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Coral
Corals are marine invertebrates within the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically form compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. Coral species include the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton. A coral "group" is a colony of very many genetically identical polyps. Each polyp is a sac-like animal typically only a few millimeters in diameter and a few centimeters in height. A set of tentacles surround a central mouth opening. Each polyp excretes an exoskeleton near the base. Over many generations, the colony thus creates a skeleton characteristic of the species which can measure up to several meters in size. Individual colonies grow by asexual reproduction of polyps. Corals also breed sexually by spawning: polyps of the same species release gametes simultaneously overnight, often around a full moon. Fertilized eggs form planulae, a mobile early form of the coral polyp which, whe ...
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Coral Reef
A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology), polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups. Coral belongs to the Class (biology), class Anthozoa in the animal phylum Cnidaria, which includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Unlike sea anemones, corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons that support and protect the coral. Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated water. Coral reefs first appeared 485 million years ago, at the dawn of the Early Ordovician, displacing the microbial and sponge reefs of the Cambrian. Sometimes called ''rainforests of the sea'', shallow coral reefs form some of Earth's most diverse ecosystems. They occupy less than 0.1% of the world's ocean area, about half the area of France, yet they provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species, including fis ...
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Coral Outcrop Flynn Reef
Corals are marine invertebrates within the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria. They typically form compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. Coral species include the important reef builders that inhabit tropical oceans and secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton. A coral "group" is a colony of very many genetically identical polyps. Each polyp is a sac-like animal typically only a few millimeters in diameter and a few centimeters in height. A set of tentacles surround a central mouth opening. Each polyp excretes an exoskeleton near the base. Over many generations, the colony thus creates a skeleton characteristic of the species which can measure up to several meters in size. Individual colonies grow by asexual reproduction of polyps. Corals also breed sexually by spawning: polyps of the same species release gametes simultaneously overnight, often around a full moon. Fertilized eggs form planulae, a mobile early form of the coral polyp which, whe ...
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Anthozoa
Anthozoa is a subphylum of marine invertebrates which includes the sea anemones, stony corals and soft corals. Adult anthozoans are almost all attached to the seabed, while their larvae can disperse as part of the plankton. The basic unit of the adult is the polyp; this consists of a cylindrical column topped by a disc with a central mouth surrounded by tentacles. Sea anemones are mostly solitary, but the majority of corals are colonial, being formed by the budding of new polyps from an original, founding individual. Colonies are strengthened by calcium carbonate and other materials and take various massive, plate-like, bushy or leafy forms. Anthozoa is included within the phylum Cnidaria, which also includes the jellyfish, box jellies and parasitic Myxozoa and Polypodiozoa. The two main subclasses of Anthozoa are the Hexacorallia, members of which have six-fold symmetry and includes the stony corals, sea anemones, tube anemones and zoanthids; and the Octocorallia, whi ...
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Antipatharia
Antipatharians, also known as black corals or thorn corals, are an order of soft deep-water corals. These corals can be recognized by their jet-black or dark brown chitin skeletons, surrounded by the polyps (part of coral that is alive). Antipatharians are a cosmopolitan order, existing at nearly every location and depth, with the sole exception of brackish waters. However, they are most frequently found on continental slopes under deep. A black coral reproduces both sexually and asexually throughout its lifetime. Many black corals provide housing, shelter, food, and protection for other animals. Black corals were originally classified in the subclass Ceriantipatharia along with ceriantharians (tube-dwelling anemones), but were later reclassified under Hexacorallia. Though they have historically been used by Pacific Islanders for medical treatment and in rituals, its only modern use is making jewelry. Black corals have been declining in numbers and are expected to continue de ...
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Scleractinia
Scleractinia, also called stony corals or hard corals, are marine animals in the phylum Cnidaria that build themselves a hard skeleton. The individual animals are known as polyps and have a cylindrical body crowned by an oral disc in which a mouth is fringed with tentacles. Although some species are solitary, most are colonial. The founding polyp settles and starts to secrete calcium carbonate to protect its soft body. Solitary corals can be as much as across but in colonial species the polyps are usually only a few millimetres in diameter. These polyps reproduce asexually by budding, but remain attached to each other, forming a multi-polyp colony of clones with a common skeleton, which may be up to several metres in diameter or height according to species. The shape and appearance of each coral colony depends not only on the species, but also on its location, depth, the amount of water movement and other factors. Many shallow-water corals contain symbiont unicellular org ...
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Polyp (zoology)
A polyp in zoology is one of two forms found in the phylum Cnidaria, the other being the medusa. Polyps are roughly cylindrical in shape and elongated at the axis of the vase-shaped body. In solitary polyps, the aboral (opposite to oral) end is attached to the substrate by means of a disc-like holdfast called a pedal disc, while in colonies of polyps it is connected to other polyps, either directly or indirectly. The oral end contains the mouth, and is surrounded by a circlet of tentacles. Classes In the class Anthozoa, comprising the sea anemones and corals, the individual is always a polyp; in the class Hydrozoa, however, the individual may be either a polyp or a medusa, with most species undergoing a life cycle with both a polyp stage and a medusa stage. In class Scyphozoa, the medusa stage is dominant, and the polyp stage may or may not be present, depending on the family. In those scyphozoans that have the larval planula metamorphose into a polyp, the po ...
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Alcyonacea
Alcyonacea, or soft corals, are an order of corals. In addition to the fleshy soft corals, the order Alcyonacea now contains all species previously known as "gorgonian corals", that produce a more or less hard skeleton, though quite different from "true" corals (Scleractinia). These can be found in suborders Holaxonia, Scleraxonia, and Stolonifera. They are sessile colonial cnidarians that are found throughout the oceans of the world, especially in the deep sea, polar waters, tropics and subtropics. Common names for subsets of this order are sea fans and sea whips; others are similar to the sea pens of related order Pennatulacea. Individual tiny polyps form colonies that are normally erect, flattened, branching, and reminiscent of a fan. Others may be whiplike, bushy, or even encrusting. A colony can be several feet high and across, but only a few inches thick. They may be brightly coloured, often purple, red, or yellow. Photosynthetic gorgonians can be successfully kept ...
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Spawn (biology)
Spawn is the eggs and sperm released or deposited into water by aquatic animals. As a verb, ''to spawn'' refers to the process of releasing the eggs and sperm, and the act of both sexes is called spawning. Most aquatic animals, except for aquatic mammals and reptiles, reproduce through the process of spawning. Spawn consists of the reproductive cells (gametes) of many aquatic animals, some of which will become fertilized and produce offspring. The process of spawning typically involves females releasing ova (unfertilized eggs) into the water, often in large quantities, while males simultaneously or sequentially release spermatozoa ( milt) to fertilize the eggs. Most fish reproduce by spawning, as do most other aquatic animals, including crustaceans such as crabs and shrimps, molluscs such as oysters and squid, echinoderms such as sea urchins and sea cucumbers, amphibians such as frogs and newts, aquatic insects such as mayflies and mosquitoes and corals, which are actually sma ...
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Diploria Labyrinthiformis
''Diploria'' is a monotypic genus of massive reef building stony corals in the family Mussidae. It is represented by a single species, ''Diploria labyrinthiformis'', commonly known as grooved brain coral and is found in the western Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. It has a familiar, maze-like appearance. Description This species of reef-building coral has a hemispherical, brain-like shape with a brown, yellow, or grey colour. It has characteristic deep, interconnected double-valleys. These polyp-bearing valleys are each separated by grooved ambulacral ridges. There may be a difference in colour between the valleys and the grooves. ''Diploria labyrinthiformis'' can grow upward at a rate of approximately 3.5 millimeters per year, achieving about in diameter. During its planktonic larval stage, the coral has locomotion. After that time, it becomes permanently sessile. This species is a suspension feeder, and survives mainly on zooplankton and bacteria. These are captured by th ...
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Cnidaria
Cnidaria () is a phylum under kingdom Animalia containing over 11,000 species of aquatic animals found both in freshwater and marine environments, predominantly the latter. Their distinguishing feature is cnidocytes, specialized cells that they use mainly for capturing prey. Their bodies consist of mesoglea, a non-living jelly-like substance, sandwiched between two layers of epithelium that are mostly one cell thick. Cnidarians mostly have two basic body forms: swimming medusae and sessile polyps, both of which are radially symmetrical with mouths surrounded by tentacles that bear cnidocytes. Both forms have a single orifice and body cavity that are used for digestion and respiration. Many cnidarian species produce colonies that are single organisms composed of medusa-like or polyp-like zooids, or both (hence they are trimorphic). Cnidarians' activities are coordinated by a decentralized nerve net and simple receptors. Several free-swimming species of Cubozo ...
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Unicellular
A unicellular organism, also known as a single-celled organism, is an organism that consists of a single cell, unlike a multicellular organism that consists of multiple cells. Organisms fall into two general categories: prokaryotic organisms and eukaryotic organisms. All prokaryotes are unicellular and are classified into bacteria and archaea. Many eukaryotes are multicellular, but some are unicellular such as protozoa, unicellular algae, and unicellular fungi. Unicellular organisms are thought to be the oldest form of life, with early protocells possibly emerging 3.8–4.0 billion years ago. Although some prokaryotes live in colonies, they are not specialised cells with differing functions. These organisms live together, and each cell must carry out all life processes to survive. In contrast, even the simplest multicellular organisms have cells that depend on each other to survive. Most multicellular organisms have a unicellular life-cycle stage. Gametes, for example, are ...
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Fish
Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and Chondrichthyes, cartilaginous and bony fish as well as various extinct related groups. Approximately 95% of living fish species are ray-finned fish, belonging to the class Actinopterygii, with around 99% of those being teleosts. The earliest organisms that can be classified as fish were soft-bodied chordates that first appeared during the Cambrian period. Although they lacked a vertebrate, true spine, they possessed notochords which allowed them to be more agile than their invertebrate counterparts. Fish would continue to evolve through the Paleozoic era, diversifying into a wide variety of forms. Many fish of the Paleozoic developed placodermi, external armor that protected them from predators. The first fish with jaws appeared in the Silurian period, after which many (such as sharks) b ...
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