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Microbial photosynthesis in coral reef sediments …

Producers: Coral reefs are a home to both chemoautotrophs and autotrophs capable of photosynthesis

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Photosynthesis - red sea coral reef

OBJECTIVES: A) to provide students with the physiological and biochemicalbases of photosynthesis as well as the mechanisms that regulatephotosynthesis in the aquatic environment with particular emphasis oncoral reefs and coral reef dwelling organisms and B) to provide technicaltraining in the methods commonly used to study photosynthesis.

Coral Reefs Coral Reefs are the “Rainforests” of the ocean

Determination of efficient (photosynthetically speaking) light sources is important for several reasons. Economy in the costs of maintaining a coral reef aquarium certainly is a concern, but the health of zooxanthellae and hence their animal host should be of primary importance. Aesthetic concerns, such as the promotion of coral coloration through expression of fluorescent proteins and non-fluorescent chromoproteins, are of interest to many.

Coral Reef Bleaching - Marine Biology Learning Center

Corals are found across the world’s ocean, in both shallow and deep water, but reef-building corals are only found in shallow tropical and subtropical waters. This is because the algae found in their tissues need light for photosynthesis and they prefer water temperatures between 70-85°F (22-29°C).

Coral reefs are among the most beautiful ecosystems in the world but are also among the most susceptible to human impacts and are damaged or destroyed with alarming ease. Practices such as over-fishing, the use of dynamite or poison to capture fish and dropping boat anchors on corals have produced enormous damage. Even an accidental touch from divers and snorkelers can significantly damage the delicate coral polyps. Pollution, silting from land-based construction, and fertilizer runoff have led to damage to coral reefs worldwide by blocking the sunlight corals require for photosynthesis by their symbiotic algae. Rising sea temperatures from global warming can also destroy corals by ending the symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae. Hurricanes and earthquakes, which can also lead to significant damage to the reefs, are nonetheless generally viewed as a natural cycle of the ecosystem. However, when a coral reef has been damaged from human effects, it may have a more difficult time recovering from natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes.

FAQ - Global Coral Reef Alliance

Reef building coral are successful because they have formed a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae algae (Symbiodinium species). These single-celled algae live inside the coral polyp and producing food by photosynthesis. The polyp receives some of this food. In return the polyp provides shelter and nutrients to the algae. This gives reef-building coral two sources of food; the food they catch, and food from zooxanthellae. Zooxanthellae supply up to 95% of a polyp’s food requirements and it is this extra food that enables coral to build reefs.

Color deepens to dark brown shortly after removal from water and can reach around 50 pounds.
Both young and adult fish live in inshore holes and ledges



Most reef-building corals contain zooxanthellae, a photosynthetic algae, they have a mutualistic relationship.

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  • Corals and Coral Reefs | Smithsonian Ocean Portal

    Introduction Coral reefs are found in circumtropical shallow tropical waters along the shores of islands and continents

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Coral Reef Formation - MarineBio

Shallow water corals that live in warm water often have another source of food, the (pronounced zo-o-zan-THELL-ee). These single-celled algae photosynthesize and pass some of the food they make from the sun’s energy to their hosts, and in exchange the coral animal gives nutrients to the algae. It is this relationship that allows shallow water corals to grow fast enough to build the enormous structures we call reefs. The zooxanthellae also provide much of the color that corals have.

Threats to Coral Reefs (#2) - MBGnet

Zoom into a coral reef and discover photosynthetic algae inside the coral’s cells. Reef-building corals rely on these symbionts for their survival.

Human Contact: Touching Reefs, even slightly, can harm them

Zoom into a coral reef and discover photosynthetic algae inside the coral’s cells. Reef-building corals rely on these symbionts for their survival.

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