Oceanography

Terry, Julia, Taylor

Background: Coral Reefs are mountains of calcium carbonate, a substance more commonly called limestone. It is a foundation for dynamic and diverse communities of sea life. There are two types of coral, soft coral whose tissues overlie a flexible internal skeleton and reef builders which are stony corals that produce hard, heavy calcium carbonate external skeletons. There are three different types of reefs. They are Fringing reefs, Barrier reefs and Atolls. Fringing reefs are reefs that grow attached to the shoreline. Most fringing reefs are found in the Florida Keys. Barrier reefs typically grow along the outer edges of continental shelves. The Great Barrier Reef is an example of this. Atolls are circular reefs enclosing lagoons, such as Bikini Atoll.

Abiotic Factors:

¨ Salinity 30-40 parts per thousand.

¨  Temperature is 68-82 F (Depending on location)

¨ pH is 7.8

¨ Depth is 200 ft

¨ 14lbs for per square inch for every 30ft.

¨ Dissolved oxygen ranges from 23-112% saturation

The Coral Reefs Today:

Coral reefs are slowly diminishing away due to humans. 25% of the world’s reefs are already gone or severely damaged. Also another 1/3 of coral reefs are degraded and threatened. This was caused by overexploitation of resources for substances and commercial fishing. This was also caused by the increasing of coastal communities and the population of these communities are expected to double in the next 40-50 years. Some coral reefs are being infected by diseases due to poor water quality and pollutants from the surrounding cities.