Science

Interesting facts about corals

The majority of the living area on earth is encompassed by marine water, and corals are one of the important systems behind the survival of the marine ecosystem.

Considered as the most diverse ecosystem, corals are brightly colored beautiful structures in marine water. Ever wondered why those small colorful fingers like projections in marine water are so important while watching any scientific-educational channel on your television. Without further delay, let’s explore some interesting facts about corals.

Corals are not plants. In earlier times it was believed that corals are plants, but further research has suggested that they are composed of numerous animal bodies called coral polyps. They are soft-bodied and collect many layers of calcium carbonate gradually. Due to their colorful appearance, they are attracted by various other organisms.

Corals are the smallest growing, yet the largest biological structure on the planet. They grow at a rate of 1 cm per year. It takes millions of years for a fully grown coral ecosystem.

The coral reefs are divided into 3 types: barrier, fringing reefs, and atolls.The fringing reefs are formed near the shore region while the Barrier reefs are formed further into the sea. The atolls are large enough to be confused with islands.

Corals grow in shallow water. The sunlight is required for their growth, and they cannot be found in deeper water. They prefer to grow in warmer seawater.

The seabed is stabilized by corals. The corals promote the growth of seagrass and numerous other plants in seawater. The seabed remains stable due to the abundance of plants to hold it.

Corals act as filters. The plants and other organisms associated with any coral reef help in trapping debris and other pollutants. Subsequently, the surrounding environment becomes cleaner. The areas characterized by stronger currents deliver better nutrition to the coral reef, thus in these areas, corals tend to grow large.

Corals have the potential to treat cancer. Many research studies have shown that proteins extracted from the coral environment have the potential to treat cancer and other lethal diseases.

The corals are regarded as “rainforests of the sea”. Although comprising very little area, but corals provide shelter for one-fourth of the total marine species.

The corals help in mitigating global warming. The carbon dioxide level is the main factor behind the increased risk of global warming. It increases the salinity and acidity of seawater. The corals can trap excess carbon dioxide. They help in controlling the temperature rise also. Thus, the protection of corals is important for the survival of the planet.

With the rapid rise in mining, climate change, inconsistent fishing practices, the many highly important corals are damaged in the marine ecosystem. If you care for your earth, do care for the life-saving organisms on it too. They are a must for your survival. Once they get damaged, the whole ecosystem will break down all of a sudden.

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