Coral Reefs

Corals are tiny animals that live in large communities made up of individual polyps that secrete a calcium carbonate substance that hardens and builds up to form the reef structure over time. There are different types of corals, such as brain corals and fan corals, that form different types of structures. The coral polyps live symbiotically with algae that provides them with their food. Disease, temperature extremes and pollution can cause corals to expel the algae, leaving only the white calcium carbonate skeleton behind, an event called coral bleaching. Coral bleaching is a worry with global warming heating up the oceans and carbon dioxide causing the oceans to acidify. Coral reefs are important ecosystems because they support larger communities of fish, mollusks, crustaceans and other sea creatures.
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Experts: Great Barrier Reef's Biggest Threat is Coal
A great butterfly fish, global warming
October 27th, 2014
Reef historian Iain McCalman, in Sydney, and reef scientist Stephen Palumbi, in California, are monitoring reef degradation from opposite sides of the planet. They compared notes.
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Sickly Coral Reefs Fail the Smell Test
Corals in a marine protected area
August 21st, 2014
When looking for a place to settle down, young corals and fish use chemical cues to sniff out bad neighborhoods littered with seaweed.
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Sharks Need Healthy Coral Reefs, 10-Year Study Finds
blacktip reef shark
September 10th, 2014
Healthy coral reefs, known for their brightly colored spiny and soft layers, provide a boon for sharks swimming through Australia's Great Barrier Reef, reports a new 10-year study that captured sharks on video camera.
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Even in Deepwater Canyons, America's Corals At Risk (Op-Ed)
Lobster in coral offshore Virginia, dangers, endangered coral
August 15th, 2014
American corals are facing new risks, even at great depths.
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Deadly Coral Diseases Surge Near Dredging Sites
Effects of Dredging on Coral Reefs
July 21st, 2014
In a first study of its kind, researchers have linked dredging to increased sickness in nearby coral reefs. The researchers examined the health of corals around Barrow Island, off the west coast of Australia.
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Visualizing the Motion of Corals
Coral flows
June 12th, 2014
Award-winning science visualization shows how coral is able to create a long-lasting whirlpool structure that alters the local environment and enhances the coral's ability to "breathe."
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20 Corals Added to Endangered Species List
Acropora globiceps coral
August 28th, 2014
A tenfold increase in protected coral species was announced Wednesday, with 20 new corals added to the threatened species list.
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Oldest Animal-Built Reef Discovered in Namibia
namibian site of ancient reef
June 26th, 2014
Scientists have unearthed evidence for the oldest animal-built reef in the world, which was built by an ancient filter feeder called Cloudina some 550 million years ago.
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