Coral Reefs – The Big Cities of the Sea Science Game
This science game helps children to practice about coral reefs. You've probably heard the phrase "big cities of the sea." The fact is, Coral Reefs exist because their growth is equal to or exceeds the rate of death. The race is on between wrecking balls and construction cranes, between new coral skeletons and organisms that eat away at coral skeletons to the sand below. Corals need sunlight to grow and thrive. But, with the pollution that we've been subjected to, can we truly expect to see them around us for decades?
Corals are living organisms
Corals are marine invertebrates that are classified into subclasses called "species." Generally, they form a compact colony of many identical polyps. Corals secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton and are important reef builders. Corals are also a type of plant; they form a living habitat in the water and serve as natural pest control.
They require sunlight to grow
While corals can tolerate ocean temperatures of 61-95degF, the optimal range for growing corals is 73-77degF or 23-25degC. Most tropics have such temperatures, but there are areas that experience cool water currents. In addition, warm water currents move towards subtropical areas, allowing coral reefs to survive in those regions. The primary reason why reefs can only grow in certain areas is that these are free from rivers, as rivers block the sunlight to corals and prevent growth.
They are vulnerable to pollution
Today, over 60 percent of coral reefs are under threat, due to human activities like overfishing, inland pollution, and coastal development. The loss of these ecosystems puts much of the world's marine biodiversity at risk. Although these ecosystems provide food and livelihood for billions of people, they also play a vital role in coastal protection and are important for research and development of new drugs for drug-resistant diseases. Yet, coral reefs are among the least protected habitats on the planet.
They provide shelter for a variety of marine life
Known for their colorful array, coral reefs are a haven for a variety of marine life. More than 4,000 species of fish and other animals call coral reefs home. The ecosystems of coral reefs are supported by oceanic processes such as the exchange of nutrients, seawater, and sediments. Coral reefs help maintain the health of ocean ecosystems and are considered a valuable resource for marine life.
They are a valuable natural resource
Coral Reefs are an invaluable natural resource that are crucial to the ocean's ecosystem. They provide habitat for many species, protect coastlines from storms, provide food and recreation, and are a potential source of medicines. Over half a billion people live off of coral reefs. In addition, they contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to local economies each year through fishing and diving. They are also important cultural assets for indigenous communities worldwide.