Coral Reef Facts for Kids

A picture of a Coral Reefs

This web page contains coral reef facts for kids and is an excellent resource for anyone of any age looking to learn about coral reefs. Our goal is to provide you with accurate, up to date facts about coral reefs. In addition to facts about coral reefs, we provide additional resources to help you with your research on these important underwater habitats.

The coral reef facts below will help you learn about the different types of coral reefs, where coral reefs are found, what marine animals live in coral reefs, and other coral reef related facts. We hope these coral reef facts are interesting and help you learn more about these important underwater environments.

If any of the below coral reef facts are inaccurate, please contact us and let us know.

20 Coral Reef Facts for Kids

  1. A coral reef is an underwater habitat built by reef-building coral.
  2. Coral reefs are built by colonies of coral polyps and held together by calcium carbonate.
  3. Some of the most diverse ecosystems on our planet are found in coral reefs.
  4. Coral reefs are home to 25% of all known marine species but cover less than 0.1% of the oceans’ surface area.
  5. All the coral reefs on our planet are estimated to collectively cover around 109,800 square miles.
  6. Coral reefs are home to more than 4,000 species of fish, which are known as coral reef fish.
  7. Some other marine species found living in coral reefs are clams, cnidarians, crustaceans, mollusks, seabirds, seahorses, sea turtle, sharks, sponges, squids, tunicates and many other marine animal species.
  8. There are three types of coral reefs found in oceans around the world.
  9. The three types of coral reefs are fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atoll reefs.
  10. Fringing reefs are the most common type of coral reef, they grow from the shoreline towards the sea.
  11. Many of the coral reef systems off the coast of the U.S. state of Florida are fringing reefs.
  12. Barrier reefs are a type of coral reef that creates an open lagoon between itself and the shoreline.
  13. An example of a barrier reef is the Great Barrier Reef.
  14. Atoll reefs are a type of coral reef that grow around a sunken volcanic island and create a lagoon in its center.
  15. An example of an atoll reef is the Maro Reef.
  16. The largest coral reef system in the world is the Great Barrier Reef.
  17. The Great Barrier Reef is in the Coral Sea off the east coast of the Queensland mainland, Australia.
  18. The Great Barrier Reef covers approximately 133,000 square miles.
  19. Most of the larger reefs that exist today are between 5,000 and 10,000 years old.
  20. Fossil evidence indicates that coral reefs first started to appear around 485 million years ago.

Additional Resources on Coral Reefs

  • About Coral Reefs and Coral – Find more facts and information about coral reefs and coral on the Smithsonian website.
  • Coral Reef Ecosystems – Discover the ecosystem in coral reefs on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.
  • Where Coral Reefs Are – Learn where some of the most important coral reefs are on the Coral Reef Alliance website.
  • Coral Reef – Wikipedia – Visit the Wikipedia website to find more facts and information about coral reefs.