M01 Ecosystems – Coral Reefs


M01 Introduction

Ecology of coral reefs
A reef is defined as any underwater structure that poses an obstacle to ships, and a coral reef is therefore technically an underwater obstacle or structure with an associated coral community. A more ecological definition is that a coral reef is an ecosystem based on an underwater structure created by the calcium carbonate skeletons produced by corals. Corals themselves are marine invertebrates with a similar structure to sea anemones, although they are generally smaller and tend to live in groups called colonies. Coral reef ecosystems are found in tropical oceans, as corals require relatively high water temperatures to survive.


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