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How Coral Reefs Are Made?

Coral reefs are large underwater structures composed of the skeletons of colonial marine invertebrates called coral.....

Colonial marine invertebrates called coral form the skeletons that compose large underwater structures known as coral reefs. Each individual coral is referred to as a polyp. Coral polyps live on the calcium carbonate exoskeletons of their ancestors, adding their own exoskeleton to the existing coral structure.

  • Corals are complex organisms that consist of both animal and plant components, occupying an ecological level between populations and communities.
  • The phylum Cnidaria’s class Anthozoa is responsible for the animal component, whereas zooxanthellae, an algae with chlorophyll pigment, makes up the plant component.
  • Because of its capacity for photosynthesis, this algae can give coral polyps the carbon molecules they need to produce energy.
  • The polyps defend the zooxanthellae in return.
  • Calcareous rocks called corals are formed from the polyps, or embryos, of microscopic sea organisms.
  • Polyps draw calcium salts from seawater and use them to fortify their brittle bodies with sturdy skeletons.
  • Freely roaming coral larvae adhere to hard sedimentary rocks or surfaces close to coastlines to create coral reefs.
  • The skeletons of dead polyps produce new generations of polyps.
  • The cycle repeats, resulting in the creation of coral layers.
  • A reef, which eventually develops into islands, is the shallow rock that resulted from these depositions.
  • Corals grow outward and upward, gluing together tubular skeleton-shaped calcareous stone masses.
  • The variety of shapes and hues coral reefs can take on is determined by the type of salts they are made of.
Ques 1. How do coral polyps contribute to the formation of coral reefs?

Ans. Coral polyps, tiny animals related to jellyfish, are the primary builders of coral reefs. They extract calcium carbonate from the ocean and secrete it as a hard exoskeleton, forming the foundation of the reef structure. As polyps reproduce and new generations settle on the existing skeleton, the reef grows over time.

Ques 2. What is the role of symbiotic algae in coral reef formation?

Ans. Coral polyps have a mutually beneficial relationship with photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae. These algae live within the tissues of the coral and provide them with energy through photosynthesis. The excess energy produced by the algae supports the growth and calcification of the coral, contributing to reef formation.

Ques 3. How long does it take for a coral reef to form?

Ans. The formation of a coral reef is a slow process that can take hundreds to thousands of years. It depends on various factors such as water temperature, nutrient availability, and the growth rate of coral species. The initial stages involve the colonization of coral larvae on a suitable substrate, followed by continuous growth and accumulation over time.

Read Also : Types Of Formations Of Coral Reef

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