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The Coral Reef Biome

The Coral Reef Biome

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The Coral Reef Biome

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  1. The Coral Reef Biome A Look at a Marine Biome © Terri Street, 2002

  2. What Is a Coral Reef? • A structure formed by coral polyps, tiny animals that live in colonies. • Coral polyps form a hard, stony, branching structure made of limestone. • New polyps attach to old coral and gradually build the reef.

  3. Types of Coral Reefs • Fringing reefs • Submerged platforms of living coral extending from the shore into the sea • Barrier reefs • Follow the shore but are separated from it by water • Great Barrier Reef is world’s largest

  4. Types of Coral Reefs • Atolls • Ring-shaped islands of coral in open sea • Form on submerged mud banks or volcano craters • Surround a seawater lagoon • Channels connect lagoon to the sea

  5. = Coral Reef A World of Coral Reefs

  6. Coral Reef Climate • Usually found near land in shallow, warm salt water • Lots of light • Tropical temperatures, averaging 70°-85° F • Most coral cannot survive below 65° F

  7. Coral Reef Plants • Phytoplankton • Microscopic • Basis for all ocean food chains

  8. Coral Reef Plants • Algae • Green • Red • Brown algaetakes many forms

  9. Coral Reef Plants • Seaweed and Sea grasses • Brown seaweed • Sea grass • Shoal grass • Turtle grass

  10. Fascinating Fact: The Great Barrier Reef • World’s largest coral reef • Over 1257 mileslong • Off the northeast coast of Australia • Only grows about one inch per year

  11. The Great Barrier Reef: Home to… • 1500 species of fish • 400 different types of coral • 4,000 mollusks • 500 species of seaweed • 215 species of birds • 16 species of sea snake • 6 species of sea turtle • Whales visit during winter

  12. Coral Reef Creatures • Coral polyps • Tentacles • Digestivesac • Connectingfilaments • Skeletal body

  13. Coral Reef Creatures • Symbioticrelationships • Coral with algae • Clown fish with sea anemones

  14. Coral Reef Creatures • Tropical fish • Angel fish • John Dory • Butterfly fish Sea horse Octopus Reef shark

  15. Fascinating Fact:The Sea Horse • Very weak swimmers • Female lays eggs, male carries them in pouch till birth • Only animal in which the father gives birth • Body covered with armored plates

  16. Starfish Octopus Zooplankton Coral Moray Eel Phytoplankton Sample Food Chain

  17. Endangered Coral Reefs • Major threats to coral reefs include: • Ocean pollution • Dredging off the coast

  18. Endangered Coral Reefs • Other dangers: • Careless collection of coral specimens • Sedimentation • Inhibits growth of coral polyps • Inhibits algae growth • Upsets balance of the biome

  19. Saving Coral Reefs • Oceanguard (Australia-based) • Focus is preserving the Great Barrier Reef • Fight invasionsof Crown of Thorns starfish • Education

  20. Saving Coral Reefs • Reef Relief (Florida-based) • Coral Nurseries • Education • Promote reefconservationlegislation

  21. References • “Coral Reefs.” World Book. Chicago: World Book, 1998. Vol. 4, p. 257. • “Coral Reefs.” http://kidscience.about.com/kids/kidscience/cs/coralreefs/