Coral Reefs and their Marine Families
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Coral Reefs and their Marine Families Reef IQ. New Vocabulary. New vocabulary will be highlighted in green. Please write down each new word for review at the end of the class. polyps algae ecosystem habitat zooxanthellae tentacles. Introduction to Coral Reefs.

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New Vocabulary

New vocabulary will be highlighted in green. Please write down each new word for review at the end of the class.

polyps algae

ecosystem habitat

zooxanthellae tentacles


Introduction to coral reefs
Introduction to Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are amazing, natural wonders that live in the warm waters of the tropics, providing habitat for thousands of marine creatures.



Coral is an ANIMAL!

The coralpolypslive inside here

  • Coral is actually an animal.

  • They live attached to the sea floor.

  • They are the builders of the reef!

  • A single coral animal is called a coralpolyp.

  • The coral polyps live together in colonies.


Tiny, little animals!

Polyps Inside

Polyps Outside!


What do they eat?

  • To get energy to build the coral reef the corals need to eat.

  • The polyps use theirtentaclesto catch tiny animalsthat float in the water calledzooplankton.

  • But corals get MOST of their food from marine plants that actually live inside the coral!

A coral polyp


What do they eat?

  • A microscopic type of algae calledzooxanthellaeactually live inside corals, just under their skin.

  • Corals aresolar-poweredjust like trees on land. The algae that live inside the coral soak up the sun all day - just like sunbathers on the beach.

A coral polyp


Coral polyp

Coral colony

Zooxanthellae

Corals

Coral Reef


Interesting Coral Reef Facts

  • The Great Barrier Reef is the largest system in the world and can be seen from outer space.

  • Corals produce a hard skeleton that forms the actual structure of the reef.

  • Coral reefs have the second highest biodiversity after rainforests.


Why are coral reefs important?

  • Habitat:They are home to 33% of all known fish species.

  • Nursery: And a nursery ground for over 25% of all marine species.

Photo by MacGillivray Freeman Films

Photo by J. Randall

Photo by Dee Wescott


Why are coral reefs important?

  • Food: they are a food source for millions of people.

  • Tourism: coral reefs attract tourists from all over the world.

  • Income: they provide millions of dollars of income annually for people living by coral reefs.

  • Medical Research: coral reefs have the potential to be used as medical cures to treat cancer, heart disease, HIV and arthritis among others.

  • Protection: they protect 20% of the world’s coast from wave erosion.


What is a healthy environment for coral reefs?

  • Sunlight

  • A certainsalinity

  • Low nutrient, clear water

  • Water temperature 18-29 ºC

  • Water circulation

Photo by MacGillivray Freeman Films


What are the man made threats to coral reefs
What are the man-made threats to coral reefs?

  • Global warming leading to coral bleaching.

  • Runoff of chemicals and nutrients from land

  • Sedimentation.

  • Rubbish including marine debris

  • Overfishing

  • Physical damage from tourists and fishermen

  • Pollution from untreated sewage and oil.

An example of coral bleaching.


What plants live on coral reefs?

Algae - lots of different types!










What animals live on coral reefs?

Damselfish including

Clownfish, like Nemo!







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