Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Originals

TED-Ed Original lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed original? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Animator Johan Sonestedt, Veronica Wallenberg
  • Educator Joshua Drew
  • Narrator Joshua Drew


Additional Resources for you to Explore
The Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is the only international organization working exclusively to save coral reefs. CORAL provides education, tools, and inspiration to help local communities become passionate environmental stewards for the reefs. Together, CORAL and those communities of stewards develop managed marine protected areas and sustainable businesses to benefit coral reefs and people.
Corals are related to sea anemones, and they all share the same simple structure, the polyp. The polyp is like a tin can open at just one end: the open end has a mouth surrounded by a ring of tentacles. The tentacles have stinging cells, called nematocysts, that allow the coral polyp to capture small organisms that swim too close. Inside the body of the polyp are digestive and reproductive tissues. Corals differ from sea anemones in their production of a mineral skeleton.
How are these incredible structures created? How can a single coral that is only 3 millimeters long (about the size of the word "is" on this page) become a reef that may stretch for miles and weigh hundreds of tons? In this article, you'll learn how coral reefs form, what kind of life they harbor, and why scientists say they may largely disappear in the coming century.
International Coral Reef Initiative: an informal partnership to preserve coral reefs around the world
Coral reefs are among the largest, most beautiful living structures on Earth. These diverse ecosystems support a vast array of organisms that depend on coral reefs for habitat, food, and shelter. They provide physical barriers to coastal erosion and protection from storm waves and tsunamis. Reefs are also an important economic resource as well as homes for commercially and recreationally important species of fish and a recreational locale for diving and tourism activities.
Here you can learn about coral reefs & how to protect them based on our 23 years of grassroots efforts. Download free images by Craig Quirolo. Study coral reef health via 10,000 images of changing reef health in the Coral Survey Image Archive. Learn, explore, act!
A few research papers by Joshua Drew:
A great resource:
Teded square logo
Lesson Creator
New York, NY