Coral Reefs:  A Brief Overview

The coral reefs you see aren’t the creature they are named after. Instead, they are a calcium carbonate that the corals secrete. The stony coral sections are then filled with groups of life forms that range from fish to aquatic plant life. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 4,000 different species of fish and almost 700 species of coral can be found in the different coral rain forests of the open water.

A swimmer that passes through one of these areas will be dazzled by the number of colors that can be found. While you have your traditional browns and tans, you will also see vibrant blues, greens, pinks, purples, oranges and more. The colors in the corals reefs tend to be very bright and all the different animals that fill this area are going to deliver a sensory overload of patterns and designs. While some of the brightly colored fished are based on the environment, some are colored as a way to warn other fish.

Depending on the types of coral reefs a swimmer visits, some of the following species can be found. With so many different animals out there, this list is only a small fraction of possibilities.

  • White Tip Reef Shark
  • Black Tip Reef Shark
  • Epaulette Shark
  • Zebra Shark
  • Dwarf Seahorse
  • Long Snout Seahorse
  • Carpet Anemone
  • Anchor Hammer Coral
  • Brain Coral
  • Toadstool Leather Coral
  • Stag Horn Coral
  • Giant Clam
  • Parrotfish
  • Pyramid Butterfly Fish
  • Pharaoh Cuttlefish
  • Square Spot
  • Yellow Headed Jaw Fish
  • Zebra Moray

With thousands of other sea creatures, you will find that there is plenty of aquatic life for the swimmer to find when they are in the coral reefs. Of course, it is important to understand that these areas are alive and corals are adapting to the pressure of human activity and natural predators. Currently, these species are doing what they can to pass their spawn off into the currents. This allows them to shift and to move to new areas all the time. However, they do need the currents of the ocean to move and for some that means that their tiny larvae can end up in a uniquely new area where they may or may not survive.

When it comes to coral reefs, there is plenty of information to consider. It is important to look at them as any other ocean life and to treat it with the respect you would, if you were to encounter any other life form. Since many reefs take hundreds of years to grow and evolve, it is important to do what you can to avoid disturbing the natural balance and just enjoy the beauty that it can offer you as you swim around it and explore it in the warm waters of the ocean.


Today’s Daily Swimming Workout:

Warm-Up:  500 as 25 breaststroke, 75 freestyle; 100 breaststroke kick; 200 Individual Medley

Kick with swim fins on:  10 X 50 alternating butterfly and freestyle

20 X 50 alternating backstroke and freestyle

Pull with Hand-Paddles:  12 X 100 alternating breaststroke and freestyle

3 X 200 Individual Medley

8 X 25 in Individual Medley Order

Warm-down:  200 choice of stroke tai-chi style with great technique

Total:  4500 meters or yards depending on length of pool

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