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APES Coral Reef Biome Project

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Joshua Robertson

on 17 February 2013

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Transcript of APES Coral Reef Biome Project

Coral Reef Life Zone Project by Joshua Robertson Description of Landscape and Soil or Water Type Coral reefs are an underwater build up of calcium carbonate. It is built up by corals secreting their hard exoskeletons and other animals then using the reef and the surrounding area because of the number of food sources available around it. The water that coral reefs grow in is usually shallow, warm, and sunny. In order for the reef to grow the salinity of the water must be about 34-37 parts per 1000. The soil of a coral reef is just mud with lots of carbonates in it from the debris of the reef. Locations of Coral Reefs Coral reefs are found in both temperate and tropical waters. Tropical reefs can't grow at depths of over 160 feet while temperate reefs can exist within a larger variety of depth ranges. The majority of coral reefs exist within a band around the equator that stays around 20 degrees Celsius, but the temperate reefs may form much farther north or south. There are some places in this band that don't have coral reefs and this is because these places have strong coastal currents and large upwellings that cause the temperature to be too cold for reefs. The specific locations within this band and around the world that contain coral reefs are:
Eastern and northern Australia(Mostly within the Coral Sea)
Southern Florida/Eastern Mexico/Northern South America(Atlantic Ocean)
The Red Sea
Eastern Coast of Africa(Indian Ocean)
The area south and east of China as well as the islands surrounding Indonesia(Pacific Ocean,South China Sea, Eastern China Sea, Philippine Sea, Andaman Sea)
Western India(Arabian Sea) Temperature and Precipitation Most coral reefs can only live within a small range of warm temperatures, but there are some exceptions.
The ideal temperature for most reefs is 79-81 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can survive down to 64 degrees.
The coldest some types coral reefs have been found at are around 55 degrees and the hottest is around 100 degrees. Coral reefs usually don't form in areas with large amounts of rain. This is because if a reef gets too much rain at any point in the year it can kill the reef because rain decreases the salinity of the water. The rainfall amount is usually at a peak in the summer months and is at its lowest from January-April. V Vegetation/Soil/Water The 3 main types of vegetation in coral reefs are:
Mangroves: Large shrub-like plants that can survive in sea water because their roots filter salt. Their leaves also excrete salt. They contribute to a coral reef by helping build up sediment and by providing shelter for other plants/animals.
Seagrass: A plant found in shallow and sheltered water. This plant helps build up sediment for mangroves to build on as well as acting as a food source and nesting grounds for some species.
Algae: Algae competes with the coral and if the water is too rich then algae can outgrow and kill the coral. The soil around coral reefs is actually mud with carbonates from the breakup of coral. This mud is the home of many burrowing organisms. The water for coral reefs must be within a certain temperature range and cannot contain too many nutrients because it can kill the reefs. The salinity level of the water that the reefs are in must usually be around 34-37 parts per 1000. Animals/Diversity/Habitat Three main types of animals that live in coral reefs are:
Sea Snakes: An air breathing reptile that has adapted to have a paddle-like tail and laterally compressed body to allow for better swimming ability. They feed on the fish in reefs and the eggs of the fish as well.
Dugongs: A large mammal that feeds off of the seagrasses and invertebrates that are around coral reefs. They have a large horseshoe shaped upper lip which allows them to feed off of seagrasses with ease.
Sea turtles: A medium sized reptile that uses coral reefs for reproduction/grazing. 6 out of the 7 species of sea turtles inhabit coral reefs. They lay their eggs in the sands surrounding coral reefs and also feed off of the reefs seagrasses. These reptiles are only able to survive in this salty water because of a salt gland that gets rid of the salt that the turtles can't handle. Threats to Coral Reefs and Human Influences Two natural threats to coral reefs are:
El Niño brings warmer air to reefs, which can kill them because the reefs can only survive in a small range of temperatures. El Niño also brings more rainfall to the reefs, which decreases the salinity of the water and can kill the reefs as well.
Tidal emersions(periods where the tide is lower than normal) can leave the heads of coral reefs exposed. This leaves them vulnerable to damage from UV radiation in the day and other weather. Two human threats to coral reefs are:
Pollution is the biggest threat to coral reefs caused by humans. The pollution is a result of deforestation, agricultural activities, and sewage treatment waste. It can come in the form of nutrients, pesticides, oil, chemicals, or sediments. Some of the pollutants harm the coral reef by killing the animals around it, but nutrient pollution can kill coral reefs because excess nutrients cause algae to grow, which can smother the coral.
Humans using destructive fishing practices is also very harmful to coral reefs. Dynamite and Cyanide are often used to fish and this can easily cause damage to the reefs. References "http://water.epa.gov/type/oceb/habitat/coral_index.cfm." . N.p.. Web. 14 Feb 2013.
Reefs: New York, NY: DK Publishing; 2001. Print.>
. "Coral Reefs." . N.p.. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <geography.about.com>.
. "REEF FACTS: Plants and Animals on the Great Barrier Reef." . N.p.. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <http://www.reef.crc.org.au/discover/plantsanimals/facts_plantanimal.htm>.
. "Anthropogenic Threats to Corals." . N.p.. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/kits/corals/coral09_humanthreats.html>.
Coral Reef Precipitation Graph. N.d. www.rmiembassyus.orgWeb. 14 Feb 2013.
. N.p.. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <www.seasky.org>.
. "Sea Turtles." . N.p.. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <http://creagrus.home.montereybay.com/sea_turtles.html>.
. "Algae in the coral reef environment." . N.p.. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <http://www.com.univ-mrs.fr/IRD/atollpol/ecorecat/ukalgrec.htm>.
Mexico Coral Reefs. N.d. gulfofmexicooilspillblog.comWeb. 14 Feb 2013.
Great Barrier Reef. N.d. fanpop.comWeb. 17 Feb 2013.
El Nino Temperatures. N.d n.p. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <www.ec.gc.ca>.
Dugongs treated. N.d. n.p. Web. 17 Feb 2013. <sydneytourismnews.blogspot.com>.
Sea Turtle. N.d. n.p. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <www.coral.org>
Nasa Coral Reef images. N.d. n.p. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <www.nasa.gov>.
World Ocean and Sea. N.d. n.p. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <www.ephotLippedopix.com >.
The Yellow Sea Krait. N.d. n.p. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <ferrebeekeeper.wordpress.com >.
Mangroves. N.d. n.p. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <jurgenfreund.photoshelter.com >.
Plants in the Coral Reef. N.d. n.p. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <katlynbritneylori.edublogs.org >.
Facet. N.d. n.p. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <www.botany.hawaii.edu>.
Where are Coral Reefs Located?. N.d. n.p. Web. 14 Feb 2013. <www.mbgnet.net>.
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