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Coral Reef

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Elizabeth Parke

on 28 May 2013

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Transcript of Coral Reef

Coral Reef Coral reefs are usually located in tropical oceans about 150 feet deep from the surface. There are three types of reefs; barrier reefs,fringing reefs, and atolls. Fringing reefs are located closer to shores and coasts of continents and islands, barrier reefs are farther away from the shores, and atolls are made of many low coral islands. Reefs are also located in areas with immense wave action. This helps bring nutrients and food to the reefs and prohibits sediment from settling on the coral. Calcium is an essential element for coral reefs as well because they use calcium to grow. The sun is the main source of light and energy for coral reefs. Coral reefs need temperatures between 68 -82 degrees Fahrenheit. Most reefs are found between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. All other reefs not found in these areas are usually small and not as well known. Some of the biotic factors are small coral fish, plankton, coral, turtles, algae and sharks. These organisms all live together and provide energy for one another.
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http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/cri.pdf Phytoplankton, zooxanthallae, coral, sea grass, and coral polyps are the main producers of the Coral Reef. Phytoplankton and zooxanthallae are the types of algae that give off oxygen through photosynthesis. The algae are also a food source for the organisms that live in the coral. Coral polyps give algae a place to live and also give off carbon dioxide. Sea grasses are the most important producers because they give animals and other organisms a place to live and are a source of food and oxygen. Description Biotic Factors Human Impact The main problems humans are causing for the Coral Reefs are over-fishing and pollution. The over-fishing is causing the food web to be disrupted and in turn is causing the coral reefs to die off. The pollution is caused mainly from pesticides and fertilizers from runoff and sedimentation. The humans are also building more buildings that contribute to the greenhouse effect. Homo sapiens are messing with the carbon cycle and it is effecting the coral reefs immensely. The biodiversity of the coral reef is dropping terribly. A solution of that would be to monitor the fishing done in certain areas of the coral reef and to shut down a certain area every day so the fishing is done in moderation. Solution Carbon Cycle Nitrogen Cycle Water Cycle Abiotic Factors Greenhouse Effect The Greenhouse Effect has a major impact on coral reefs. With the rising temperature the sea levels are rising due to the ice caps melting. The coral reefs could most likely keep up with the sea-level rise but the major threat to the corals is coral bleaching. When a coral has been "bleached" it is releasing the zooxanthellae, which is a microscopic algae. The algae helps with bringing sugars and other necessities during photosynthesis. The zooxanthellae are also a major source of food for the corals. So when they leave it kills the coral or "bleaches" it. This is also thought to be caused by temperature increase. UV rays are also another bad effect of the Greenhouse Effect that are threatening the corals well-being.
1. Mutualism- Mutualism is where both organisms in the relationship benefit from the relationship. An example of mutualism in the coral reef is the Anemonefish and the Sea Anemone. The Anemonefish lives in the anemone and protects the anemone from predators. The anemone in turn protects the Anemonefish by giving it shelter and housing for its eggs.

2. Commensalism- Commensalism is where one organism in the relationship benefits and the other one neither benefits or is harmed. An example in the coral reef would be the glass shrimp and the chocolate chip sea star. The glass shrimp is see-through so when it attaches to a chocolate sea star it takes on the sea stars color so it will not be attacked by preditors.

3. Parasitism- Parasitism is where one organism benefits by feeding or living off of the "host" The host is usually harmed by the "parasite."An example of this would be the Sea Spider and coral. The sea spider lays its eggs in the coral polyp and the larvae will pierce the polyp and live in it. Symbiotic Relationships Producers Temperature and Sunlight The temperature of coral reefs should be around 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit. The reefs maintain their temperature naturally because most of them are placed near the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn. The reefs that are not placed near these areas are close to tropical areas and areas with heat all year long. Light and the sun are another source of heat that is provided to the Coral Reefs. The climate of coral reefs is a tropical climate, so it's hot most of the time and sunny. If the coral reef doesn't have enough light it will die off. The Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world, gets more than 300 days of sunlight per year. The sun is the main source of energy for the reefs and makes up the climate of coral reefs. Herbivores The main herbivores on coral reefs are the many variates of reef fish. The reef fish feed off of the sea grass and the coral around them. They also feed off of the algae. The niche of most reef fish is in the coral itself or in the interesting plant life that surrounds the reef. Latitude and Elevation The latitude of most coral reefs is 30 degrees north and south of the equator. The Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn are also common spots for coral reefs to be. Coral Reefs can not survive in any other latitude above 30 degrees. Bermuda is an exception because its waters are warm. These latitude locations ensure that the coral reefs have warm waters to survive and flourish. The highest point of elevation for a coral reef is 6 meters on Cato Island and the lowest is 0 meters in the Pacific Ocean. The coral reefs have very low elevations. Rainfall The rainfall of coral reefs is very low. The approximate amount of rain the Great Barrier Reef gets a year is 2 meters. The coral reefs have a tropical climate so they don't receive an extensive amount of rain. Evaporation from the excess heat of their area is the slight problem they face without having a great amount of rainfall. The water cycle is the path water takes as it evaporates into the air and then is precipitated onto land again. The water rise and falls naturally due to the water cycle. The evaporation of the oceans helps with some pollution. The precipitation makes the ocean rise which is the earths natural way of supplying the ocean with more water after the evaporation process. Detrivores Carnivores Omnivores The Greenhouse Effect has a major impact on coral reefs. With the rising temperature the sea levels are rising due to the ice caps melting. The coral reefs could most likely keep up with the sea-level rise but the major threat to the corals is coral bleaching. When a coral has been "bleached" it is releasing the zooxanthellae, which is a microscopic algae. The algae helps with bringing sugars and other necessities during photosynthesis. The zooxanthellae are also a major source of food for the corals. So when they leave it kills the coral or "bleaches" it. This is also thought to be caused by temperature increase. UV rays are also another bad problem of the Greenhouse Effect that are threatening the corals well-being. Greenhouse Effect The main carnivores of the coral reef are sharks, manta rays, eels, and octopus. The top carnivores are the sharks and the eels. The top carnivores receive 0.001% of the total energy from the primary producers to the main herbivores to the carnivores. The reef fish would eat the sea grass, then the shark would come along and eat the reef fish, so the shark would gain 0.001% from the sea grass that the reef fish ate.
The energy pyramid in the coral reef goes from the energy the sun give the main producers to the bottom consumers, mid consumers and then finally the top consumers. The top consumers would be the sharks, manta rays, and eels. The mid consumers would be the omnivores, and the bottom consumers would be the reef fish. The main producers are the sea grass, coral, phytoplankton, and zooxanthallae. Each trophic level receives 10% of its energy from the other levels. 90% of all energy is lost to heat. Energy Pyramid Food Web The main omnivores in the coral reef are crustaceans and sea turtles. The crustaceans are crabs and lobsters. Crabs and lobster eat sea grass, mollusks, algae, fungi, other crustaceans, and some detrititvores. There are three types of sea turtles: Hawksbill, Leatherback, and Greens. The Hawksbill feeds off of mainly sponges, the leatherback feeds off of mostly jellyfish, and the Greens feed off of mostly sea grass. All the turtles feed on sea grass as well. Detrivores are creatures who break down waste and dead material to make energy. The main detrivores in the coral reef are sea cucumbers and shrimp. It is very important to have the detrivores because if there was no way to get rid of the waste material the whole biome would die off because the waste and bacteria would take over. The nitrogen cycle is the process by which nitrogen passes through air, soil, organisms and then back to the air. The nitrogen is transferred from the air into the soil, it is then passed from the soil into the water through oxidation. Then through detritification the nitrogen is transferred from the water to the air again. The carbon cycle is the continuous process by which carbon is exchanged between the environment and the organisms in the environment. The carbon is passed from plants in the ocean by photosynthesis and the carbon exchange made by the living organism as they breath. Biochemical Cycles of Matter Works Cited Many countries including the United States have decided to help the coral reefs solve some of its environmental issues. They have decided to monitor the health of coral reefs, reconstruct damaged coral reefs, and manage the coral reefs. This is helping the coral reefs survive. In addition to what the countries and scientists are doing I think humans could reduce farming near oceans and use alternatives forms of fertilizer and pesticides. I also think Homo sapiens could monitor fishing by allowing certain areas to be fished in at a time and only allowing a person to have so many fish per week or per month and only being allowed to fish for certain species of fish.
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