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THE AMAZING WORLD OF CORAL [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2012-2-10 14:44:33 |Display all floors

LOCATION: Coral reefsare generally found in clear, tropical oceans. Coral reefs form in waters fromthe surface to about 150 feet (45 meters) deep because they need sunlight to survive.The three types of reefs include fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls.Fringing reefs occur along shorelines of continents and islands and arecommonly found in Hawaii and the Caribbean. Barrier reefs are found fartheroffshore than fringing reefs, occurring most often in the Indo-Pacific andCaribbean. Atolls are a series of low coral islands surrounding a centrallagoon, frequently found in the Indo-Pacific. The largest reef in the world,the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is longer than 1200 miles (1900 km). That’slonger than the distance between Seattle, WA and Los Angeles, CA!

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HABITAT: Coral reefs need water that is between 68 - 82°F (20 - 28°C), which is often located along the eastern shores of land. Reefs usually develop in areas that have a lot of wave action because the waves bring in food, nutrients and oxygen to the reef. Waves also prevent sediment from falling on the reef. Reefs need calcium from the water to grow, which is more often available in shallow warm waters.
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PLANTS: The sun is the source of energy for the coral reef ecosystem. Plant plankton, called phytoplankton, algae and other plants convert light energy into chemical energy through photosynthesis. As animals eat the plants and other animals, energy is passed through the food chain. Reef building corals work together with microscopic algae, called zooxanthellae, that live in their tissue. The zooxanthellae provide oxygen and food to the coral through photosynthesis. The coral polyp gives the algae a home, and the carbon dioxide it needs through respiration. Besides zooxanthellae, algae and seagrasses are the main types of plants in the coral reef ecosystem. These plants give food and oxygen to the animals that live on the reef. Seagrasses are especially important because they provide shelter for juvenile reef animals like conch and lobster.
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