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Coral Reefs

Life Science - Middle School

 
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Coral Reefs A coral reef is one of the richest habitats on earth with many kinds of plants and animals, giving it great diversity. Yet it needs some specific things to survive. First, the water in which it lives must be salty. It also must be warm, between 68°- 82°F (20 - 27°C). Coral reefs need to be near land because the wave action brings nutrients (food) and oxygen. Waves also keep sand from settling over the animals anchored there. There are three kinds of coral reefs. Fringing reefs run along a shoreline in shallow water, like the reefs around Hawaii or the Caribbean Islands. Barrier reefs run along continents and around islands further off the coast in the ocean. The largest barrier reef in the world is the Great Barrier Reef that runs along the coast of Australia at 1,200 miles (1,932km) long. Atolls form small islands that surround a lagoon of water and are found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Some coral reef animals include sea urchins, sponges, sea stars, worms, sea slugs, fish, sharks, dolphins, rays, lobsters, shrimp, octopus, snails, jellyfish, clams, sea turtles, sea anemones and fish. The coral reef gets its many pretty colors from an algae called zooxanthellae that lives in the coral tissue itself, feeding it food and O 2, and taking up CO 2. The coral itself may look like a rock, but it is actually an animal - the most common animal found on a coral reef. It starts as a small floating polyp that attaches to the reef. It stays anchored here its whole life. Coral can’t chase prey, but they have tentacles that sting and capture prey. Their tentacles are also sticky so they can snag food particles that float by. Coral reefs are very sensitive, but there are many ways people can protect them. Never run a boat into coral or anchor on coral. Instead, use a coral reef buoy or anchor in the sand nearby. Never dump trash or dirty water (bilge) near a coral reef. You can snorkel over a reef, but never step on coral because it is a living animal! Don’t drag a hook troll near a coral reef, as hooks can injure coral. In 1998, the U.S. established the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force to better preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. Amsel
94-4064 Coral ReefS A coral reef is one of the richest habitats on earth with many kinds of plants and animals, giving it great _________________________. Yet it needs some specific things to survive. First, the water in which it lives must be salty. It also must be _________________________, between 68°- 82°F (20 - 27°C). Coral reefs need to be near land because the _________________________ action brings nutrients (food) and _________________________. Waves also keep _________________________ from settling over the animals anchored there. There are three kinds of coral reefs. Fringing reefs run along a shoreline in shallow water, like the reefs around Hawaii or the Caribbean Islands. _________________________ reefs run along continents and around islands further off the coast in the ocean. The largest barrier reef in the world is the Great Barrier Reef that runs along the coast of Australia at 1,200 miles (1,932km) long. Atolls form small _________________________ that surround a lagoon of water and are found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The coral reef gets its many pretty colors from an _________________________ called zooxanthellae that lives in the coral tissue itself, feeding it food and O 2, and taking up CO 2. The coral itself may look like a rock but it is actually an animal - the most common animal found found on a coral reef. It starts as a small floating _________________________ that attaches to the reef. It stays anchored here its whole life. Coral can’t chase prey, but they have _________________________ that sting and capture prey. Their tentacles are also sticky so they can snag food particles that float by. Amsel
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