Coral Reefs

Coral reefs in my opinion are the world's most beautiful habitats.Coral reefs have been
called the rainforests of the oceans, because of the rich diversity of life they support.Scientists
have not yet finished counting the thousands of differentspecies of plants and animals that use or
live in the coral reef.There are three types of coral reefs:fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls.
Fringing reefs are located close to shore, separated from land by only shallow water.Barrier reefs
lie farther offshore, separated from land by lagoons more than ten meters deep.Atolls, on the
other hand, are formed far offshore and they make a ring-shaped reef that close a circular lagoon.
Coral reefs are the largest biological structures on the planet, with the largest being the Great
Barrier Reef covering over 2000 kilometers along the east coast of Australia.The reef is said to
be 500,000 to 2,500,00 years old and is said to be visible from the moon.
There is only one problem with this beautiful structure and that is the carelessness of man.
Silt from deforested lands and pollution from crowded coastlines choke them, and overuse by coal
miners, fisheries, and even tourists deplete and destroy coral reefs.Corals are animals, not plants,
sunlight is they key to their survival.They need it to power the millions of microscopic algae, called
zooxanthellae, that live in their tissues.The algae provides the corals with food and oxygen in
return for raw materials and a secure place to live.This teamwork is what allows the reef to survive
in nutrient-poor tropical seas.This relationship is sensitive to such changes in the environment as
cloudy waters or extreme temperatures.The stress on the corals can cause them to expel their
algae, a phenomenon known as bleaching.With the algae gone, the coral skeleton is visible and
eventually it dies.Died corals lead further on to the death …

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