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Coral Reef

Butterfly fish
The coral reef is one of the major marine biomes. Although it is a relatively small biome, around 25% of the known marine species live in coral reefs.

What is a coral reef?

At first glance, you may think that coral reefs are made up of rocks, but they are actually live organisms. These organisms are tiny little animals called polyps. Polyps live on the outside of the reef. As polyps die, they become hard and new polyps grow on top of them causing the reef to grow.

Does the coral reef eat?

Since polyps need to eat to stay alive, you can think of the coral reef as eating, too. They eat small animals called plankton as well as algae. The algae get their food from the sun by using photosynthesis. This is why coral reefs form close to the surface of the water and in clear water where the sun can feed the algae.

Where are coral reefs located?

Coral reefs need warm, shallow water to form. They form close to the equator near coastlines and around islands throughout the world.

A significant portion of the world's coral reefs are located in Southeast Asia and near Australia. The largest coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef located off of Queensland, Australia. The Great Barrier Reef stretches for 2,600 miles.

Locations of the world's coral reefs
Coral reefs of the world in red

Types of Coral Reefs

There are three main types of coral reefs:
Coral reef atoll
Coral Reef Atoll

Zones of the Coral Reef

After a period of time, coral reefs develop zones. Each zone is inhabited by different kinds of corals, fish, and ocean life.
Zones of the the coral reef
The coral reef can be divided into zones

Coral Reef Animals

All sorts of animals live around a coral reef. This includes many different types of corals such as star coral, brain coral, column coral, cactus coral, and finger coral.

Some of the most strange and interesting creatures in the world live here. Many animals attach themselves to the reef covering nearly every square inch. They include sponges, starfish, anemones, cucumbers, snails, and clams. Also, there are lots of fish swimming around such as cuttlefish, sharks, lionfish, pufferfish, clownfish, and eels. There are 1500 species of fish and 400 species of coral that live on the Great Barrier Reef alone.

Coral Reef Plants

The majority of the plants living on the coral reef are various species of sea grass, seaweed, and algae.

Why are the coral reefs important?

Besides being beautiful, a tourist attraction, and an important part of planet Earth, coral reefs have a positive impact on many people throughout the world. This includes food from fishing, protection of coastlines from erosion, and even medical discoveries such as medicines for cancer.

Are they in danger?

Yes, the coral reefs are slowly being destroyed. Since they grow at such a slow rate, they are disintegrating faster than they can be repaired. Much of the damage is caused by humans, primarily from pollution and overfishing. Even tourists can damage the reefs by standing on them, touching them, or bumping into them with their boats.

Facts About the Coral Reef Activities

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