Pictures Coral Reef

 

Coral reefs are one of the most complex and colorful tropical ecosystems. Coral reef organisms build massive and intricate physical structures that are home to some of the most fascinating plants and animals in the world. Although coral is often mistaken for a rock or a plant, it is actually composed of tiny, fragile animals called coral polyps. When we say "coral" we are actually referring to these animals and the skeletons they leave behind after they die. The group includes the important reef builders known as hermatypic corals, found in tropical oceans.  The colony of polyps functions essentially as a single organism by sharing nutrients via a well developed gastrovascular network, and the polyps are clones, each having the same genetic structure. Each polyp generation grows on the skeletal remains of previous generations, forming a structure that has a shape characteristic of the species, but subject to environmental influences. Most reefs are located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, in places such as the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf.
 

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