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Published byNelson Watson Modified over 7 years ago
Facts About Corals: · coral polyps are very small: ¼ to 2 inches · two types of corals ~hard and soft polyps · billions of coral polyps make up a reef · reefs are mainly made up by hard corals · phylum cnidaria: stinging cells · corals can live in solitary environments
Hard Corals (stony corals) ·secrete a hard external skeleton ·have tentacles in multiples of six ·live individually or in colonies ·both large polyp and small polyp corals ·usually reproduce by spawning and budding ·calcareous skeletons have been deposited over many years and cemented together to form reefs
Hard Corals (stony corals) ~where water is calmer and deeper the branches are more delicate or formed into plates to absorb maximum light ·shapes are influenced by water movement ~where wave crash the reef front the corals have thick branches or massive boulder shape
Large Polyp Hard Corals Usually branching or plated
Small Polyp Hard Corals Usually branching or plated
Soft Corals - Octocorals ·grown in colonies on the reef, but do not build reefs ·soft and flexible skeleton that sways in the water ·grow well in strong currents with access to a lot of plankton ·have eight tentacles
Soft Corals - Octocorals ·not all corals are actually soft ·have feathery look from the sided branching pinnules
Structure of the Coral Polyp
Structure of Stony Coral Polyps · opening at one end is the mouth · opens directly into the stomach · mouth surrounded by tentacles · digestive filaments called mesenteral fibers · waste expelled from same opening
Structure of Stony Coral Polyps · tentacles with nematocysts paralyze prey
Endosymbionts Zooanthallae, microscopic algae, grow on coral polyps Through photosynthesis food and oxygen are produced for coral Consumes some of polyp’s waste
Coral Skeletons ·Polyps secrete calcium carbonate forming skeletons ·grow vertically and can retreat into their exoskeleton
Coral Skeletons Coral growth can be traced through rings in its skeleton
Coral Reproduction Sexual: release of sperm into water that might meet with eggs- called spawning Asexual: budding or when a coral breaks off and grows in a new location
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