The Coral Polyps are the most biotic, distinct, and valuable ecosystem on Earth. In their life cycle, at some point, at least 25% of marine life, including over 4000 species of fish, is dependent on coral polyps or reefs. Moreover, a billion people are dependent on the coral reefs ecosystem for food, coastal protection, and income from tourism and fisheries. They live individually (like many mushrooms and corals do) or in colonies that encompass an entire reef structure. The total net benefit per year from the world’s coral reef is $29.8 billion that includes $9.6 billion of this amount from tourism, $9.0 billion from coastal protection, and many different marine species on the reef structure for $5.7 billion.
The Role Of Coral Polyps Or Reef:
Coral polyps or reefs provide the coral with food to survive that helps in resulting photosynthesis. They provide the cells with a protected environment and, therefore, the nutrients they have to hold out photosynthesis.
Three Main Types Of Coral Polyps Or Reef:
● Fringing reefs: They are the most common types of coral polyps or reefs. This reef grows directly seaward from the shore. The borders, the shoreline, and surrounding islands are covered in reefs.
● Barrier reefs: They are similar to fringing reefs. However, instead of flourishing directly out from the shore, they broke up from land by an ocean. This often creates deep water between the reef and shore.
● Atoll: Atolls are formed when a fringing reef grows upward from a volcanic island that has sunk entirely below sea level. They are usually oval, with an open lagoon in the middle.
● Hydrocorals: Hydrocorals are also called fire coral. These are reef-building hydroids. They have a hard calcareous exoskeleton. Its stinging cells can cause a burning sensation when touched.
● Octocorals: Octocorals are more commonly known as soft corals. These include sea fans and sea whips, which grow more like fleshy plants. They do not form calcium carbonate and skeleton structures.
● Antipatharians: Antipatharians are also known as black corals. They are another type of branching soft corals.
Coral Polyps Exist In Seven U.S. States And Territories, Including:
● Puerto Rico.
● U.S. Virgin Islands.
● American Samoa
● Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
What Coral Polyps/Reef Provide:
● Nursery grounds, spawning, feeding, and habitat for over 1 million aquatic species, including commercially harvested fish species.
● Tourism and entertainment opportunities, like fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling contribute billions of dollars to local economics.
● Protect the coastal framework and prevention of loss of life from storms, tsunamis, floods, and erosion.
● To treat diseases, sources of medicines, and other health problems.
To conclude, coral reefs are very important as they bring in billions of dollars to our economy through tourism, protect coastal homes from storms, support promising medical treatments, and provide a home for millions of aquatic species.