Coral Reef

In: Science

Submitted By blewter65
Words 1296
Pages 6
College Technical University
Brittany Lewter
July 13th 2014
Instuctor: Nicholas Kusina
SCI 201-140-3A-06

Coral Reefs are located in tropical oceans near the equator. The largest coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia The second largest coral reef can be found off the coast of Belize. In Central America. Other reefs are found in other areas in tropical oceans. Corals can exist as individuals polpys, or in colonies and communities that contain hundreds to hundreds of thousands of polyps. For example, brain corals are some of the most recognizable coral species. These corals are colonies of many individual polyps, the individual polyps average 1-3mm in diameter.

The physical structure of a coral reef is built by reef building polyps. When they secrete calcium carbonate skeletons, they create a complex three dimensional framework upon which an abundance of coral species and other marine plants and animals may live. About 25 % of all marine life is found in coral reefs, including around two million species of fish, crustaceans, sponges and seaweeds. Together these plants and animals form the coral reef ecosystem. As well as supporting marine biodiversity, reef ecosystems provide a number of ecological services and goods to human populations on a local, regional, and national level as they play an important role in coastline and habitat protection, nitrogen fixing, sand supply, climate records, fisheries, medicine, recreation and tourism.

Coral reef frameworks can serve as physical buffers for ocean waves and currents. As waves pass over a reef structure, their energy can be reduced by 75-95% which can lessen their impact as they reach the shore. This not only protects the coastline from erosion but prevents damage to and/or loss of seagrass beds, mangrove forests, coastal settlements and infrastructure. Although the buffering capacity of coral…...

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