Anthozoans provide a number of values for human beings. Coral reefs are major tourist attractions and also provide a habitat for fish, mollusks, urchins, and crustaceans that serve as food for people (France 2004). Anthozoans are used in the aquarium trade, to make coral jewelry, and scleractinian skeletons are even used as building materials and in bone grafts (France 2004). Ecologically, anthozoans play major roles not only in marine food chains, but in the case of corals, in providing a habitat for many marine organisms. These values, for humans and for the ecosystem, reflect the principle that taxonomic groups not only advance their own individual functions (survival, reproduction, development, self-maintenance), but also larger functions.
Despite these values, various human activities (fishing, development, marine pollution) have had negative effects on coral reefs, with more than half of the world's coral reefs considered to be threatened (France 2004). Fortunately, human beings are now working collectively to stop the degradation and reverse the damage to coral reefs, although such measures may often not be heeded in the fact of economic self-interest from exploitation of these environments.