Coral is a marine animal. It stays in one place it's whole life. They are made of a hard skeleton made of calcium carbonate or limestone. Corals grow in colonies. These colonies are called coral reefs. The largest coral reef in the world is The Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is of the coast of Australia. Coral is related to jellyfish and anemones. Reef can look like beautiful underwater gardens. The worlds first coral reef formed about 500 million years ago. The Great Barrier Reef is about 10,000 years old. The Great Barrier Reef is about 1,250 miles long.
Coral reefs are full of marine animals. Many specie of fish and other animals make their homes on or around coral. Reefs are where many creatures choose to spawn. But corals are animals to. Coral reefs are made up of millions of tiny fragile animals. Corals are animals that act like plants. In the Great Caribbean region alone there are 500 to 600 species of coral reef fish. Fish have adapted to living in coral reefs which is very different than living in open ocean. Many fish species that live in coral reefs have evolved thin, flattened bodies. One carnivore fish that live on a coral fish is a Trigger fish. There are tiny organism called Poyps that attach themselves to the reef. Coral reefs has more diversity in animal life than plant life.
Coral reefs only occur in shallow areas that can reach sunlight. Coral reefs can start on a shell of a sunken boat. They git their energy form the sun. Coral is found in tropical and subtropical oceans. Reefs need water temperature between sixty-eight to eighty-two degrees fahrenheit. Three major types of reefs are fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls reefs. Reefs developed in areas with a lot of wave action. There are thousands of species of coral.
Coral only makes up one percent of the ocean. The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space it's so big. Corals are not randomly scattered around, they have to be in perfect spot to grow. Corals thrive in warm water. Fringing reefs can be found along coast lines. Corals take a very long time to grow. Reefs protect land form harsh weather.
Coral reefs are experiencing a rapid decline in ecosystem health because of human activities. After coral dies there is a skeleton that stays there. The color of the coral fades when it dies or goes out of the water. The shape of coral helps scientists to identify it. In so many years all the coral on the Earth will be gone. Coral grows two centimeters. or less per year. Rising ocean temperature is responsible for coral bleaching.
Waves bring food ,nutrients ,and oxygen to reefs. Waves prevent sediment from falling on the reef. Coral reefs are naturally colorful because of algae. Coral reefs function like oases in a desert. Coral reefs are big tourist attractions. Coral eats plankton and other small creatures. Coral Poyps feed at night.
The Great Barrier Reef is made up of 900 smaller reefs. Reefs are very important to the fish industry. Corals can also be used to make make medication. Corals also help with improving surrounding water quality. Ocean benefits are world a lot. Soft coral like Sea Fans and Sea Whips are not reef builders.
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