A coral reef is a living oasis where spectacular sea life thrives. But this complex community is threatened by changing ocean chemistry, warmer seas, siltation, coastal development, damage from vessels and collection by the curio and aquarium trade.

Coral reef with green damsel, leather coral and tomato clownfish

Living corals are part of our exhibits, including Splash Zone, and we strive to minimize impacts on wild coral populations by growing them ourselves or obtaining them from illegal shipments confiscated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

We've learned a lot about how to keep captive corals healthy through precise use of light (for photosynthesis) and food (plankton). Our aquarists also try to mimic relationships that exist in the wild, keeping everything in balance.

We've also worked with the SECORE Foundation, one of the leading coral conservation initiatives of scientists and aquarium professionals from around the world, to help develop new techniques for large-scale coral reef restoration. In 2014, our aquarists collaborated with other international institutions in "Project Guam," which focused on restoring and protecting coral species local to the island that were weakened by coral bleaching and diseases.