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Global Distribution of Coral Reefs

Warm-water coral reefs are the most biodiverse of marine habitats and the most important ecosystem engineers found in the marine environment. Most of this diversity is not due to the corals themselves but rather due to the multitude of organisms that depend on the coral reef ecosystem. This dataset shows the global distribution of coral reefs in tropical and subtropical regions. It is the most comprehensive global dataset of warm-water coral reefs to date, acting as a foundation baseline map for future, more detailed, work.

RCoE Action:

UNEP-WCMC, WorldFish Centre, WRI, TNC (2021). Global distribution of coral reefs, compiled from multiple sources including the Millennium Coral Reef Mapping Project. Version 4.1, updated by UNEP-WCMC. Includes contributions from IMaRS-USF and IRD (2005), IMaRS-USF (2005) and Spalding et al. (2001). Cambridge (UK): UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Data DOI:


Version 4.1 (March 2021) While having global coverage, the dataset was compiled from multiple sources with varying scale and quality. The dataset has yet to undergo external review. For more information, consult

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