World's 10 Most Beautiful Coral Reefs

Published: Dec 02, 2016 21:31

Coral Reef: Coral reef is a submerged structure made up of many different corals, or small marine invertebrates. These corals are unable to move and cluster with other corals to form colonies. These colonies then secrete calcium carbonate that causes them to bind together to form the reef. Each of these individual animals is also covered with a hard exoskeleton which makes coral reefs appear very strong and rock-like.

Below is a list of world's 10 largest coral reefs

1. Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest and one of the most beautiful coral reef system, composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 KM over an area of approximately 344,400 square KM. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism.

2. Red Sea Coral Reef

The Red Sea Reef stretches over 1,240 miles along the coast of Egypt, Sudan, and Eritrea. There are more than 1,100 species of fish that call this Red Sea Reef home and nearly 10% of these are exclusive to this region. The reef features include abundant aquatic life, platforms, lagoons, and cylinders.

3. New Caledonia Barrier Reef

The New Caledonian barrier reef is located in New Caledonia in the South Pacific, and is the second-longest double-barrier coral reef in the world, after the Belize Barrier Reef. This beautiful reef surrounds Grande Terre, New Caledonia's largest island, as well as the Ile des Pins and several smaller islands, reaching a length of 1,500 KM.The reef has great species diversity with a high level of endemism, and is home to endangered dugongs, and is an important nesting site for green sea turtle.

4. Rainbow Reef - Fiji

The Rainbow Reef can be found in the Somosomo Strait located between the Fijian islands of Taveuni and Vanua Levu. It is considered one of the most famous dive sites in the South Pacific. The Great White Wall is a popular scuba diving site. It is named because of the white coral inhabiting the area between 15 and 65 meters.

5. Palancar Reef

Palancar Reef is a large coral reef on the southwest side of the island of Cozumel of Maxico and is part of the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park. The site, popular with scuba divers, is divided into several sections based on depth and coral formations. Dive depths range from 50 to 110 feet, with coral swim-throughs in many places.

6. Great Chagos Archipelago

Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Great Chagos Archipelago comprises 55 islands, and the Great Chagos Bank happens to be the largest coral atoll in the world and also the least polluted and the most protected. Half of the world’s coral is located here, with endemic varieties such as the Ctenella chagius, coral that resembles a brain. Add to that the rich fish population, along with turtles, dolphins, whales, and more. In order to keep the water as pristine as possible, scientists conducting research don’t even wear sunscreen.

7. Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island is known for its geology, birds, plants, and marine life. Popular tourist activities include scuba diving, birdwatching, snorkelling, surfing, kayaking, and fishing.There is much beauty above the sea, but once you dive into the crystal-clear blue waters, there might be even more allure beneath. A marine park and UNESCO World Heritage Site, its marine biodiversity is unique with over 90 coral species along with 500 different species of fish.

8. Apo Reef

Apo Reef is a coral reef system in the Philippines situated on the western waters of Occidental Mindoro province in the Mindoro Strait.Encompassing 34 Sq KM it is the world's second-largest contiguous coral reef system and the largest in the country.The reef and its surrounding waters are protected areas in the country administered by the Apo Reef Natural Park (ARNP). It is one of the best known and most popular dive sites in the country.

9. Bonaire Reef

Bonaire Reef is home to a dazzling display of hard and soft corals in bright blues, greens, yellows, purples, and pinks, like an artist’s palette. Located in the Dutch Caribbean, the waters are crystal clear, allowing divers to see clearly the rich marine biodiversity. Bonaire is a popular destination for scuba divers, and it is also well known for easy access to its various reefs from the shore.

10. Raja Ampat

The Raja Ampat archipelago is the part of Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth.Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau.Raja Ampat is considered the global epicenter of tropical marine bio-diversity and is referred to as The Crown Jewel of the Bird's Head Seascape, which also includes Cenderawasih Bay and Triton Bay.