The Importance of Coral Reefs (Essay Sample)
To WRITE about an environmental ISSUE. This article is about corals and their importancesource..
The Importance of Coral Reefs
Have you ever looked down the ocean and seen bright, colorful plants swaying with the waves? Those “plants” are actually animals called corals! Corals belong to the group cnidarians, spineless marine creatures cousins to the jellyfish and sea anemone. The “rocks” commonly found beside those “plants” are also corals.
Corals are made up of a polyp and a calyx. Polyps are the tentacle-like structures we readily see. They are also the actual coral animals. They secrete calcium carbonate (limestone) to form a protective cup — the calyx, this anchors them to the ocean floor.
Corals have two types: hard and soft. Hard corals are so named because of their hard skeleton which is made of limestone (calcium carbonate). They are the “architects of coral reefs”, the reef-builders (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Program [SPREP], 2003). Soft corals, although once believed to be decorative only, serves as a habitat for marine creatures. They also produce bioactive compounds which attracted interest from pharmaceutical companies for prospective development in medicine Vinithkumar et al. (2008).
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