Interesting Facts about Coral Reefs

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Corals are a beautiful aspect of marine eco-system that occupy less than even one percent of the sea bed. They are tropical habitats which are inhabited by around twenty five percent of any other marine animal.

Coral reefs are sometimes termed as the tropical rainforest of the sea bed. Below presented are some more interesting facts about the coral reefs.

  • Corals are basically sea anemones and all the coral species have a simple polyp structure. It resembles a tin container with an opening in the end. The open mouth is surrounded by tentacles. They are able to capture small sea creatures with it.

  • The tentacles are provided with a stinging capability; the cells are known as nematocysts. Small sea animals that swim near a coral are captured by it. They have both reproductive as well as digestive tissues within the body polyp.

  • The corals, living in warm water, or shallow pools sometimes feed on zooxanthellae. These are which are uni-cellular algae and has the potential to photosynthesize. There exists a symbiotic relation where the coral provide the algae with necessary nutrition.

  • This is the reason shallow water corals take up rapid growth and soon form a huge structure known as a coral reef. The vibrant colours of a coral are also provided from this particular algae xanthellae.

  • The corals can be male, female or both male and female by nature; therefore, they have multiple reproductive capabilities. Asexual and sexual reproductions are the two main types of reproduction found in a coral. Asexual reproduction is faster and helps in rapid expansion of their colony. Sexual reproduction is necessary for genetic diversity.

  • In sexual reproduction of corals, the eggs of a female are fertilized with the help of sperms from male corals of other colony. There are internal and external, two types of sexual reproduction seen in corals.

  • Asexual reproduction in coral reefs occurs through either budding or fragmentation. Sometimes an entire region of coral breaks apart to form a new colony.

  • Coral reefs are said to be the oldest of the environmental remains that have existed over hundreds of years. The present day reefs have been there for the past 5,000 years. They now occupy about 600,000 square km of the tropical seas and oceans.

  • The tropical reefs are rich in calcium content. The polyps develop on a base of calcium carbonate. These are the stony colours which are very essential in reef construction. The expensive red and blue corals also have stony skeleton while flexible skeletons of some corals are also found which resembles rubber; these are the black corals.

  • A coral needs fresh, clean and warm water to survive with an ample supply of light. Therefore, they tend to stay in shallow pools where there is less nutrition alteration in the water.

Human activities of these days are a threat to the coral animals. Destructive fishing and excess fishing leads to water pollution which in turn changes the ocean chemistry making it difficult for the corals to survive. In some places, they have lost their glorious colours and are simply pale yellow aquatic structure.

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