Corals found to be beneficial in saving other corals

Under the right living arrangement, disease-resistant corals can help "rescue" corals that are more vulnerable to disease, found a study from the University of California, Davis, that monitored a disease outbreak at a coral ...

Scientists try to bolster Great Barrier Reef in warmer world

Below the turquoise waters off the coast of Australia is one of the world's natural wonders, an underwater rainbow jungle teeming with life that scientists say is showing some of the clearest signs yet of climate change.

Extinct but newly discovered: Germany's oldest freshwater shrimp

An international team of researchers led by the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin has described Germany's first fossil freshwater shrimp species in the journal Scientific Reports. Most shrimps love marine habitats, but this 48-million-year-old ...

Climate Questions: Is it too late to stop climate change?

Global average temperatures have risen and weather extremes have already seen an uptick, so the short answer to whether it's too late to stop climate change is: yes. But there's still time to prevent cascading effects, as ...

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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