The coral reef of the Florida Keys stretches 358 miles from the Dry Tortugas National Park to the St. Lucie Inlet in Martin County. There are three major types of coral reefs around the world. These are atolls, fringing reefs, and barrier reefs. The reef here in the Florida Keys closely resembles a barrier reef, however the reefs are closer to shore and they lack the shallow inshore lagoons found on most barrier reefs so it is more aptly named a “bank reef.” Coral Reefs are the most diverse communities on the planet. These tropical marine communities occupy less than 1% of the ocean floor, but are inhabited by at least 25% of all marine species.
*Life saving medicines such as anticoagulants, and anticancer agents such as prostaglandins come from the coral reefs.