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Ecosystem Of Coral Reef Essay

2520 words - 11 pages


The Coral Reefs Ecosystem
Hidden beneath the ocean water, is the coral reefs team of life. Fish, corals, lobsters, clams, sponges, seahorses, sea turtles are only a few of hundreds of thousands of creatures that rely on reefs for their survival. I think that coral reefs are beautiful and I find that ecosystem of a reef is fascinating. Despite the fact that Corals look like rock or plants they are definitely marine animals. Corals life begins in tropical water as floating larvae. After a short period of time the larvae attaches itself to a hard surface and becomes a polyp. Corals are related to the jellyfish some people say that a coral looks like a jelly fish upside down due to a coral ...view middle of the document...

At this point the ions are carried through the waters eventually flowing into the ocean. A lot of organism in the ocean uses up the dissolved ions and some are removed from the water but what is not used up are left for a long period of time where their concentrations increase over time. There are also more sources that produce the ions (salinity) in the ocean waters such as a hydrothermal vent. The hydrothermal vent is on the ocean crest ridges and has recently been discovered to contribute to the process of dissolving minerals due to the crust becoming hotter. Which the minerals flows back into the ocean waters. Submarine Volcanism is another process of salinity in the ocean's water due to the seawater reacting with the hot rock from the volcano eruption that dissolves some minerals to produce the ions into the water.
Different bodies of water have different amounts of salt mixed in, or different salinities. Salinity is expressed by the amount of salt found in 1,000 grams of water. Therefore, if we have 1 gram of salt and 1,000 grams of water, the salinity is 1 part per thousand, or ppt. () The average ocean salinity is 35ppt. This number varies between about 32 and 37 ppt. Rainfall, evaporation, river runoff and ice formation cause these variations. (Reefs&People, 2009)
Scientists estimate that of the coral reefs cover range is 0.01-.0.5% of the ocean floor. (Reefs&People, 2009) The growth of reefs starts small and grows large. They have been found in depths of water less than 150ft where the sunlight can penetrate. Due to the symbiotic relationship with a type of microscopic algae, sunlight is necessary for these corals to thrive and grow. Reef building corals require warm ocean temperatures of 68-82 Fahrenheit. Reefs development is generally more abundant in areas that are subject to strong wave action due to the face waves carry food, nutrients and oxygen to the reef along distributing coral larvae and prevent sediment from settling on the coral reef.
Coral reef are extremely productive, corals reproduce both sexually and asexually. One polyp may use both reproductive modes within its lifetime. Corals reproduce sexually by either internal or external fertilization. The reproductive cells are borne on membranes that radiate inward from the layer of tissue that lines the stomach cavity. Internally fertilized eggs are brooded by the polyp for days to weeks. Free swimming larvae are released into the water and settle within hours. Externally fertilized eggs develop while adrift. After a few days, fertilized eggs develop into swimming larvae which settles within hours to a hard structure. Some corals have both male and female productive cells. Others are either male or female. Both sexes are can occur in a colony, or a colony may consist of individuals of the same sex. Synchronous spawning occurs in many corals. Polyps release eggs and sperm into the water at the same time. This spawning method disperses eggs over a larger area....

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