Coral Reefs of Costa Rica

Close up of a coral reef with a vibrant variety of life in it

What Are Coral Reefs?

Coral reefs are one of the most important and threatened ecosystems in the world, as well as one of the most misunderstood. Did you know coral reefs are alive? A coral reef is a colonial organism, composed of hundreds and thousands of individual corals, called polyps. A coral polyp is a tiny invertebrate animal that has a hard exoskeleton. The corals bundle up together in one fixed place to multiply and protect each other. The most common way of reproduction is fascinatingly simple: when a coral breaks in two, you now have two corals instead of one. Corals also live for a long time: some of the oldest specimens found started forming about 5,000 years ago.
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