The Coral Reef: Like the oceans, coral reef is also one of the marine biomes. Comparing to the oceans, coral reef is a smaller world but with almost 25% of the marine species living in it. Coral reef is a beautiful world with colorful rock like structure. To most of us it may look like a beautifully built underwater garden. In fact these coral reefs are neither rock nor garden; then what are they?
Corals are made by tiny creatures called polyps. They are carnivorous (meat eating) and invertebrates (without backbones). They are closely related to jellyfish and anemones. When a polyp attaches itself to a rock a reef’s origin happens. The single polyp then multiplies and slowly a colony is formed. The entire colony starts behaving like a single organism and each polyp starts building a roof of limestone around itself. When the colony grows, the limestone structure also grows and gets the shape of different structures. These reefs remain even after the death of polyps that created it.
There are different kinds of coral reefs like fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls. However, coral reefs require warm and shallow water to form. They are found close to equator. The majority of them are found around the islands.
The coral reefs support very many different kinds of underwater animals. It is studied that more than two hundred different kinds of fish survive in just one hector of coral reef. Not only that the coral reefs are beautiful by themselves, the fish that live in coral reefs are also in different shapes and colors. This makes the reefs more attractive and colorful.