Coral Reefs

Quentin Moore

The Basics:

  • Coral organisms are animals and not plants.
  • Corals have a limestone skeleton (some have a calcium skeleton).
  • Color reefs grow over hundreds and hundreds or years (the most they can grow over a year is six inches).
  • Corals reproduce asexually.

Corals and Zooxanthellae

  • The algae zooxanthellae give coral organisms their wild hues.
  • Zooxanthellae provide nutrients for coral organisms through photosynthesis.

Abiotic Factors and Coral Organisms:

  • Coral Reefs stay close to the surface so that they can get sunlight for the algae that they house.
  • Corals cannot tolerate temperatures below 64 degrees Fahrenheit (corals are very sensitive to temperature changes).
  • No specie of coral organisms have been found to develop in water deeper 70 meter, with most corals growing in waters less than 25 meters.
  • Coral organisms require very saline (containing a lot of salt) water ranging from 32 to 42 parts per thousand.

Coral Reefs and Ecosystems:

  • Coral Reefs provide shelter for a wide variety of marine life.
  • Corals create sand for beaches and serve as a buffer for beaches.
  • Coral organisms turn excess carbon dioxide into limestone.
  • Trophic levels in a coral reef range from primary producers such as phytoplankton at the bottom of the food web (or energy pyramid) to mega fauna such as sharks at the top of the food web.
  • Coral reefs provide a wide variety of sea animals shelter.

What's Great about Coral Reefs:

  • As stated before, coral reefs provide shelter for numerous marine life (like zooxanthellae).
  • Coral Reefs provide tourism and recreation for many people annually.
  • Coral reefs can be used to produce medicine, this is beneficial to many people around the world.

What's Threatening Coral Organisms:

  • When it gets too hot or cold, or there is too much sunlight, or there is not enough sunlight , coral bleaching occurs.
  • Toxic materials can cause coral organisms to become ill.
  • Some disease that afflict coral organisms include: white pox, white band, black band, and many other diseases.
  • Things like El Nino cause shifts in temperature which can lead to coral organisms developing diseases.
  • Over-fishing and over-harvesting of coral reefs by humans.

Coral Bleaching