Sea levels are rising and tropical cyclones are intensifying, bad news for 200 million people who live along Earth’s coasts. If only there was a sea creature to build and maintain giant barriers to soften the ocean’s fury. There is, corals, animals built for absorbing the blow of incoming waves. Mother Nature Network reported on these vital ecological construction crews. Coral reefs reduce a wave’s energy by up to 97 percent, they present a natural solution to a man-made problem. The median cost for building an artificial breakwater is $19,791 per meter, while the median cost for coral-reef restoration projects is about $1,290 per meter. "Our national economies are normally only valued by how much we take from nature," said Beck (who was also the lead author on this new study). "For the first time, we can now value what every national economy gains in flood savings by conserving its coral reefs every year."
Michael Beck, lead marine scientist for the Nature Conservancy and a co-author of the 2014 study. There are many reasons for optimism about the future of coral reefs, particularly if manage pollution and development.