Well, rainforests on land are colorfull habitats with alot of plant and animal life that work together as a complex ecosystem. The same can be said about coral reefs, as they provide shelter for many different species from larger preditors of the sea, as well as many different species of coral many of which are living organisms themselves.
This metaphor is a loose translation, because a rainforest technically does not need to have the aforementioned characterstics, it really only needs a certain amount of rainfall to be considered a rainforest (and obviiously it can’t rain underwater, so a coral reef cannot actually be a rainforest).
Coral reefs are called the rainforests of the sea because, like rainforests on land, they support an immense amount of life far out of proportion to the surface area they occupy. Although only about 1% of the ocean is a coral reef environment, reefs harbor 25% of all marine life on Earth, including fish, plants, plankton and the coral organisms themselves. Most reefs are found in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea and Pacific, with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef being the largest in the world. Unfortunately, also like rainforests, the ecosystems contained in coral reefs are very fragile, especially to temperature differences. As global warming causes the temperature of the oceans to rise, reefs are becoming “bleached,” that is, denuded of a particular chemical that is necessary to support life there. Almost all coral reefs in the world are suffering from human activity to one degree or another. Approximately 10% of the world’s coral reefs have already died, and in Southeast Asia 80% of the remaining reefs are endangered.
In a sad analogy, both rainforests and coral reefs are in danger of being destroyed, and their loss will drastically effect ecosystems. Coral reefs are particularly important, as they act as a shore barrier from strong waves that travel towards the land. With there disappearance, coasts and beaches will be hurt significantly.
I would agree with the assessments made by aerodog, seanm, and benz. Both coral reefs and rainforests harbor a vast amount of animals and ecosystems – without these life supporting environments, these animals and diverse ecosystems could not survive. Both rainforests and coral reefs are fragile in nature, and are being harmed by human activity – pollution profoundly affects coral reefs while deforestation profoundly affects rainforests. One big difference between coral reefs and rainforests is that rainforests act as the Earth’s “lungs”. We do not directly depend on coral reefs in the same way we do rainforests, but both are in trouble and both need to be saved through proactive conservation efforts. Please see the links for more information.
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