Reader's Digest World Presents The Living Edens Palau-Paradise of the Pacific
Under the Sea

Land of the Unique: Menubar

Coral Reefs

Coral ReefsCoral reefs, composed of small animals called coral polyps, are an integral part of marine life. Only the upper layer of the coral reef is made up of living corals. While more than 600 species of coral exist, there are two main types of coral: soft and hard (stony) coral. Stony corals get their structure by taking calcium from the saltwater, which helps to create their hard outer shell. The stony coral only extends its polyps, while the soft coral's whole body swells. Polyps emerge when the coral is feeding. Some eat in the daytime, though others are nocturnal. Many coral reefs depend upon the sunlight to live, because most coral live on internal algae. Other animals live on this algae as well, and also rely on the coral's polyps, to survive. This makes most coral reefs vulnerable. For example, starfish eat the algae and polyps from the coral. A starfish can eat their own mass in coral in a single day. Other fish make the coral reef their home, either for themselves or for their offspring.



Home | Legends of Palau | A Titanic Interview | Under the Sea | Aquatic Classroom
Palau Resources
| Screen Saver | Palau Credits

Jellyfish Lakes Sea Anemones Parrotfish Moray Eel Sea Cucumber Saltwater Lakes Jellyfish Sharks Cuttlefish Coral Reefs