NOAA 2002-126
Contact: Patricia Viets
NOAA News Releases 2002
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A new Internet site designed as a single point of access for information on coral reefs is now online, the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today.

The site, the Coral Reef Information System, or CoRIS, provides data and information derived from NOAA programs and projects. The site provides access to 19,000 aerial photos, 400 preview navigational charts, tide stations, paleoclimatological studies, photo mosaics, coral reef monitoring, bleaching reports, and other information. Before CoRIS, users faced an array of more than 50 NOAA coral reef Web sites.

CoRIS, backed by powerful search engines, offers a Web-enabled, GIS-enhanced, state-of-the-art information system using a single Web portal to gain easy access to NOAA’s coral reef resources. By cataloging and indexing metadata summarizing the actual data holdings, CoRIS easily guides the user to the desired data and information. CoRIS supports NOAA’s activities on the National Coral Reef Task Force and NOAA’s implementation of the National Action Plan to Conserve Coral Reefs.

Corals are ancient animals that date back 400 million years. Over the past 25 million years they have evolved into modern reef-building forms. Coral reefs are one of the most diverse habitats in the world and are considered the largest structures on Earth of biological origin, rivaling old-growth forests in their longevity. Reefs can be many hundreds of years old. Reefs provide important protection for coastal communities from storms, wave damage and erosion, as well as homes and nurseries for almost a million species of plants, animals and other organisms, including many that we rely on for food.

Corals are now a cross-cutting theme throughout NOAA, and the recent “National Action Plan to Conserve Coral Reefs” calls on NOAA and its Coral Reef Task Force partners to reduce or eliminate the most destructive human-derived threats to coral reefs. The plan describes nine long-range, far-reaching strategies to address these threats:

  • Expand and strengthen the network of coral reef marine protected areas and reserves;
  • Reduce the adverse impacts of extractive uses such as overfishing;
  • Reduce habitat destruction;
  • Reduce pollution such as marine debris;
  • Restore damaged reefs;
  • Reduce global threats to reefs;
  • Reduce impacts of international trade of coral reef resources;
  • Improve interagency accountability and coordination; and
  • Inform the public.

The Coral Reef Information System Web site (CoRIS) is located at:

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