- coral is a small marine animal that stays in one place for their entire adult life.
- they produce a hard outside skeleton that is made of limestone.
- they are related to sea anemones.
- coral can be different from sea anemones in their production of mineral skeleton.
- both coral and sea anemones share the same structure which includes the polyp.
- a single individual coral is know as a polyp.
- thousands of polyps live together to form a coral colony.
- the polyp is similar to a tin can, open at one end and the other end has a mouth surrounded by tentacles.
- the tentacles have stinging cells that will let the polyp of the coral capture small organisms that come to close.
- inside of the corals polyp is a digestive and reproduction tissues.
- coral can come in many different shapes,sizes and colors.
- many coral reefs look like beautiful underwater gardens.
- zooxanthellae provides coral with most of the color in coral.
- coral is very colorful underwater but the color will fade shortly after it is taken out of the water.
- the brain of the coral is almost spherical that makes it look like the human brain.
- there are many different species of stony coral, turtles, fish, mollusks, and sponges in reefs.
- these features add incredible value as a wildlife habitat.
- coral reefs are home to one fourth of all marine life on earth.
- the variety of the life here rivals the amazon and new guinea.
- all the reefs found in the world take up less that one percent of the sea floor.
- all coral reefs in the world add up to about the size of France.
- due to corals relationship with algae reefs mainly occur in shallow water where sunlight can reach it.
- scientist mainly group coral reefs into three main categories.
- the three main categories are fringing, barrier, and atoll reefs.
- fringing reefs grow across from a shore with no lagoon in between.
- in fringing reefs there may be a few sandy bottoms before there is a reef.
- a barrier reef is a linear reef that is parallel to shore but is separated by a lagoon
- an atoll is an almost circular reef system surrounded by a larger deeper lagoon.
- the coral reef food web is similar to the other higher diverse biological communities that is very complex.
- the coral reef food web can be put into five trophic levels.
- most complex webs like the coral reef consist of 3-4 trophic levels.
- the producer trophic level consist of mainly plants, algae, and bacteria.
- the primary consumer level consist of herbivorous that include invertebrates and fish.
- the secondary consumer level is carnivorous that feed on other animals.
- coral reefs are found in three of Earths oceans.
- they can be found in tropical oceans like the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Indian oceans.
- the need for light is due to each corals dependence upon their photosynthesis partner.
- most photosynthesis coral needs is mostly within the uppermost 100 to 200 feet into the sea.
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