Coral Reef By, Alex Hodges
Locations 1) Great Barrier Reef Length: 1,553 miles (2,500 km) Location: Coral Sea near Australia 2) Red Sea Coral Reef Length: 1,180 miles (1,900 km) Location: Red Sea near Israel, Egypt and Djibouti 3) New Caledonia Barrier Reef Length: 932 miles (1,500 km) Location: Pacific Ocean near New Caledonia
4) The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Length: 585 miles (943 km) Location: Atlantic Ocean near Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras 5) Florida Reef Length: 200 miles (322 km) Location: Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico near Florida 6) Andros Coral Reef Length: 124 miles (200 km) Location: Bahamas between the islands of Andros and Nassau 7) Zhongsha Islands Length: 50 miles (81 km) Location: South China Sea
8) Saya Del Malha Area: 15,444 square miles (40,000 sq km) Location: Indian Ocean 9) Great Chagos Bank Area: 4,633 square miles (12,000 sq km) Location: The Maldives 10) Reed Bank Area: 3,423 square miles (8,866 sq km) Location: South China Sea, claimed by the Philippines
Fun Facts Since 1975, more than 90% of the reefs in the Florida Keys have lost their living coral cover An estimated 88% of the reefs in Southeast Asia - the most species rich reefs on earth - are at risk An estimated 25% of coral reefs have already disappeared and an estimated two-thirds of all coral reefs are at risk today •Coral reefs cover less than 0.2% of our oceans but they contain 25% of the world's marine fish species! •Coral reefs are second only to rainforests in biodiversity of species.
Temperature There are different temperatures in different areas in the coral reefs. Coral reefs live in warm, shallow waters near land. Since they don't tend to live in waters colder than 18 degrees Celsius, coral reefs generally form in between 23 degrees north latitude and 23 degrees south latitude.In general though, most reefs are between 74F and 84F
Amount of Light They need a sufficient amount of sunlight. They can't live without sunlight with temperature below 18 degrees celcius. they need to be at most 250 ft. below the surface of the sea
salinity The salt concentration of the water must range between 35 and 38 parts per thousand, and the concentration of oxygen must remain high.
Endangered animals 1. dugong “sea cow” 2. sea turtle 3. blue whale 4. Coralliophila abbreviata, Elkhorn Coral Eating Snails 5. Yellowmouth Grouper, Mycteroperca interstitialis 6. Green Turtles in Bonaire, East Coast Dives in Bonaire
Endangered Plants A. Red Mangroves, Curacao Mangroves, Endangered B. Endangered Elkhorn Coral, Diving in Curacao, Corals C. Acropora cervicornis, Endangered Staghorn Corals D. End angered Elkhorn Coral/Species, Acropora Palmata E. Pillar Coral F. Crisp Pillow Coral
Nutrient Level Biologically available nitrogen (nitrate plus ammonia) needs to be below 1.0 micromole per liter (less than 0.014 parts per million of nitrogen), and biologically available phosphorus (orthophosphate plus dissolved organic phosphorus) needs to be below 0.1 micromole per liter (less than 0.003 parts per million of phosphorus). In addition concentrations of chlorophyll (in the microscopic plants called phytoplankton) needs to be below 0.5 parts per billion.
Common animals Clown Triggerfish(Balistoides conspicillum) The clown triggerfish is without a doubt the most beautiful member of the trigger family. The bright yellow mouth is believed to deter potential predators. As with most other triggers, the clown is an aggressive feeder, feeding mainly on crustaceans and mollusks. They use their strong jaws to crack open the shells of mollusks and crabs. Orange-green Triggerfish(Balistapus undulatus) The orange-green triggerfish is actually the most aggressive of all the trigger species. Their strong jaws can reduce the hard shells of stony corals to piles of sand. Their striking colors can vary quite considerably. Indian ocean variants have orange tails while Pacific Ocean versions can have orange-rayed fins. They grow to a length of about 12 inches.
Black Triggerfish(Odonus niger) The black triggerfish is one of the less aggressive trigger species. Because of this they usually make good additions to the home aquarium. They have red teeth, and their color can actually vary from blue to green from day to day. As with most triggers, they eat mollusks and crustaceans and it is not recommended to mix them with invertebrates in the aquarium. Falco Hawkfish(Cirrhitichtys falco) Hawkfishes are a group of coral reef fishes that have a peculiar habit of resting or perching on corals and rocks as they wait for their prey. They feed on shrimps and small fish. They are not very good swimmers, and their comic antics make them an enjoyable addition to the home aquarium. This species is characterized by the vertical red stripes, which help with camouflage.
Common Plants Pineapple Coral(Montastrea cavernosa) The pineapple coral is a species whose small polyps form flat, honeycomb patterns. The colony as a whole forms a large dome-shaped structure. The polyps are usually green or brown, but can also be found in red or orange. They feed at night by extending their delicate, translucent tentacles. Staghorn Coral(Oxycirrhites typus) The staghorn coral is a hard coral species that forms a branching structure resembling the horns of stag deer. The colonies are usually golden-brown with pale tips, but can also range from blue to pink, purple, orange, green, and yellow. This coral is common throughout Caribbean region.
Brain Coral(Diploria strigosa) There are several varieties of brain corals found throughout the world. The all get their name from the brain-like ridges that cross their surface. The smooth brain coral grows in a large dome-shaped structure about 4 feet in diameter. It is a common species in the Caribbean from Florida to the Bahamas. Torch Coral(Caulastrea furcata) The torch coral is a beautifully colored species with a candy-like appearance. In fact it is also known as the candycane coral. The polyps are brown with yellow stripes, and their insides are neon green. They are often found in small, tight clusters. This coral is nocturnal. It extends its delicate tentacles to feed at night.
Human interaction Pollution Pollution that occurs at sea, such as oil spills, negatively affects coral reefs. However, a less dramatic but more damaging form of pollution is continuing industrial run-off from the land. Fertilizers and pesticides used in farming practices get washed into the sea and cause algae to flourish. Climate Change The higher temperatures and increased ultraviolet radiation caused by greenhouse gases depleting the ozone layer has had a significant impact on coral reefs. Corals live in a symbiotic relationship with a certain algae called zooxanthellae, which live inside the corals and assist in providing nutrients and aiding photosynthesis, both of which the coral needs in order to grow. Climate change has hindered the growth of this algae, meaning coral has been less able to reproduce and grow.