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Table of Contents Main articles: Formation of Coral Reefs---------- Page 3-Page 6 Coral Reef formation--------- Page 3 Coral Family-------------------- Page 4 Different Types of Coral------ Page 4 Different Areas of Coral------ Page 4-Page 5 Coral Living Conditions------ Page 5 Coral Polyp Reproduction--- Page 5-Page 6

Fish That Live in Coral Reefs and Why---------- Page 6-Page 7 Coral Reefs Diversity-------------------------- Page 6 Why Fish Favor Coral Reefs------------------ Page 7

Threats to Coral Reefs-------------- Page 7-Page 8 Natural Threats--------------- Page 7 Human Threats--------------- Page 7-Page 8 More Problems Mean Harder Recovery------- Page 8

The Wisdom of Dr. Seuss Excerpt from the Lorax

Fun Articles: Charming Beach Vacation, or Disgusting Catastrophe------------ Page 6 Coral Reef Scare---------------------------------------------------------- Page 7 World Coral Reef Shocker---------------------------------------------- Page 8


FORMATION OF CORAL REEFS Coral Reef Formation A coral Reef starts as one polyp that can be a few millimeters to a few centimeters long. When the polyp dies its skeleton (limestone) is left behind and other coral polyps will grow on it. When there are a lot of coral polyps in one place that makes colonies. Colonies are groups of coral polyps and are also commonly called coral. When there are a lot of colonies in one place that makes coral reefs. The polyp is just one being. Colonies are a lot of polyps that are clones of each other in one place. When there are many coral colonies in one place that makes coral reefs like the Great Barrier Reef.


Coral Family Coral polyps are related to jelly fish and sea anemone. Their family is called the cnidarians [nahy-dair-ee-uh n] which means stinging cells.

Different Types of Coral There are two different types of coral. There is hard coral and soft coral. Hard coral is considered hard because it has an external skeleton. Some examples of hard coral are brain coral, Elkhorn coral, and pillar coral. Soft coral is considered soft because it has an internal skeleton. Examples of soft coral are sea fans, sea whips, and sea rods. Soft coral is also sometimes called gorgonian coral. Hard coral can grow anywhere it wants because it is hard and can’t be destroyed as easily as soft coral and is more stable. Soft coral has to grow on something hard such as a rock or dead hard coral. It can’t grow on anything soft like and or other soft coral. It also can’t grow on living coral. Soft coral has to grow on something hard because it can be destroyed easier and is less stable than hard coral.

Different Areas of Coral There are two different areas of coral. There is sloping coral and coral flats. Sloping coral slopes down as it gets closer to the shoreline and coral flats just stay flat.

Coral Living Conditions 4

Coral reefs can only flourish in water warmer than 72 degrees Fahrenheit and in water deeper than 100 feet deep. Coral reefs manly lie in an area of water that is 30 o N to 30o S of the equator. Coral Reefs can live in other conditions, but these are the most common.

The red dots represent major coral reefs.

Coral Polyp Reproduction There are two ways coral polyps can reproduce. There’s budding and laying eggs. When a polyp buds a knoblike growth starts growing on them. Eventually the growth will get bigger and bigger. Then when it gets big enough it will part with the original and start to grow on a skeleton of a different polyp and start growing there. That is what makes colonies. The new polyp is the original polyps clone. There’s also laying eggs. The female will lay and egg and the male fertilizes it. When the polyp hatches from the egg it will swim away and start a new colony. The polyp that comes out of the egg is not a clone of its parents; it is a totally different being. The polyp that comes out of the egg will go off and start its own colony.

Charming Beach Vacation, or Disgusting Catastrophe? Have you ever been to a beach? Have you ever lain in white sand? The real question is what is white sand? The alarming truth is most white sand is parrot fish poop. Remember that 5

next time you go on a delightful beach vacation. Plus, don’t forget to tell your friends. But, you might want to wait until after they come back from vacation.

FISH THAT LIVE IN CORAL REEFS AND WHY Coral Reef Diversity Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world, one of them being the Great Barrier Reef. There are over 1,500 species of fish that live in the Great Barrier Reef. Some examples of fish that live in the Great Barrier Reef are parrot fish, sea turtles and anemone fish (also commonly called clown fish). There are also at least 330 species of ascidians that live on the Great Barrier Reef. Plus, there are 300-500 species of bryozoans that live on the Great Barrier Reef. Ascidians are sac-like, marine invertebrate, filter feeders. Bryozoans are small aquatic invertebrates.

Why Fish Favor Coral Reefs? Fish favor coral reefs over other reefs because there are so many ideal hiding places for little fish because coral reefs have so many nooks, crannies and overhangs. Plus, fish generally like to live where their born. Also, it is safer for fish to stay where they are because they know their surroundings. Predator fish know the fish they like to hunt and live by them.


Coral Reef Scare In the early 1960s there were large numbers of crown-of-thorn star fish that started to devour the reefs. The reef numbers slowly dropped until the crown-of-thorn star fish numbers started to decrease. It is with great joy I can say today that coral reefs are safe from overpopulated crown-of-thorn star fish destroying them.

THREATS TO CORAL REEFS Natural Threats Coral reefs are very old so therefore have withstood many natural threats such as, hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis, change of temperature, and fish that eat them. Coral reefs also protect the shoreline from the full onslaught of waves by taking the edge of the wave as it comes toward shore. This can erode the coral reef as it helps protect the shoreline from erosion.

Human Threats There are also many human threats coral reefs have to withstand; one example is chemicals that are washed into the ocean, which will smother the coral reefs. There is also the threat of dynamite. When used for fishing the shockwaves from the dynamite kill the coral. When used for the building on the shore the jolt of the dynamite breaks up the coral reefs. Fish getting taken can mess up the ecosystem. One example of this is the tropical fish trade. That takes exotic fish to sell. There is also sedimentation, which is the layers of waste that form over coral reefs. Global warming presents an additional problem that coral reefs may not recover from.

More Problems Mean Harder Recovery If there are more problems it makes it more difficult for coral reefs to recover. In other words it is harder for coral reefs to deal with sedimentation, chemicals, a hurricane, and earthquake, and global warming then just having to deal with some chemicals.

World Coral Reef Shocker


How many coral reefs has the world lost? The world has lost 27% of its coral reefs. At that rate just think of what could happen by 2012.

The Wisdom of Dr. Seuss Excerpt from the Lorax: “But now,” says the Once-ler, “Now that you’re here,” the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear. UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. BE THE ONE WHO CARES – HELP SAVE OUR CORAL REEFS!!


Coral Reef  

This article is a great all-in-one, coral reef, information source. It specializes in the Great Barrier Reef.

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