Coral Reef Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:01 What's a Coral Reef?
  • 0:35 Where Do You Find Reefs?
  • 1:20 Two Types of Coral
  • 2:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Heather Pier

Heather has taught high school and college science courses, and has a master's degree in geography-climatology.

In this lesson, you will learn about coral reefs, one of the world's most interesting ecosystems. Coral reefs are found in tropical oceans. They contain two different types of coral called hard coral and soft coral.

What's a Coral Reef?

Do you remember watching a movie about a little lost clownfish named Nemo? Do you remember seeing all the beautiful, colorful fish and coral that lived near the clownfish? Well, that beautiful place is what we call a coral reef.

A coral reef is a type of ecosystem. An ecosystem is a place where plants and animals live and interact in the same habitat. A coral reef is like the underwater version of a flower garden. In a reef, you have aquatic plants (like seaweed) and animals (like fish and coral) living together instead of flowers and trees and bugs.

Where Do You Find Reefs?

Coral reefs are very special because they are rare. You can't find coral reefs just anywhere in the world. Less than one percent of all the world's ocean water is in a reef area. Almost all of the reefs on Earth are located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Coral and many of the fish who live in reefs are tropical. This means they can only live in warmer water. That's why almost all reefs are located close to the equator.

The equator is located at the middle of the earth which gets the most daylight during the year. It is also where the sun's rays feel the strongest. The waters there warm up a lot more than they would in colder places like the North Pole. Coral Reefs can oftentimes be found near the equator because of these conditions.

Two Types of Coral

In order for an area to be called a coral reef, you have to have coral living there. But what kind of coral? There are thousands of different types of coral, just like there are different types of trees or dogs. All the coral in the world can be grouped into one of two types. These two types are hard coral and soft coral.

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