Coral Reef Types

Reef-Types-Blane-Peruns-TheSeaCoral reefs are divided into four types: fringing, barrier, atoll, and patch. The largest Barrier Reef is the famous Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Fringing Reefs

These are the simplest and most common kind of reef. They develop near the shore throughout the tropics. Some hard substrate is necessary for the polyp to establish, but after that the corals can make their own hard bottom. Note in Figure 5 the different aspects, including the inner reef flat and outer reef slope.

Barrier Reefs

Barrier reefs are similar to fringe reefs, but they lie farther from shore and contain a relatively deep lagoon. Some reefs are as far as 100 km from shore, and 2,000 km in length.

Atolls Reef

Atolls are rings of reef, with steep outer slopes, that surround a central lagoon . They are found far from land, and mainly in the west Pacific. How they are formed was a major puzzle. Charles Darwin, famous for the theory of evolution, solved this puzzle by postulating that atolls formed around subsiding islands. If the upward growth of the coral keeps pace with the downward subsidence of the original volcanic island, an atoll is formed.

Patch Reef

Patch reefs are small reefs that usually occur within lagoons behind barrier reefs or within an atoll.

By Blane Perun
coral farm My travels to date have taken me throughout much of the Caribbean to many wrecks & reef systems. While I have more exploration here in the future, I'm going to divert my travels for now to the far Pacific. I have included some of my best Caribbean dive photos here. After several years of traveling, diving and enjoying life I'm taking a two year break and decided to set up a small 55 gallon reef system. I'll be starting a new section to cover the creation of this tank.
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