Patch reefs are small reefs that are found within lagoons, bays, or other sheltered areas. Patch reefs are usually found close to the shore and are often associated with mangroves and seagrass beds.
Patch reefs are formed when coral grows on top of an older, submerged reef or on the edge of a continental shelf. Over time, the coral builds up, creating a small, isolated reef. Patch reefs are typically smaller and less stable than larger coral reefs, and they are more vulnerable to changes in their environment.
Patch reefs support a diverse community of plants and animals, including coral, fish, invertebrates, and other marine life. They also provide a range of ecological and economic benefits, such as protecting coastlines from erosion, supporting local economies through tourism and fishing, and playing a role in global climate regulation. However, like all coral reefs, patch reefs are facing many challenges, including climate change, pollution, and overfishing, which threaten their survival and the ecosystems they support.
Patch reefs are found in tropical and subtropical waters around the world, including the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Indian Ocean.