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Coral reefs are the second most diverse habitats on Earth only behind tropical rain forests They are relied on for food and shelter by around a quarter of the oceanic species This is an incredible statistic because of the fact being that corals reefs only take up under two percent of the ocean floor Coral reefs provide homes to many sea creatures The two kinds of corals are hard and soft Hard corals or Scleractinia such as elkhorn star pillar brain and staghorn corals have rough exoskeletons that protect their soft delicate bodies Soft corals or Gorgonians such as sea whips sea fans and sea rods flow with the currents and do not obtain an exoskeleton Coral reefs are composed of coral which is made of aquatic organisms fish sharks crustaceans mollusks sponges sea turtles dolphins and more Coral reefs are high in value and of much use to living things Coral reefs have a unique process of formation Most organisms in the sea sink to the ocean floor once they have died Their bodies decompose and release the fertilizers potassium nitrogen and phosphorous which are needed for plant growth The plants produce photosynthesis in the water which is important to life in many aquatic animals Carotinoids are the brown green or yellow algae pigments found supposedly helping the reproduction of coral They change its metabolism so that animals resist the plant Coral reefs can also be killed through coal bleaching This is when coral polyps lack zooxanthellae This leaves the corals tissues clear The reason it is called coral bleaching is because you can see through their white stony skeleton Coral bleaching can be caused by extreme water temperatures not enough or too much light or too much freshwater put in seawater making the seawater dilute They are a very crucial factor to many needs They are depended on for food and shelter by around 25 of the ocean life which is miraculous
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