Quick Facts about Coral

1.QUESTION:  Are all corals pink?
      Answer: No!  Most are not!  Corals get their color from the algae living within them and most Bermudian coral are yellow or green, with some purples that stand out.  Bermuda's famous pink beaches are produced by eroded foraminiferan shells called tests.  Foraminiferans are one celled animals whose thread-like pesudopodia extend through holes in its test.  Oh yes coralline algae, an algae that  produces a calcareous skeleton is often redish!  It even looks like coral! 

2. QUESTION: Corals seem so inanimate.  Do they interact with each other?
      Answer: There is serious competition in the coral reef.  Two ways corals compete for space are, overgrowing or directly attacking  neighbors who might receive a sting.

3. QUESTION: Why is Bermuda's water so clear and blue?
      Answer: When sunlight composed of the spectrum of colors strikes water, blue is the color scattered most by the water molecules.  Thus more blue is reflected back to the surface.  (The sky is blue for the same reason) The brilliant blue of Bermuda's oceans is due to the purity of the waters - they contain little organic matter and few organic waste products. 

4. QUESTION: How long can a coral reef live for?
      Answer: Forever... well, coral polyps do not age, rather they grow for  potentially 100s to 1000s of years, building their skeleton over time.  To destroy coral, physical destruction, predation by fish, disease, or  disruptions to their environment are necessary. 

5. QUESTION: What kind of animal is a seahorse?(It is found in Bermuda!)
      Answer: It is actually a type of fish, usually found in warm, temperate to tropical waters that are shallow.  Male seahorses are the parent who cares for the young! 

6. QUESTION: Tropical waters are extremely low in nutrients - how does a vibrant reef survive?
      Answer: Nutrients are recycled between zooxanthellae (symbiotic algae living in polyps) and the coral and nitrogen is fixed by organisms on the reef. 

7. QUESTION:  Where is the world's largest coral reef?
      Answer: It is located in the Caribbean Ocean off the coast of Belize. 

8. QUESTION: How might global warming affect the coral reefs of the world?
      Answer: Scientists predict that with global warming, ocean temperatures will rise and the polar ice will begin to melt.  This results in a rise in sea level which would make it harder for the light to reach the coral and their symbiotic zooxanthellae.If the zooxanthellae die,  this will have a serious, possibly deadly affect on the coral. 

9. QUESTION: How can we help to preserve the coral reefs?
      Answer: Basic things people can do include not allowing boats, boat anchors or snorkeling/diving individuals to come in contact with the  reef. This permanently damages the polyps.  Keep the coral's environment clean by not adding waste, pesticides, fertilizers to sea water.  Reducing emissions from all forms of combustion will decrease the greenhouse effect thus reducing global warming.