Coral Reefs – Up Close

Coral ReefsAmbience: Underwater sounds, Great Barrier Reef Today a close-up look at a coral reef. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Trotz: Coral reefs are gorgeous underwater systems built and inhabited by different types of corals and other marine life. Maya Trotz is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of South Florida. We’re listening to sounds recorded along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.Trotz: Corals themselves are animals. They are invertebrates. Many individual coral polyps band together to make up a particular coral. And the polyps vary in size about 1.5 centimeters to 15 centimeters in diameter.Many polyps look a bit like sea anemones, fleshy cups surrounded by tentacles.Trotz: While some polyps eat small marine life, most derive their energy from algae, known as zooxanthellae. [00:01:15.14] And these are algae that actually live inside the polyp’s body. And the clear and colorless polyp provides a home and Carbon Dioxide for the algae. And the algae produces energy for the polyp and gives it its color. And as the polyp grows, it produces calcium carbonate, which provides the hard reef structure that we are more familiar with.So it’s a classic example of symbiosis, the polyp providing shelter and the algae contributing energy. Reefs are found in oceans around the world and they are endangered. We’ll hear more in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

Coral Reefs - Up Close

A classic example of symbiosis.
Air Date:03/04/2021
Scientist:
Transcript:

Coral ReefsAmbience: Underwater sounds, Great Barrier Reef Today a close-up look at a coral reef. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Trotz: Coral reefs are gorgeous underwater systems built and inhabited by different types of corals and other marine life. Maya Trotz is a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of South Florida. We're listening to sounds recorded along Australia's Great Barrier Reef.Trotz: Corals themselves are animals. They are invertebrates. Many individual coral polyps band together to make up a particular coral. And the polyps vary in size about 1.5 centimeters to 15 centimeters in diameter.Many polyps look a bit like sea anemones, fleshy cups surrounded by tentacles.Trotz: While some polyps eat small marine life, most derive their energy from algae, known as zooxanthellae. [00:01:15.14] And these are algae that actually live inside the polyp's body. And the clear and colorless polyp provides a home and Carbon Dioxide for the algae. And the algae produces energy for the polyp and gives it its color. And as the polyp grows, it produces calcium carbonate, which provides the hard reef structure that we are more familiar with.So it's a classic example of symbiosis, the polyp providing shelter and the algae contributing energy. Reefs are found in oceans around the world and they are endangered. We'll hear more in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.