Coral Reefs

The Rain Forest of the Sea

Description

Corals secrete a hard exoskeleton on the sea floor. These are mostly found in shallow, warm, and sunny waters of the sea. The waters here also very clear. Some of these coral reefs are located off the coast of Hawaii, South America, and also in the red sea. The largest coral reef in all the oceans is called the Great Coral Reef just off the coast of Australia.
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Biotic/Abiotic factors

Biotic factor- the living components of an ecosystem

Abiotic factor- non-living chemical and physical parts of the environment that affect living organisms and the functioning of ecosystems


There are many of these factors in this ecosystem. Here are some examples:

Biotic- Squid, crab, seaweed, algae, coral and shrimp

Abiotic- Sand, oxygen, light, water and temperature

Producer, Consumer, or Decomposer?

Producer- are organisms that can make their own energy through biochemical process, which are just processes in living things that involve chemical reactions

Consumer- an organism, usually an animal, that feeds on plants or other animals

Decomposer- an organism, usually a bacterium or fungus, that breaks down the cells of dead plants and animals into simpler substances


Here are some examples of these essential parts of an ecosystem:

Producer- blue green algae, sea grass, brown algae, phytoplankton, and zooxanthelle

Consumers- sponges, trigger fish, lobsters, sea turtles, and reef sharks

Decomposers- fan worms, sea cucumbers, snails, crabs, and bacteria

Relationships in Ecosystems

Coexistence- 1) The living together of two species (or organisms) in the same habitat, such that neither tends to be eliminated by the other 2) An example of this in a coral reef is how many reef fish live together without knocking the other out of existence.

Cooperation- 1) Mutually beneficial interaction among organisms living in a limited area 2) Remoras or "sucker fish" stick onto manta rays who provide the remoras with safety. They clean when on the manta rays.

Competition- 1) An interaction between two (or more) organisms (or species), in which, for each, the birth and/or growth rates are depressed and/or the death rate increased by the other organisms 2) Macroalgea and coral competes for space in coral reefs.

Parasitism- 1) A relationship between two things in which one of them (the parasite) benefits from or lives off of the other 2) An example of this is the monogenea which attaches itself to fiddlier rays.

Mutualism- 1) The way two organisms of different species exist in a relationship in which each individual benefits from the activity of the other 2) An example of this is when the orange coral crab feeds of of coral while protecting the coral from other animals.

Cycles in the Coral Reefs

Water Cycle- The reefs are usually shallow. The water evaporates off of the surface of the water to become clouds. The water will then condense and fall as precipitation either over the ocean or the land. It will find its way back through run-off.


Carbon Cycle- Carbon in the atmosphere comes to the seaweed and algae through photosynthesis. The water actually absorbs the carbon ,but when to much, acidification occurs. This causes corals to build up incorrectly.


Nitrogen Cycle- Nitrogen gas is in the air but through bacteria (decomposer) it gets into the sand. The coral and seaweed take in this sand and the producers later get eaten by fish. The fish's waste falls onto the ocean floor onto the sand where nitrogen is returned. The cycle will start again.

Coral reefs are beautiful and we need to help preserve them!