"The Rainforest of the Sea"
What is a Coral Reef?
Where can Coral Reefs be found?
The distribution of coral reefs is determined by the ecological requirements of the reef-building corals themselves. Animals that contribute to the formation of coral reefs live in clear, shallow ocean waters. Coral reefs are usually found at a depth of less than 150 feet.
What do Coral Reefs do?
Plant and Animal Life
Some plants and animals that are located in coral reefs are zooxanthellae, algae, seagrasses, conch, lobster, sea turtles, fish, mollusks, and sponges (to name a few).
Biotic and Abiotic Factors
living coral polyps
tiny, soft-bodied organisms related to sea anemones and jellyfish
attaches self to rock on sea floor then divides/buds into thousands of clones
creates a colony and over time become reefs
decomposer of ecosystem→ break down dead organic matter
Abiotic - (Abiotic factors are non-living factors that influence ecosystems such as temperature, light and available nutrients)
thrive in water temp of 77-84℉ (25-29℃)
important for coral reefs because zooxanthellae algae (photosynthesizes) produces food for coral through its byproducts
survive only in clear water w/o much sediment; light can breach surface of water
water low in nutrients
Anthropogenic Impact (Positive and Negative)
Coral reef ecosystems are important for many reasons.
They remove and recycle carbon dioxide, which is a gas that contributes to global warming.
Reefs protect land from harsh weather by absorbing the impact from strong waves and storms.
Reefs provide food, for example, lobster and conch.
Coral reefs are a big source of biodiversity. Without the reef, many of these plants and animals would die.
destruction of coral reefs
estimated loss of 10% of world’s reefs
in the next 50 years, most of the coral reefs on Earth will be gone
human activity→ pollution, sewage, erosion, irresponsible fishing, poor tourism practices, global warming
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