Coral tells own tale about El Nino's past

There is no longer a need to guess what ocean temperatures were like in the remote tropical Pacific hundreds of years ago. The ancient coral that lived there know all.

A new tool for identifying climate-adaptive coral reefs

Climate change is threatening the world's coral reefs, and saving them all will prove impossible. A team from EPFL has developed a method for identifying corals with the greatest adaptive potential to heat stress. The research, ...

Warming seas: Climate change's toll on tropical fish

In 2016, ocean temperatures soared, devastating the corals of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. As the frequency, duration and magnitude of these marine heatwaves increases due to human-induced climate change, scientists have ...

Coral reefs 'weathering' the pressure of globalization

More information about the effects human activities have on Southeast Asian coral reefs has been revealed, with researchers looking at how large-scale global pressures, combined with the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) ...

Research shows microplastics are damaging to coral ecosystems

Microplastics are a growing environmental concern, and the effects of this waste product on coral are highlighted in research published in Chemosphere from an international team of researchers including UConn marine science ...

Scientists say it is time to save the red sea's coral reef

An international group of researchers led by Karine Kleinhaus, MD, of the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), calls upon UNESCO to declare the Red Sea's 4000km of coral reef as a Marine ...

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Coral

Alcyonaria    Alcyonacea    Helioporacea Zoantharia    Antipatharia    Corallimorpharia    Scleractinia    Zoanthidea   See Anthozoa for details

Corals are marine organisms from the class Anthozoa and exist as small sea anemone-like polyps, typically in colonies of many identical individuals. The group includes the important reef builders that are found in tropical oceans, which secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.

A coral "head", commonly perceived to be a single organism, is formed from myriads of individual but genetically identical polyps, each polyp only a few millimeters in diameter. Over thousands of generations, the polyps lay down a skeleton that is characteristic of their species. An individual head of coral grows by asexual reproduction of the individual polyps. Corals also breed sexually by spawning, with corals of the same species releasing gametes simultaneously over a period of one to several nights around a full moon.

Although corals can catch small fish and animals such as plankton using stinging cells on their tentacles, these animals obtain most of their nutrients from photosynthetic unicellular algae called zooxanthellae. Consequently, most corals depend on sunlight and grow in clear and shallow water, typically at depths shallower than 60 m (200 ft). These corals can be major contributors to the physical structure of the coral reefs that develop in tropical and subtropical waters, such as the enormous Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Other corals do not have associated algae and can live in much deeper water, with the cold-water genus Lophelia surviving as deep as 3000 m. Examples of these can be found living on the Darwin Mounds located north-west of Cape Wrath, Scotland. Corals have also been found off the coast of Washington State and the Aleutian Islands in Alaska.

Corals coordinate behaviour by communicating with each other.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA