Coral Reef Symbiotic Relationships

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The coral reefs are one of the most ecologically diverse ecosystems in the world, as it is home to hundreds of thousands of different species of animals and algae which work symbiotically together to help each other be able to survive and thrive in the environment. One of these very important symbiotic relationships is the connection corals have to an algae called zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae is a photosynthetic algae that lives inside of coral. It specializes in the production of oxygen and the removal of wastes for the coral. Through the process of photosynthesis, zooxanthellae also supplies coral with glucose, glycerol, and amino acids, which the coral would use to make proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and calcium carbonate. (Corals/Zooxanthellae...)…show more content…
Zooxanthellae is also responsible for giving coral its color. If coral were to become stressed, which is usually due to a sudden change in water temperature, then coral would expel its zooxanthellae reserves into the water. Without this algae, the coral would begin to turn into a pale-white color that is widely known as “coral bleaching”, which is a huge problem because after a coral were to become bleached, there is a high chance that the coral would die soon afterwards. (Corals/Zooxanthellae...) It is unknown as to why coral would release its “life-line” into the water as the water temperature begins It is not known how corals regulate their zooxanthellae populations and whether there is interspecies communication between the coral and the symbiotic algae. Several universities and organizations have stepped up to help protect the coral reefs from bleaching, as some researchers tried to understand the survivability and bleaching rates of coral in the next several years, others have attempted to transplant coral to another environment, and another group of researchers gave coral more nutrients to test how the coral
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