Coral Reefs!Zach Foust


Polyps are small invertebrate marine organisms.They typically are found together living in small polyp.jpgcompact colonies. LIve coral polyps (I'll explain later) are brightly colored with reds, greens, and blues. There are two different types of coral; hard coral and soft coral. Hard coral form limestone skeletons, which creates reefs. Soft coral do not produce calcium carbonate skeletons. Polyps flourish in clear, shallow water typically in tropical and subtropical waters. One of the most famous coral reef is an example of this type. The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia has over 3000 coral reefs and 900 islands. There are certain types of polyps that are able to survive in deeper (records of up to 6000 meters deep!) and colder waters. An example of this is the Darwin Mounds in Scotland.

Coral polyps usually live in shallow water, so they can be close to the sun's rays. Sun is important for the polyps because a large portion of polyps' diet comes from the byproduct of algae photosynthesis. Coral polyps also have small barbed tentacles they can stick out that are venomous, although they normally only do this at night to catch zoo plankton and some small fish.

Most people don't understand the true science behind the formation/creation of coral reefs. Coral reefs aren't made overnight, or even over a few weeks. Coral reefs take hundreds of years to make. Coral polyps are able to take in calcium out of the sea water in order to build a skeleton, which is made of limsetone. After a polyp dies, it's hard skeleton is left behind. This skeleton is a welcoming place for other polyps to attach themself to. They do this by connecting to the middle of a skeleton by a thin sheet of tissue. This process of polyps attaching themselves to each other and forming their skeletons is what creates the limestone formations that continues growing, which ultimately creates the beautiful coral reefs we see in our oceans today!