What makes a coral reef unique? Coral, which takes thousands of years to grow only a few inches, is found exclusively in these coastal shores and barrier islands. Coral reefs have the highest biodiversity out of any other biome known to man, even Tropical Rainforests. The great barrier reef, one of the largest coral reefs, is the only natural structure that can be seen from space.
Where can you find coral reefs? The majority of coral reefs are located along the equator, between latitude 20N and 30S. Many are along coastlines along Indonesia and Australia, while others are in the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico. Others exist near Jamaica, Thailand, the Red Sea Riviera and the Indian Ocean.
Definitions Barrier islands, a coastal landform and a type of barrier system, are relatively narrow strips of sand that parallel the mainland coast. They usually occur in chains, consisting of anything from a few islands to more than a dozen. A coastal shore is the border of the land near the sea, between ordinary high and low water marks. Coastal shores are subject to flooding by waves, storm surges and, in some cases, by tsunamis.
What defines a coral reef? Every reef is made from a shore or barrier island, which has coral growing off of it. It is different from any other biome because of this, and is home to a large variety of organisms. Polyps form on the shoreline and grow upward, then forming into the coral, made by the algae.
5 Common animal species Angel shark Blowfish Clown Fish Horseshoe Crab Lemon Shark These animals have unique adaptations which enable them to live in the sometimes harsh environments of rocky coasts, sandy shores, estuaries, or mangrove forests. Many also have adapted to live in areas with high levels of salt.
Other common animals include: Reef Fish Dugong Hawksbill Turtle Sea Snake
5 Common Plant species Red algae Chinese sedum Zooxanthellae Fire Coral Staghorn Coral
Other Common Plants Include: SpongesMollusks Crustaceans Polychaetes
Significance Many plants and animals in coral reef ecosystems share a mutually beneficial relationship known as symbiosis. Thus, the life cycle of many species are intertwined, one dependent on the other and vise versa. Plants associated with coral reefs are critical to the survival of the ecosystem and the marine animal species that dwell within the reef.
Human Disturbance on Biome Destruction results from: –Pollution –Sewage –Erosion –Irresponsible Fishing –Poor Tourism Practices –Global Warming