the habitats created by corals, reefs are often called the “rainforests of the sea”. 

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The beauty of coral reefs and the life found on them is captivating with spectacular colors; fantastic forms and textures; creatures of all sizes and shapes, many camouflaged and some so bizarre looking they befit science fiction.

For those of us who are scuba divers, this reef experience is captivating, whether we’re in sedate waters or riding the rip of a current.  While immersed in this underwater splendor, these encounters can become meditative and even spiritual as we become so engrossed by the wonders and complexities of this underwater world.

Explore and celebrate the remarkable beauty and mystery of our tropical coral reefs and the inhabitants that depend on them for survival! Welcome to Underwater Splendor!