Saturday, 19 June 2010

soft coral - often mistaken for plants, soft corals including deep sea water fan (lciligorgia schrammi), comman sea fan (gorgonia ventalina) & the giant slit-pore sea rod (plexaurella nutans) attach themselves to a hard substrate & slowly move with the natural wave action.

sponges like the orange elephant ear (agelas clathrodes) are water filter for the reefs. they filter up to 30,000 times their body volume everyday

pillar coral - dendrogyra cylindrus (pillar corals) are beautiful & rare as their polyps are normally extended

(tubastraea coccinea) orange cup corals - they are found in oil platforms

elkhorn coral (acropora palmata) - is a branching coral. grow in the shallow areas of the reef crest & serve to break up the wave action as it come onto he reef. the branches of elkhorn coral resemble an elk's rack of antlers, thus its name

beautiful flower corals (eusmilia fastigiata)

star coral - boulder & massive corals (montastrea annularis) are the builders of the reef. a coral head is a colony of small animals called polyps. polyps the size of a pencil eraser build an external skeleton of calcium carbonate around their bodies. the wall of these skeletons form a rock-like structure. over time, as new polyps build their skeletons on top of each other, a large coral head is formed. the boulder & massive coral skeletons develop the main reef structure. coralline algae & entrusting coral glues everything together

brain coral - a reticulated brittle star lies on the ridges of brain coral

bleaching coral - this coral is a growing phenomenon for coral reefs globally. it's caused by the expulsion of the symbiotic algae, zooxanthelle, from the coral polyps. the zooxanthelle gives the coral its color & is also the source of the most of the coral's nutrients. coral can survive for a short time without the zooxanthelle but if the algae remain expelled for an extended period of the time, the coral will die

anemones coral - tiny strawberry anemones stretch their starry crowns of tentacles to catch prey from the food-rich currents

ecosystems need coral reefs...

wisely.. united as one, ecosystem needs you!

credits: livescience, wikipedia & numerous data


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