Aubrey Laity & Leah Conrad
The spiral wire coral is one of 16 species of Cirrhipathes. They come in multiple color combinations, but they're most likely to be found sporting a red to yellow range with a good likelihood of blues and grays. Wire corals are carnivorous and eat small foods like baby brine, cyclop-eeze, fish eggs, rotifers, and other zooplanktons.
The banded coral shrimp, or stenopus hispidus, is the largest known cleaner shrimp that lives in shallow tropical waters. They mate for life, and mating only takes place when the female is in her vulnerable ecdysis molting phase. They have no natural predators, but are very territorial with other shrimp. Banded coral shrimp are also known as barber pole shrimp or coral banded shrimp.
This squid is commonly found in the shallow waters surrounding the Caribbean. While they're often confused with cuttlefish, it's only they have large fins that wrap around their mantles and they're broader than most other squids. On a typical day, this squid eats between 30-60% of its body weight. It catches its prey with the ends of its tentacles, then brings it to its beak where it cuts it into smaller pieces, then the tongue, or radula, eats it. Mostly, it eats small fish, molluscs, and crustaceans. To communicate, Carribean Reef Squid will change the color of their skin.
The Giant Clam, or tridacna gigas, is an invertabrate and carnivore that lives in the coral reef. Once it finds a home, it'll stay in the same place until it's death, which can be over one hundred years. They're capable of reaching four feet in length and being five hundred pounds! They are mostly found in the warm waters in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean areas.
A sea urchin is a spiny, omnivorous, hard shelled animal. They live on the sea floor, and there's about 700 different species! They eat plant and animal matter like kelp, algae, dead fish, sponges, mussels, and barnacles. Many have venomous spines, though they're still prey for crabs, snails, sea otters, and sunflower stars. The biggest sea urchin, named the 'red sea urchin' is about 7 inches in diameter.
Seagrass is found in shallow sheltered marine and estuarine waters. When found in large quanties, they form seagrass meadows which are extremely important for the life under the sea. These meadows provide homes to fish, invertebrate animals. marine reptiles, and mammals. Also, they're used as feeding, breeding, and nursery areas.
Sea lettuce is a type of green algae, also known as 'ulva lactuca." It's an edible type of alage, and the blades can grow to over sixteen inches long if in the right conditions! Most are somewhere between light and dark green in color. Sea lettuce is eaten by manatees, sea slugs, and people all across the world.
Zooxanthellae lives in the tissue of corals in a mutualistic relationship. Coral gives algae a protected environment and compounds for photosynthesis. The zooxanthellae then produces oxygen and helps the coral remove wastes.
Algae is a collection of tiny plants, which can be microscopic, that don't have roots, stems, or leaves. It's a source of food for small fish and invertebrate sea life, and it's a major help in making reefs bigger. Australia's Great Barrier Reef has about five hundred species of marine algae, which includes sea lettuce, sea grapes, and red algae.
Sargassum is a type of brown seaweed and algae that's found in warm shallow water and coral reefs. It can grow to several meters long, and it's generally brown or dark green in color. Many have a sticky rough texture along with a flexible body that help it withstand strong water currents.
Climate and Climograph
Annual Temperature Range
Annual Rainfall Amounts
Special Landmarks and Features
At the bottom of the food web are some main photosynthetic organisms. They are algae, plants, cyanobacteria, and bacteria. Above them are the herbivores, which are many invertebrates and some fish. The most important are parrot fish, surgeon fish, rabbit fish, rudder fish, and damsel fish. Some lager herbivores are sea turtles, manatees, and dugongs. Then, at the top of the food chain are the carnivores, which eat mostly zooplankton and other animal members of the community. The most notable carnivores are barracuda, sharks, large seabasses, trumpet fish, and large snappers.
As the energy is transferred from layer to layer, it's only transferred with 10% left. Primary producers like phytoplankton and seaweed get energy from the sun. Then, it goes to the herbivorous consumers like zooplankton and cockies. After that, it goes to the first level carnivorous consumers like young fish and jellyfish, crustaceans, and sea stars. Next is thesecond level of carnivorous consumers, which is just larger fish. Towards the end is the third level of carnivorous consumers like squid. Finally, at the top of the energy chain are the top carnivores like sharks and dolphins.
How Human Activity has Impacted the Coral Reef
Why is the Coral Reef an Interesting Place?
2. Reefs that are noticable in size are between five and ten thousand years old! http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/top-25-coral-reef-facts.php
3. There's three types; barrier reefs, fringing reefs, and atolls. http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/top-25-coral-reef-facts.php
4. Reefs formed by corals are one of the most diverse marine areas on the Earth and they have thousands of species of everything living. The reason behind the diversity is the fact that reefs are an important location for finding food, mates, shelter, and places to reproduce. Reefs also act as safe homes for large fish species, therefore keeping them safe until they are large enough to go out into the deeper ocean. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/5-fascinating-facts-about-coral-reefs
5. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is so large that it can be seen from outer space! http://www.softschools.com/facts/biomes/coral_reef_biome_facts/168/