Coral Reefs

Topics: Coral, Cnidaria, Coral reef Pages: 2 (501 words) Published: May 4, 2013
What are Coral Reefs?
Coral reefs are reefs consisted of coral consolidated into limestone. They are made of thin layers of calcium carbonate. Stony corals, or scleractinians, are the corals primarily responsible for laying the foundations of, and building up, reef structures. Immense reef structures are formed when each individual stony coral organism, or polyp, secretes a skeleton of calcium carbonate. How are corals classified?

Corals are classified as animals although they may resemble plants. In scientific classification, corals fall under the phylum cnidarian and the class Anthozoa. They are relatives of jellyfish and anemones. There are different types of corals that can be found in different habitats and locations around the world. Just as animals that live on land are endangered, coral reefs are also endangered. The status of coral reefs of the world: 2008 report states that the world has effectively lost 19% of its reefs with 35% threatened or at a critical stage. However, the report shoes that 45% if the remaining reefs are under no immediate threat of loss, except from the threats posed by climate change. Where are coral reefs found?

Corals are found throughout the oceans, from deep, cold waters to shallow, tropical waters. If all of the world’s shallow water was covered side-by-side with coral reefs, they would occupy an area a bit larger than the state of Texas. Coral reefs harbor more than ¼ of the ocean’s biodiversity. There aren’t any other ecosystems that occupy a limited area with more life forms, because of this, reefs are compared to rainforests. Shallow coral reefs grow better at warm temperatures. In lower temperatures, the growth of coral reefs is relatively slower. Reef building corals usually prefer clear and shallow water where sunlight enters through to their symbiotic algae. Different types of coral reefs such as mesophotic coral ecosystems are light dependent corals and associated communities found at water depths where...
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