The Coral Reef


The marine organisms which took most interest to me were coral reefs, due to the fact I’m from the east coast and more so island oriented also that I am Haitian/Jamaican. The climate is tropical and the waters are full of coral reefs and vibrant organisms within the water. The perception is that coral reefs are not living organisms and do not really have life. According to Rob Nelson from http://www.thewildclassroom.com/biomes/coralreef.html

Many biologists consider coral reefs to be more diverse and productive than their land equivalents. Corals are the only animals other than humans that are capable of building structures that can be seen by space. Mostly found in warm waters, they cannot survive in temperatures lower than 18°C

Coral reefs are the most diverse and beautiful of all marine habitats statedhttp://life.bio.sunysb.edu/marinebio/coralreef.html

Coral reefs also are home to various breeds of marine life ranging from moray eels, to a hammerhead shark. They are a means of food for many of the larger prey that feed off bait fish like plankton or herring. Corals are members of the phylum Cnidaria also including jellyfish, comb jellies and sea anemones.

Coral reef is not only a house center for other animals in the ocean but it is actually made from dead animals, broken rock that over time has fused together. So coral reef is actually a living recycling system

The construction or birth of corals is through the process of Bio-Erosion - The structure and the architecture of the reefs result from interactions between the processes of growth and erosion. Have been found to Growth and erosion of the coral reef ensue the structure of the reefs. As the coral reef is created there is also a coexisting process of destruction by physical, chemical and biological agents that are constantly at work. Because they are constantly at work the agents prevent the development of further coral reefs. The agents responsible for the erosion of the reef often are stronger together then they would be alone. Two processes involved in bioerosion are the chemical dissolution of the substrate resulting from the action of the acid substances and the mechanical abrasion of the substrate. Cyclones are destructive of the coral reef especially when the substrate is weakened by the activities of erosive organisms. During the erosion it releases dissolved CaCO3 into the environment that is re-used by the productive organisms both in this form and in the particulate form which results in the production of the bioclasts which are part of the reef sedimentation resembling a recycling process

There was a period in time where there likely hood of coral reef hung in the balance. El Nino, the shift in ocean currents also had an effect on global warming, which could cause major drought and floods.
Mass Bleaching has also had a major impact on the lives of coral reef. Because of the rise in ocean temperatures large amounts of coral reef have been severely bleached which cause more damage while still in the healing process.
Coral reefs are useful to the environment and people in numerous ways. For example, they Protect shores from the impact of waves and from storms; Provide benefits to humans in the form of food and medicine; Provide economic benefits to local communities from tourism. Also an estimate valued the world’s coral reefs at $30 billion. However human activities such as overfishing, water pollution has been the deterring factor of the 10 percent loss of coral reefs globally. Including these tragic events an additional 15 percent has been lost because of warming of the surface ocean, and the climate change which will be the catalyst factor to further destroying the reefs in times to come. These environmental features also lead to more “bleaching” of the reefs.
Limestone an element produced also by coral reefs will be preserved well in geologic records. Modern coral reef organisms and communities have evolved over the past 40-55 million years.A significant coral found mostly in tropical waters is the jewel stone/jewel toe / Honeycomb Coral better known thru its scientific name Porites. The porites species is within the kingdom Animalia, phylum Cnidaria, class Anthoza, family Porittidae and genus Porites. Found mostly in the Pacific region including Fiji, Tonga and Hawaii Islands, Porites coral grows within water Seventy-two to seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit. Porites feeding mechanism is just as other stationery plants which use the sun, through the process of photosynthesis. The Porites species also filter feeds on plankton a few times a week in the evening... They can grow up to six meters then spreads. Being that it’s a nocturnal organism it doesn’t fully spread itself till night. The Porites usually come in color shades of brown, yellow, and green. However with the exposure to UV the coral sometimes shows colors of blue, pink, and purple. When taken into human captivity the coral demands special care.
Today’s reef community is living veneer over these limestone accumulations that may be tens of meters thick, According to “Pew Center on Global Climate Changes”. We as humans should appreciate the beauty of these magnificent organisms not only by viewing them, but also educating ourselves on deterring preventions.

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