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The Most Beautiful Coral Reefs (PHOTOS)

Huffington Post     First Posted: 06/23/10 06:12 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 05:05 PM ET

Coral reefs are the rainforests of our oceans, providing a home for 25% of all marine life. Coral polyps create calcium carbonate to build the reefs as their shelter, preferring sunny, shallow, and clear water.

A recent ship accident, spilling oil in the Great Barrier Reef, is a reminder of just one of the many threats we pose to these delicate and vital ecosystems.

Have a look at the world's most beautiful coral reefs, and vote for your favorite!

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  • Brazil

    Sun corals near Arraial do Cabo, Brazil.

  • Australia

    A coral reef pinnacle in Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world.

  • Indonesia

    Corals near the Komodo Islands, Indonesia.

  • Truk Lagoon

    Corals growing on the mast of the Sankisan Maru, one of the many ships sunk in Truk Lagoon of the central Pacific. During World War II, American forces launched an <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truk_Lagoon#World_War_II" target="_hplink">attack</a> against the Japanese forces at Truk Lagoon, sending 60 ships and 275 airplanes to the bottom of the ocean.

  • Saudi Arabia

    Fish swim among the coral reef off the coast of Saudi Arabia.

  • Belize

    The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest coral reef system in the world, stretching from Mexico, along the coast of Belize, to the Bay Islands of Honduras.

  • Egypt

    Fish swimming in the Red Sea's coral gardens of Abu Talha, near Dahab, Egypt.

  • Venezuela

    A coral reef in the Los Roques archipelago off the coast of Venezuela.

  • Papua New Guinea

    A blue starfish lounges among the corals in Kimbe Bay, off the coast of Papua New Guinea's New Britain island.

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