The coral reef is a very diverse
ecosystem. It has a very high volume of competition between organisms. The
coral reefs are home to 90% of the fish population. The coral reef has a very
efficient filtering system of zooplankton. Also, the absorption of dissolved
nutrients from the water on the fore and back reef affect the coral greatly.
The fore reef is rich in nutrients that is brought in from the waves of the ocean.
The back reef looks much more “dry”.
There are four different kinds of
coral reefs. Barrier reef, fringing reed, atoll reef, and a bank/ barrier
reef. A fringing reef surrounds a large
island. The island and the reef are connected. The reef only has a small amount
of water separating it from the shore. The next type of reef is the barrier
reef. This reef is out much farther in the ocean. It acts as a barrier for the
island it surrounds. The barrier reef also has a large lagoon that separates it
from the land. The Atoll reef is similar to the barrier reef except these can
be found in the middle of the ocean. They are not surrounding any form of
island. The atoll reef has a deep lagoon in the middle of it as well. The bank/
barrier reef is a reef in which it connects to the shore at some point, but
also is deep enough out in the ocean it acts as a barrier reef.
Many people have speculated on the
formation of these reefs. Darwin hypothesized that these reefs formed from the rising
and falling of the land which in turn created the coral reefs. Dally
hypothesized that the water rising and falling was the reason for the formation
of the coral reefs. We all know that our almighty Lord and Savoir was the one
who formed the coral reefs from the beginning.
The zones of the coral reef include the
shore zone, inshore zone, lagoon, back reef, reef coast, and the fore reef. These
are all dependent on what type of coral reef that is around the island. All of
the zones are very reliant on the other. For instance. The shore zone and the
inshore zone are where the mangrove trees live. The mangroves send their roots
into the water and supply the smaller fish in the area a place to hide and grow
until they are big enough to go into deeper water. Other organisms that live in
these zones are many types of snails, crabs, some birds and chiton. When you
move out to the lagoon, one can find many more organisms. This is where many of
the animals can find their food. This area is normally much deeper and wider.
The lagoon is full of nutrients and algae which are needed in the chemistry of
the coral reefs. The back and fore reef
are where the main action happens. This is where all the fish thrive along with
the coral. We must do all we can to preserve the coral, so it may be beneficial
The rocky shores are full of many hardy
creatures since the rocky shore can be a difficult place to live. The formation
of the rocky shores includes water pitting the rock, and the solubility of the
rocks. Tides fluctuant with the orientation of the sun and moon. Many of the animals may live in tide pools
which essentially are there own individual ecosystem. Each tidepool consists of
a limited food source as well. The rocky shore consists of many different zones
that inhabit large amounts of organisms. The zones consist of white, grey,
black, yellow, and pink. Each zone is determined by water, light and
temperature, and the color of the organism. Each zone creates its own
ecosystem, consisting of an intricate feeding cycle.
High tide zone or high intertidal zone is
the region is only flooded during high tides. Organisms that you can find here
are anemones, barnacles, chitons, crabs, isopods, mussels, sea stars, snails.
This zone has very harsh conditions since it does not have a constant supply of
water. There is normally a high heat temperature in this zone. The Middle tide
zone is a turbulent zone that is covered twice a day. The zone extends from the
upper limit of the barnacles to the lower limit of large brown algae. Common organisms
are snails, sponges, sea stars, barnacles, mussels, sea palms, crabs. Low
intertidal zone is usually covered with water. It is only uncovered when the
tide is extremely low. In contrast to the other zones, the organisms are not
well adapted to long periods of dryness or to extreme temperatures. The common
organisms in this region are brown seaweed, crabs, hydroids, mussels, sea
cucumber, sea lettuce, sea urchins, shrimps, snails, tube worms.
Salinity stress can occur in the external
middle and higher tidal zone. The concentration of the fluids determines
whether or not the organism will lose water. Many of the tide pools struggle to
maintain a proper salinity level. This is because of the infrequent amount of
water that comes into the pools. Many of the animals on the rocky shores must
be hardy animals in order to put up with the different salinity levels. Some of
the other threats organisms face is predators. Predators include many different
species of birds, and even some seals.
The Spray Zone The spray zone is also
called the black zone. Just beyond the reach of the highest high tide is a
slippery, gray-black zone that receives moisture only from the splash of waves
at the highest tides, during storms or from rainfall. Its dark color is due to
black patches of blue-green algae. When dry, these colonies resemble oil
splotches stuck to the rocks. But when wet they are very slippery. Periwinkles
venture into the lower parts of the spray zone.
The turtle grass beds are full of a many
tropic levels. Decomposers, first level consumers and producers, primary
producers, and top-level carnivores. Most lagoons are filled with turtle grass.
This ecosystem acts as a big filter for nutrients. It also slows the current
down. It provides a habitat for epibionts, epiphytes, and epizoites. Different
animals that live in these eco system consist of sea cucumbers, lizard fish,
flounder, urchins, and many more.
With root like stems, which extend
horizontally under the sea bottom, seagrasses act to stabilize the sediment.
These sediments, that would otherwise settle on coral and prevent contact with
sunlight, tend to accumulate and become trapped in the seagrass. Turtle grass thrives
in areas that are protected from wind-driven current and surf. The broad leaves
of turtle grass act as huge filters, removing particles from the water and
depositing them as fine sediment. These sediments often contain organic matter
which contribute to the high productivity of this habitat.
Seagrasses grow both vertically and
horizontally—their blades grow upwards and their roots down and sideways—to
capture sunlight and nutrients from the water and sediment. They spread by two
methods: asexual clonal growth and sexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction is
conducted in the same way that grass reproduces on land. It sends out a long
shoot underground, which then sends the stem upward. Turtle grass also releases
pollen grains into the air which then floats off in the current and then clumps
in a different area.
There are many different uses for the
turtle grass beds. People use it to fertilize their fields, or to insulate
their homes. They also use it to weave furniture, thatch roofs, bandages, or
fil mattresses and car seats. It is not a good thing that people use it for
every day use though. It is said that turtle grass beds are one third of the
ecosystem in the water. We must go to a great extant to protect this area then
so that the fish in the ocean may populate correctly. Turtle grass are very
important because they are like the lungs of the ocean. They can generate 10
liters of oxygen every day. This is important in every aspect of the ecosystem.
The mangrove swamp is another very diverse
and important ecosystem for the survival of the coral reef. The roots of the
mangrove swamp act as an erosion barrier, and a spawning bed for young fish to
grow and flourish. The mangrove swamp provides a great habitat contribution.
Many crabs flourish from the leaves of the mangroves. The regulation of salt in
the mangrove swamp is very structured. It is removed from the trees by using
special salt pores. Also, the mangroves have a very unique way of reproduction,
to ensure future growth.
When it comes to our world everything is
connected. When the mangroves are cut down, that sediment gain is quickly lost.
Cause it’s the roots that actually provide the trap that holds those sediments
there. Without the mangroves the turtle grass would get smothered, and without
the turtle grass the coral would get smothered. These trees also offer a great
erosion prevention. Their roots shoot to the ground and hold everything in
place. So, when humans remove an ‘ugly’ mangrove swamp they are actually
causing harm very much to the surrounding ecosystem.
Mangrove swamps are easiest to view on
foot at low tide. But even then, making your way through them is no piece of
cake. They are often covered by barnacles and shells that cut hands and legs. There
are large amounts of mud in the Mangrove swamp. Also, the air is humid, full of
mosquitos and the smell of decay and rotten eggs. Some of the organisms you
will sea there are birds, the coffee bean snail, an assortment of many
different kinds of vegetation, and snakes. Reproduction is simpler than other
ecosystems in the mangrove swamp.
Fully developed mangroves are very stable.
The same can also be said for seedlings. Some species let their seed germinate
on their root. The seedlings drop off into the soft mud when they are about two
feet high and send out roots at astounding rates to establish themselves.