32_Global_Warming_and_Coral_Recap

32_Global_Warming_and_Coral_Recap - A Recap and Some...

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1 A Recap and Some Additional Comments on Coral Reefs and Global Warming Drew Power Cord Coral Reefs Corals colony of many individual polyps Polyp Polyp Calcium Carbonate Support Structure
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2 Zooxanthellae are chlorophyll- containing algal symbionts that live in the tissue of each coral polyp Virtually all the beautiful colors seen in coral reefs come from the pigments in the Zooxanthellae Components of Coral Physiology Animal Polyp Food (small zooplankton prey) Animal Polyp Metabolism Produces CO 2 , phosphate and ammonia that is used by the algal zooxanthellae for growth Algal Zooxanthellae Photosynthesis produces organic carbon compounds (e.g., sugars) that are used as food for the growth of the animal polyp. Corals receive 60- 90% nutrition from photosynthetic-derived products!!! zooxanthellae Limits to Coral Growth 1. Temperature 2. Sunlight 3. Space to Grow 4. Predation
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3 Temperature – Limits Corals to Tropical Latitudes – Optimal 26-28°C –R e s t r i c t e d 1 8 - 3 6 ° C Light – Limits corals to a depth range extending from the ocean surface down to maximum of about 25 meters – Light required for zooxanthellae to photosynthesize Space to Grow…
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4 Predation Coral Reef Formation
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5 Coral Reef Formation involves a race between: 1. upward rate of coral accumulation as they continually grow on top of older coral 2. downward rate of island sinking as they move off a hotspot, cool and subside under the ocean Theory of Reef Formation Proposed by Charles Darwin Types of Reefs 1) Fringing 2) Barrier 3) Atoll Note: if an islands sink faster than coral can grow upwards, they are “drowned” when the tops of the coral drops below about 25 meters (too dark for any more coral growth Fringing Reef off Mayotte
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6 Great Barrier Reef, Australia Atoll off the coast of Belize Coral Bleaching 1. Coral bleaching is the name given to an event where corals expel their symbiotic zooxanthellae algae due to extreme stress, such as unusually warm water 2. Corals can recover and regain their zooxanthellae if the stress is small or short- lived 3. Coral death follows if the stress is extreme and/or prolonged .
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7 http://www.reefpix.org/albums/album62/DSCN1595.jpg Mass Bleaching Events If stressful conditions, such as high water temperatures, prevail at a regional level, large areas of coral reef can be affected in what is known as a mass bleaching event.
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32_Global_Warming_and_Coral_Recap - A Recap and Some...

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