Importance of Coral Reef Ecosystems

Coral Reef Ecosystems

Coral Reef Ecosystems

If you are thinking about getting a fish tank for your home, or already have a few underwater pets, you may be looking for some coral reefs to make your fish’s home complete. However, did you know that coral reefs are more than just decorations for your aquarium? Here is some information about the coral reef biome that may help you find the right tank accessories.

For coral reef ecosystems, the sun is the main source of energy. Photosynthesis, algae, and plankton also contribute to the growth of coral reefs, which helps the light energy in the coral to be converted to chemical energy. This energy is passed on in the underwater ecosystem as other sea creatures eat other animals or coral reef plant life.

Human Impacts on Coral Reefs

Coral Reef Ecosystems Animals

There are a number of coral reef ecosystems that suit a number of different animals. Sponges, which are one of the most common parts of the ecosystem house small animals like crab and shrimp, as well as a number of small fish. Sponges appear in a number of shapes and colors and can be quite beautiful. There are also sea anemones, which are closely related to corals. Clown fish and anemone fish make their homes in the tentacles of these structures, and the anemone fish even remove parasites from the sea anemone.

Coral reef ecosystems also include bryozoans. These organisms live on the outskirts of the coral reef and they cement the structure of the reef. Sea urchins, along with sea stars and cucumbers also live on the reef, and the sea star is actually a predator of coral polyps, which means that too many sea stars can damage the reef and leave behind only calcium carbonate. This breakdown in the food chain, affects the population of deep-sea fish in the area, and will reduce the amount of large fish and game.

There are also a number of animals that live in the coral branches. Crab and lobster make up the coral reef ecosystems as well, but these crustaceans are also predators and crush sea urchins with their claws. The coral shrimp is another protective predator that removes parasites and dead skin from the fish that live in and on the reef.

If you are planning to go deep sea diving, you may even see some small reptiles that belong in the coral reef habitat. Sea snakes do not actually live on the reefs, but they live in the areas of water around the coral reef. Their fangs are very small, but the venom is potent, so it is best to admire this animal from afar. Different types of turtles live around the coral reef as well; sea turtles live in the warm water along the Great Barrier Reef.

Now that you know a little about the animals that make up the coral reef ecosystems, you will know just how to decorate a new home for your fish.

Page Updated: August 16, 2018
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