Casual destruction of coral reefs - for everything from jewelry to easy fishing - could be suffocating our oceans. We don't know what such a loss would mean because scientists are still learning how coral functions in our oceans and are only now realizing that coral reefs could provide answers for treatments of diseases such as arthritis and cancer.
We don't know how many marine species could survive without coral. We don't even know how many species of coral exist. We are now only beginning to realize that the loss of reefs is a global crisis with coral bleaching and depletion of reef fisheries now widespread.