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Coral Reefs

Experience the sea's most colorful and diverse ecosystem.



What: Divers in the Water

Where: Pacific Coral Reef

When: 10:30 a.m.
(Times may vary based on staff availability.)

Atlantic Coral Reef

The Flower Garden Banks reefs are the most northerly of the well-developed coral reef communities in the Gulf of Mexico. They sit atop salt domes near the edge of the sandy continental shelf. These reefs are bathed year-round by warm, clear ocean currents.

Like coral reefs around the world, the Flower Gardens are vulnerable to pollution, over-fishing, over-collecting, oil spills and damage caused by anchors. Flower Garden Banks is a National Marine Sanctuary.

Pacific Coral Reef

The Aquarium's walk-through exhibit is full of colorful new fish! More than 200 fish from 75 different species are swimming in the bright Pacific Coral Reef. (The eels and groupers moved to the Shark Tank.)

The exhibit opened on April 12.

As Diverse as a Rain Forest

Coral reefs support one-third of the world’s fish species. Reef fish have unique adaptations. Triggerfish raise their dorsal fins to lock into narrow crevices and escape predators. Butterflyfish attract mates with unique colors and patterns.

What's Hard as a Rock and Soft as Jelly?

Corals! Soft-bodied animals called polyps leave behind calcium carbonate skeletons when they die. New generations of polyps build above these remains. Eventually, magnificent coral reefs form.

Funded by Nuture Your Love of Nature

This exhibit was funded by the New Mexico BioPark Society, thanks in large part to a contribution from the Frank D. Gorham, Jr. and Marie Kelly Gorham Charitable Foundation. The exhibit transformation is part of NMBPS’s “Nuture Your Love of Nature” Capital Campaign.