Posted on Sep 6, 2021 45
Corals are incredibly slow to grow, and very easy to damage. But despite all the difficulties, these tiny microorganisms are capable of “building” objects larger than anything ever built by humanity. Millions of people even live on islands made possible by coral.
- The world’s largest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef, comprises 2,900 individual islets.
- Some reefs can live for tens of thousands of years and still grow continuously.
- Corals are not plants. They are intestinal marine animals, and their close relatives are jellyfish.
- Coral reefs are the most diverse marine ecosystems on Earth and have been around for over 400 million years.
- Reefs contribute to the better quality of the surrounding water. They act as a filter, trapping microorganisms floating in the water.
- The total area of coral islands and reefs on Earth reaches 27 million square kilometers.
- About 60% of them are on the verge of extinction because of human activities.
- There are about 6,000 different species of coral in the world.
- The Great Barrier Reef, the largest living thing on our planet, is over 2,500 kilometers long.
- On average, a coral polyp grows a few millimeters a year. But some species also grow by 1-2 cm annually.
- Twenty-five species of coral are used in jewelry.
- Their comfortable temperature range is very narrow, ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. If the water is significantly colder or warmer, they begin to die. The minimum suitable temperature for them - 21 degrees.
- Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean, but are home to 25% of all marine species.
- All coral species can be roughly divided into two broad categories, hard and soft.
- Profits from “coral” tourism are dozens of times greater than tropical fisheries.
- There are 109 countries in the world that have coral reefs in their territory.
- There are about 350 shades of coral polyps in the world. The color depends on the presence of organic impurities in the water.
- Reefs help protect coastlines from erosion and storm waves.
- Corals need sunlight to grow, so they rarely grow at depths of over 14-15 meters.
- Excessive ultraviolet light is detrimental to them.
- Coral colonies are more likely to grow in places with strong currents. The currents simply provide their ecosystem with more food and nutrients.
- Reefs can begin to grow on the surfaces of sunken ships. Sometimes, ships that have served their time are even intentionally sunk in shallow waters to make them a home for these creatures.
- One of the starfish species feeds on coral, and these animals cause significant damage to reefs.
- The oldest coral in the world was found in Yakutia. Thanks to modern technology, it was found that the age of the relic reaches 480 million years.
- Corals have a resemblance to annual rings, like trees.