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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Exotic Deep-Sea Canyon Life at Risk (Gallery)
octopus, strange deep-sea creature
December 10th, 2014
The deep ocean is home to some truly unusual creatures.
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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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Balancing the Good and Bad: News for Coral Reefs
reefs cape in the Philippines
January 25th, 2015
Marine ecologist Paul Sikkel discusses his passion for and work with coral reefs and the best ways to protect them.
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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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