A fringing reef is one of the three main types of coral reefs recognized by most coral reef scientists. It is distinguished from the other two main types (barrier reefs and atolls) in that it has either an entirely shallow backreef zone (lagoon) or none at all. If a fringing reef grows directly from the shoreline (see photo, right) the reef flat extends right to the beach and there is no backreef. In other cases (e.g., most of The Bahamas), fringing reefs may grow hundreds of yards from shore and contain extensive backreef areas with numerous seagrass meadows and patch reefs.
This type of coral reef is the most common type of reef found in the Caribbean and Red Sea. Darwin believed that fringing reefs are the first kind of reefs to form around a landmass in a long-term reef growth process.
Famous quotes containing the word reef:
“Striking his former happiness against the reef of justice he has perished unwept for and unseen.”
—Aeschylus (525456 B.C.)