Picture this: huge cities underwater, populated by scores of amazing creatures, animated vegetation and pretty fish. Now picture these cities vanishing.

Welcome to coral reefs. Currently endangered in several parts of the world, they face a serious threat of damage or even extinction by 2050.

Increasing water temperatures thanks to climate change is extremely harmful for them, and the future looks grim with coral bleaching on the rise. The phenomenon affects their ability to survive and can kill coral colonies mercilessly. Pollution, over-fishing and over-harvesting aren’t helping either.

Coral reefs are incredibly diverse eco-systems on our planet. Scientists reckon that there could be millions of sea-creatures we don’t even know about yet who probably live in and around the reefs.

They play a major role when it comes to protecting shorelines and act as natural water filtration systems. They also contribute greatly to tourism, with some experts extimating their value in hundreds of billions of dollars.

Because of their incredible bio-diversity, they present possibilities for us to discover life-saving advancements in medicine.