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

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the coral reef biome

The Coral Reef Biome

A Look at a Marine Biome

© Terri Street, 2002

what is a coral reef
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.
types of coral reefs
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
types of coral reefs4
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
coral reef climate
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
coral reef plants
Coral Reef Plants
  • Phytoplankton
    • Microscopic
    • Basis for all ocean food chains
coral reef plants8
Coral Reef Plants
  • Algae
    • Green
    • Red
    • Brown algaetakes many forms
coral reef plants9
Coral Reef Plants
  • Seaweed and Sea grasses
    • Brown seaweed
    • Sea grass
    • Shoal grass
    • Turtle grass
fascinating fact the great barrier reef
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
the great barrier reef home to
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
coral reef creatures
Coral Reef Creatures
  • Coral polyps
    • Tentacles
    • Digestivesac
    • Connectingfilaments
    • Skeletal body
coral reef creatures13
Coral Reef Creatures
  • Symbioticrelationships
    • Coral with algae
    • Clown fish with sea anemones
coral reef creatures14
Coral Reef Creatures
  • Tropical fish
    • Angel fish
    • John Dory
    • Butterfly fish

Sea horse

Octopus

Reef shark

fascinating fact the sea horse
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
sample food chain

Starfish

Octopus

Zooplankton

Coral

Moray Eel

Phytoplankton

Sample Food Chain
endangered coral reefs
Endangered Coral Reefs
  • Major threats to coral reefs include:
    • Ocean pollution
    • Dredging off the coast
endangered coral reefs18
Endangered Coral Reefs
  • Other dangers:
    • Careless collection of coral specimens
    • Sedimentation
      • Inhibits growth of coral polyps
      • Inhibits algae growth
      • Upsets balance of the biome
saving coral reefs
Saving Coral Reefs
  • Oceanguard (Australia-based)
    • Focus is preserving the Great Barrier Reef
    • Fight invasionsof Crown of Thorns starfish
    • Education
saving coral reefs20
Saving Coral Reefs
  • Reef Relief (Florida-based)
    • Coral Nurseries
    • Education
    • Promote reefconservationlegislation
references
References
  • “Coral Reefs.” World Book. Chicago: World Book, 1998. Vol. 4, p. 257.
  • “Coral Reefs.” http://kidscience.about.com/kids/kidscience/cs/coralreefs/