Coral reefs are the most diverse and beautiful of all marine habitats. Large wave resistant structures have accumulated from the slow growth of corals. The development of these structures is aided by algae that are symbiotic with reef-building corals, known as zooxanthellae. Coralline algae, sponges, and other organisms, combined with a number of cementation processes also contribute to reef growth.
The dominant organisms are known as framework builders, because they provide the matrix for the growing reef. Corals and coralline algae precipitate calcium carbonate, whereas the framework- building sponges may also precipitate silica. Most of these organisms are colonial, and the slow process of precipitation moves the living surface layer of …Read more >