NOAA's National Ocean Service: Diagram of coral and zooxanthellae relationship
Symbiosis. • Photosynthesis An art project to show the relationship between coral and zooxanthellae, photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Read it! What's on Coral Feeding Quiz 3. How many polyps can make up an individual coral ?. Coral polyps have a symbiotic relationship with tiny plant-like That's the symbiosis: The zooxanthellae get sunlight and protection; the coral polyps get food. . Take the quiz today and see how much you have learned. What type of relationship does zooxanthellae have with coral and explain what each organism does in their relationship. •They have a mutualistic relationship.
The relationship between the algae and coral polyp facilitates a tight recycling of nutrients in nutrient-poor tropical waters.
Zooxanthellae and Coral Bleaching | Smithsonian Ocean
In fact, as much as 90 percent of the organic material photosynthetically produced by the zooxanthellae is transferred to the host coral tissue Sumich, This is the driving force behind the growth and productivity of coral reefs Barnes, ; Levinton, Coral polyps, which are animals, and zooxanthellae, the plant cells that live within them, have a mutualistic relationship. Click the image to see an animation. In addition to providing corals with essential nutrients, zooxanthellae are responsible for the unique and beautiful colors of many stony corals.
Sometimes when corals become physically stressed, the polyps expel their algal cells and the colony takes on a stark white appearance.
If the polyps go for too long without zooxanthellae, coral bleaching can result in the coral's death. Bleaching spells trouble for coral reefs.
The reef suffered a mass bleaching event in the summer ofwhen water temperatures were unusually high. Bleached corals have lowered defenses against disease, so often will suffer further damage and death as disease moves in after a bleaching event.
In this photo, healthy brown coral gives way to the frontlines of disease. Amanda Feuerstein It can be hard for coral to recover for a bleaching event.
The best bet is the some healthy tissue still remains deep in the skeleton and, if conditions improve, this coral can grow and recover, spreading to the rest of the skeleton. The corals pictured here are still in recovery after a mass bleaching in Panama in the summer of The reef is oversquare miles and stretches for approximately 1, miles along the northweast coast of Australia.
- Smithsonian Institution
- Close-up of a Coral Polyp
- Zooxanthellae What's That?
These living, growing, changing structures thrive in waters within a degree band north and south of the Equator. The water must be shallow.
Spotlight: Coral Reefs
The weather must be sunny. There must be very few nutrients in the vicinity. Water with few nutrients? It seems to make no sense…. Coral polyps have a very particular way of thriving.
Symbiosis is an interdependence, or close association, between two organisms. In a symbiotic relationship, both organisms benefit.
Zooxanthellae live in the cells of the polyp where they have access to sunlight. The zooxanthellae use the light to perform photosynthesis and produce food, which is shared with the coral. The zooxanthellae get sunlight and protection; the coral polyps get food. The zooxanthellae would not be able to perform photosynthesis and produce food, and neither the zooxanthellae nor the coral would be able to survive.
Coral polyps live in colonies. While the individuals in a colony may be tiny, a colony can grow quite large and weigh many tons. The array of shapes and colors is pretty amazing.