Coral reefs have some of the highest productivity rates in the world because of their abundance of life. The average gross primary productivity of a coral reef system is 4200 (g C m-2 yr-1). A major portion of the primary productivity in the coral reef ecosystem is based on recycling of chemicals between algal symbionts and a variety of animal phyla. Coral reef communities are characterized by about six trophic levels and a disproportionate prevalence of predatory species, and much of the energy is lost in transfer among trophic levels rather than exported from the ecosystem. Coral reef ecosystems differ qualitatively and fundamentally from other ecosystems and the
appropriate management strategies for coral reef ecosystems must also differ from the traditional species-by-species management.