Coral reefs are the most varied and arguably the most beautiful of all marine habitats. Often referred to as “rainforests of the sea”, coral reefs account for some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They occupy merely less than 0.1% of the earth’s ocean surface, and yet they provide a home for almost 25% of all underwater species. These include fish, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, sponges, echinoderms, tunicates and other cnidarians. Ironically, coral reefs thrive even though the ocean waters provide them very scant nutrients.
Los Angeles based photographer Felix Salazar shows in his images exactly how varied reefs can get. Through his close-up macro shots, Salazar is able to demonstrate that each single coral is an absolute beauty made up of many colors and various patterns.
From polyps to other varieties of more unusual corals that are almost flower-like, Salazar is able to capture the living forms sustained by each species of coral. From this series, Salazar is able to demonstrate that coral reefs are indeed a treasure that we should conserve and protect.
They are most abundant in shallow depths in tropical waters, however deep water and cold water corals also subsist on smaller scales in other locations. Coral reefs are actually structures created from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. They are colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that have very few nutrients.
The majority of coral reefs are made from stony corals, which are made-up of polyps that gather in groups. These absolutely beautiful underwater habitats have been under constant danger from climate change, blast fishing, cyanide fishing for aquarium fish, oceanic acidification, overuse of reef resources, and harmful water pollution.
Among the most popular reefs around the world are the following: Great Barrier Reef – Australia, Red Sea Coral Reef- Red Sea near, Israel, Egypt and Djibouti, New Caledonia Barrier Reef – Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia, The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – Atlantic Ocean near Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, Florida Reef – Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico near Florida, Andros Coral Reef- Bahamas between the islands of Andros and Nassau, Zhongsha Islands – South China Sea, Saya Del Malha- Indian Ocean, Great Chagos Bank – The Maldives, and Reed Bank, South China Sea, claimed by the Philippines.
View his amazing images here.