The total area of the world's coral reefs amounts to less than one quarter of 1% of the entire marine environment.
Yet some estimates put the total diversity of life found in, on, and around all coral reefs at up to 2 million species. All up, reefs are home to 25% of all marine life, and form the nurseries for about a quarter of the ocean's fish - including commercially important species that could end up on your dinner plate any night of the week.
This biodiversity translates directly into food security, income, and a multitude of other benefits to people. For example, although scientists have only just begun to understand how reefs can contribute to medicine, already coral reef organisms are being used in treatments for diseases like cancer and HIV
For many coastal areas, coral reefs also provide an important barrier against the worst ravages of storms, hurricanes, and typhoons.
As thousands of communities across the world will tell you, coral reefs are essential not only to ocean health, but also to human health and well-being.