Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse places on the planet. Like rainforests, they are teeming with species that live symbiotically with one another. They cover less than 1% of the ocean floor yet harbour a quarter of all known marine species.
As well as astonishing beauty, this biodiversity provides spawning and nursery grounds that economically important fish populations need to thrive. They protect coastal communities from storm surges. They provide millions of jobs through tourism, fishing and recreational activities - and they are also important sources of new medicines being developed to treat cancer, arthritis, bacterial infections, Alzheimer's, heart disease, viruses and other illnesses.
If coral reefs go, this will all disappear.