First large-scale census of coral heat tolerance published

In a first-of-its-kind study, Florida's  critically endangered staghorn corals were surveyed to discover which ones can better withstand future heatwaves in the ocean. Insights from the study, led by scientists at Shedd ...

Study: Fish camouflage better without friends nearby

It's like a half-hearted dress up party: gobies don't camouflage completely when in groups, new research finds. Gobies change color to avoid detection by predators and do so faster and better when alone.

Corals once thought to be a single species are really two

On a night dive off the coast of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2016, two coral reef researchers saw something unexpected: A coral colony with slender, waving branches was releasing larvae into the water.

In Egypt's Red Sea, corals fade as oceans warm

Standing on a boat bobbing gently in the Red Sea, Egyptian diving instructor Mohamed Abdelaziz looks on as tourists snorkel amid the brilliantly coloured corals, a natural wonder now under threat from climate change.

Global warming kills 14 percent of world's corals in a decade

Dynamite fishing and pollution—but mostly global warming—wiped out 14 percent of the world's coral reefs from 2009 to 2018, leaving graveyards of bleached skeletons where vibrant ecosystems once thrived, according to ...

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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