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Transcript of Coral Reef
Coral appears in many different shapes, sizes and colonies. Coral can be in the form of Branching Coral, Brain Coral, Solitary Coral or Table Coral. It also colonizes in Atoll Reefs, Barrier Reefs, Coral Cay Reefs and Fringing Reefs.
Brain corals are found in shallow warm-water coral reefs worldwide. The life span of the largest brain corals is 900 years. Colonies can grow as large as 1.8 m high.
Brain Coral is a type of stony coral. It is called a stony coral because these animals build a hard skeleton out of calcium carbonate using minerals the animals get from the ocean water. The surface of this skeleton contains many rough ridges, and the coral animals live in the crevices between these ridges.
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Fringing Reefs. (2013, September 26). Retrieved from ReefED: http://www.reefed.edu.au/home/explorer/landscapes/reefs/fringing_reefs
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Fringing Reefs. (2013, October 14). Retrieved from Coral Reefs: http://library.thinkquest.org/J002237/coralreefs/fringing.htm
Fringing reefs are near the shore, occasionally touching the shore. They follow a shore from beach to beach, forming a chain of reefs. Fringing reefs are found surrounding new and developing islands, compared to the age of the world. These reefs are formed from decaying sea life and polyps. Young fringing reefs that are still growing are called apron reefs.
Brain coral is the common name given to corals in the family Faviidae due to their generally spheroid shape and grooved surface which bear a resemblance to a brain.
The branched coral is small polyp stony coral also referred to as velvet branch, or velvet finger coral. This coral grows very quickly and comes in many different colours. The coral relies on the light, water movement and the temperature of the water. These things make the coral grow more efficiently and healthier. When polyps have expanded on the coral is gets fuzzy appearance to it.
As the oceanic island begins to sink down into the crust of the Earth because of the lack of volcanic activity, also the added amount of weight of the coral and erosion of the island. This encourages the island to sink lower and lower this leads the coral reef to grow upward. The animals living on the reef lay out great amounts of calcium carbonate in skeleton form. If conditions are good they can keep pace with the sinking island. Their living tissue remains in the upper part of the reef in the warm, clear, tropical water. The lower part of the reef is collected of the calcium carbonate skeletons left by the reef building coral. The lagoon fills in with the eroded material from both the reef and the island and is a safe habitat for marine life that supplies them with protection from waves and storms. This barrier reef is not always a perfect circle as storms often brake them up.
Table Coral or Acropora is a species of coral that can grow out into plates, slender branches or broad branches. This coral commonly grows with other plate coral to make a large overlapping effect. Many species are usually a dull brown or green colour, but some species that feature vibrant colours. The coral can grow to at least a meter if it has the right conditions to grow
Coral Cay Reef
A Coral Cay (also spelt caye or key) is a small low-elevation island made of sand, formed on a coral reef. A cay is formed by loose sediment carried by ocean currents is deposited on the ocean bed, where eventually more sediment is dropped, and a cay is made. Cays are mostly made of sand and are able to grow vegetation, meaning they are great habitats and breeding grounds for sea birds
An Atoll is a reef enclosing a lagoon. Atolls consist of ribbons of reef that may not always be circular but whose broad configuration is a closed shape up to dozens of kilometers across, enclosing a lagoon that may be approximately 50 m (160 feet) deep or more. They are big circular, oval shaped arrays of coral. There are small islands in the reef that create channels that lead from the lagoon to the sea. These channels bring fish life and other aquatic life into the lagoon.
Heron Island (a coral cay reef)
Coral polyps can be solitary or colonial. Solitary forms stay as one polyp and one corallite. If a coral is known to grown as an individual is called a solitary coral. Colonial forms can reproduce the polyp asexually and the new polyp forms another corallite that is attached to the first corallite. As an individual is can have one single mouth or multiple mouths.
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Warraber Island (coral cay island)