Ocean Park Hong Kong
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Corals

Corals
Distribution
Most coral reefs grow in warm, shallow waters in tropical and subtropical regions, but corals can also be found in deep, cold waters and subpolar regions.
Fun Facts

Fun Facts

  • Corals are composed of many polyps. Soft corals are joined by connective tissue, while hard corals join their limestone skeletons to make up colonies. Hard corals can build coral reefs over centuries.

  • Some corals are the host of zooxanthellae, symbiotic algae which provides them with vibrant colours as well as oxygen and nutrients from photosynthesis. Some corals have tentacles to capture zooplankton or even small fish.

Threats & Conservation

IUCN Red List: 6 species are Critically Endangered, 25 are Endangered, 201 are Vulnerable, 175 are Near Threatened, 291 are Least Concern and 150 are Data Deficient.
IUCN Red List: 6 species are Critically Endangered, 25 are Endangered, 201 are Vulnerable, 175 are Near Threatened, 291 are Least Concern and 150 are Data Deficient.
CITES: 1,818 species are listed in Appendix II and 4 are in Appendix III.
CITES: 1,818 species are listed in Appendix II and 4 are in Appendix III.

Pollution and temperature changes may cause coral bleaching, during which corals expel the zooxanthellae and lose this source of colours and nutrients. Climate change is raising sea temperatures, while seawater is acidified by excess carbon dioxide and may dissolve the corals’ skeletons. Corals are also being destroyed by fishing tools such as explosives and cyanide. As coral reefs are the food and shelter of nearly 25% of all marine life, the loss of corals would mean the decline of many other lives.

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