By: Tyler Reinert

Location and climate

Generally coral reefs are found in tropic waters found bordering the equator. The coral is bound to these tropic to semi-tropic waters because the coral cannot survive in water temperatures lower than 64 degrees Fahrenheit, 16 Celsius. Coral reefs also need very salty waters ranging from 32-42 parts per thousand. The water also must be extremely clear in order for the light to be able to penetrate the water and reach the plants. The average rainfall for coral reefs are 80 in a year, with February being the wettest season.

Plant and Animal adaptations

In the coral reef system there are many exotic colors as well as structures. Camouflage comes in key for prey fish that take cover in the coral structure. Another adaptation for fish is defensive weapons. For example, the lion fish has poisonous barbs that prevent many predators from consuming them. Some coral have also developed poison to see away predators. On the other hand, some predators such as sharks, eels, frogfish, grouper, and frogfish have the adaptation to be able to consume and digest the poison in things such as poisonous barbs. Coral fish also have adapted to the structure and overtime developed a pancake form of body to be able to maneuver through the nooks and crannies. Along with flattening the pectoral fin and the pelvic fins have switched places to allow easy moment through structure. A huge adaptation that plants have developed are enlarged cells allowing extra sunlight to be captured. The plants have also made many symbiotic relationships allowing other advantages.

organisms in the enviriment

Coral reefs have a great biodiversity, with multitudes of different species. They have producers which include phytoplankton, seaweed, and sea grasses. The primary consumers consist of mainly zooplankton, coral polyps, sponges, mollusks and small fish. Then the secondary consumers consist of large reef fish, sea turtles, and lobsters. Finally the tertiary consumer is the reef shark.

Coral reef threats

One of the biggest problems for the coral reefs is the rise in temperature in the waters. With the increased temperature, the coral loose their symbiotic relationship with microalgae and become bleached, or white. After the bleaching, the corals eventually die off, this problem has left the 75% of the remaining coral reefs in danger. The other prominent threat to coral reefs is ocean acidity. The C02 is captured by the ocean and creates a more acidic environment. Scientists state that the oceans acidity has increased by 25% over the past 200 years. With the acidity so high, it eats away the coral, and makes it extremely difficult to grow. If the acidity is no prevented form increasing, we may no longer have coral reefs.