Caribbean Coral Reef

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Caribbean Coral Reef

Caribbean Coral Reef

The Caribbean coordinates are:14.5256° N, 75.8183° WThe reefs are prominent in 17 countries, five of them being:1. Aruba 2. Cayman Islands3. Barbados4. Antigua5. Turks and Caicos

Producers:PlanktonSeaweedsSeagrassesPrimary Consumers:ZooplanktonCoral PolypsSpongesSecondary Consumers:Parrot FishLobstersTurtlesTertiary Consumers:Reef SharksDolphins Barracudas

Abiotic Factors: Temperature, Light, Salinity, Depth, and Wave Motions. Geographic Features:Coral reefs are physical formations primarily comprised of corals which are small invertebrate marine animals. An individual coral, also called a polyp, is cylindrically shaped with an exoskeleton. The exoskeletons give each polyp a hard rock-like outer body and a sac-like inner body. Chemically, corals secrete calcium carbonate from their bodies, which form their exoskeletons. Since corals remain immobile individual polyps cluster together and form colonies, which allow them to secrete calcium carbonate and form coral reefs.Limiting Factors:Temperature is one of the most important limiting factors. Their distribution on earth shows that corals need a relatively high sea temperature, between approximately 18 and 30°C. This explains their occurrence between 30°N and 30°S around the equator. Another important limiting factor would be water clarity, in order for the light to reach the coral's zooxanthellae in order to photosynthesize.

The video below demonstrates the threats to the Caribbean Coral Reef ecosystem.

Although the secondary and tertiary consumers are set in the same column under 'secondary consumers,' I chose this food web because it was a great depiction utilizing the arrows (transfer of energy) properly.

Keystone Species:Ivory tree coral (Oculina varicosa)This Caribbean coral is a slow growing and delicate branching coral whose thickets provide a home to various reef fish. Ivory tree coral is considered a keystone species, meaning that its own health indicates the health of the ecosystem around it – thus, it’s telling that these corals have been decimated by destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling which has killed about 30 percent of the population across its range.Endangered Species:Acropora palmata - Elkhorn coralAcropora cervicornis - Staghorn coralDendrogyra cylindrus - Pillar coralMycetophyllia ferox - Rough cactus coralOrbicella annularis - Lobed star coralOrbicella faveolata - Mountainous star coralOrbicella franksi - Boulder star coral

Economic Impacts:The Caribbean Coral Reefs bring in large amounts of tourism, especially from cruise lines, that helps these countries make the money that they need. The coral reefs also bring in fish to the area, making it easier for the local fishermen to make their catches.

BibliographyWorks Cited"About Caribbean Coral Reefs." Travel Tips. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.By, Edited, and Jeremy Jackson • Mary Donovan • Katie Cramer • Vivian. (n.d.): n. pag. Web."Caribbean Coral Reefs." : Types, Characteristics, Marine Life. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2014."CORAL CONSERVATION." Coral Conservation. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2014."Corals." :: NOAA Fisheries. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.Jackson, Jeremy, and Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. "We Can Save the Caribbean’s Coral Reefs." The New York Times. The New York Times, 17 Sept. 2014. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.N.p., n.d. Web."Parrotfish Key to Reef Survival." Parrotfish Key to Reef Survival. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2014."Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History." SI NMNH Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2014."To Save Coral Reefs, Start With Parrotfish." Voices. N.p., 02 July 2014. Web. 13 Dec. 2014.

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