Coral reefs are the most diverse and complex communities in the marine environment. Hermatypic corals play a key role in forming the structure of coral reefs and providing substrate and shelter for a wide variety of organisms. Acute damage to corals may result in a collapse of the complex community of organisms, which live in close association with the corals. Concern for damaging effects of oil pollution on coral-reef communities is currently growing. For example, even before any incidents occurred in the Great Barrier Reef, oil-exploration permits were suspended and two Royal Commissions of inquiry into the effects of oil drilling on these reefs were convened.
This paper reviews our present knowledge on oil- pollution effects on coral reefs.
This full paper can be found here. (thanks Mike!)