Also, mangrove forests have been linked to enhanced biomass and biodiversity of coral reef fishes [18, 21, 104, 107, 108]. Corals are composed of thin plates, or layers, of calcium carbonate secreted over time by hundreds of soft bodied animals called coral polyps. Figure 3.1 provides a general distribution of mangrove ecosystems in the NGoM. Mangrove forests were once generally dismissed as swampy wastelands. Special Microecosystem. This generally results in an increase in other herbivorous marine life, such as sea urchins. As in all photosynthesizing organisms, this means that corals must be exposed to a sufficient amount of sunlight. Polyps range in size from a pinhead to a foot in length. ecosystems function. Even if you don't live near a reef, students can learn that they can help protect coral reefs in the United States and around the world. An ecosystem is a self-contained unit of living things and their non-living environment. Shallow water, reef-building corals have a symbiotic relationship with photosynthetic algae called zooxanthellae, which live in their tissues. Ecosystem Services Both ecosystems are under serious threat. fisheries, coral reef cannot survive. Additionally, they filter the water column, prevent seabed erosion, and release oxygen essential for most marine life. Unlike their shallow water relatives, which rely heavily on photosynthesis to produce food, deep sea corals take in plankton and organic matter for much of their energy needs. Their submerged roots and detritus provide nursery, breeding, and feeding grounds for invertebrates, fish, birds, and other marine life. Coral Reef Biodiversity Biodiversity is the variety of living species that can be found in a particular place—region, ecosystem, planet, etc. Compare and contrast seagrass ecosystems with other halophyte-based ecosystems. Reefs are huge deposits of calcium carbonate made up mainly of corals. Marine ecosystems include nearshore systems, such as the salt marshes, mudflats, seagrass meadows, mangroves, rocky intertidal systems and coral reefs. Ask: Seagrass also provides protection and shelter for commercially valuable species such as stone crabs, snappers and lobsters. Coral reefs support more species per unit area than any other marine environment, including about 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals and hundreds of other species. Some threats are natural, such as diseases, predators, and storms. 19. These ecosystems are culturally important to indigenous people around the world. Additional . Describe ways in which people Prompt students to recognize trophic relationships between the mangrove and coral reef ecosystems. Kelp forest, coral reefs and open ocean ecosystems. Even areas hundreds of miles from the coast can effect the clarity and quality of water flowing to the reef. On healthy reefs, algae are kept at low levels thanks to intense grazing by herbivorous fish like parrotfish and surgeonfish. There is another very important element of the reef ecosystem that is often over looked: the land. Provide shelters and food to fish Textbook pages – 43-44 & 48-50 Coral reefs are a unique marine ecosystem. Mangrove forests play an important role in a coastal ecosystem. The coral provides a protected environment and the compounds zooxanthellae need for photosynthesis. Numerous independent or interacting factors control the condition, sustainability, and distribution of mangrove ecosystems. Explain why freshwater fish cannot survive in salt water. Corals are already a gift. They teem with life, with perhaps one-quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. Because of the diversity of life found in the habitats created by corals, reefs are often called the "rainforests of the sea." 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