Essay on Palau Coral Reef

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Palau Coral Reef

Coral reefs are one of the most complex and colorful tropical ecosystems, rivaling rain forests in their richness of life. Coral reef organisms build massive & intricate physical structures that are home to some of the most fascinating plants and animals in the world. Their extraordinary beauty captivates visitors and their productivity provides a wealth of resources for local communities and the world.

What is a coral reef?

Coral reefs are massive structures made of limestone that is deposited by living things. Although thousands of species inhabit coral reefs, only a fraction produce the limestone that builds the reef. The most important reef building organisms are
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Hard corals are hermatypes or reef-building corals and need tiny algae called zooxanthellae (pronounced zo-zan-THEL-ee) to survive. Generally, when we talk about "coral" we are referring to hard corals.

Soft corals such as sea fingers and sea whips are soft and bendable and often resemble plants or trees. These corals do not have stony skeletons, but instead grow wood-like cores for support and fleshy rinds for protection. They are referred to as ahermatypes or non-reef building corals and they do not always have zooxanthellae. Soft corals are found in both tropical seas and in cool, dark regions.

Where do corals live?

Coral reefs are found in over 100 countries. 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. Corals are also found farther from the equator in places where warm currents flow out of the tropics, such as Florida and southern Japan. Worldwide, coral reefs cover an estimated 284,300 square kilometers (110,000 square miles).

Coral reefs grow best in waters with a temperature of between 21 and 29 degrees Celsius (70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit). It is possible for soft corals to grow in hotter and colder places, but growth rates
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