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Coral Reefs
Primary Producers on Coral Reefs

What's a primary Producer?

Organisms that occupy the first trophic level in the grazing food chain. These organisms are photosynthetic autotrophs.

Zooxanthellae are primary producers in coral reef communities. Zooxanthallae are phytoplankton that are responsible for keeping a coral reef alive and growing. Coral and zooxanthallae have a mutualistic relationship, which means they depend apon each other to live. They aid in calcification which gives the reef it's strength and they're responsible for a reefs variety of magnificent colors. Zooxanthallae live symbiotically with in the coral and they are responsible for feeding the coral through photosynthesis.

What do zooxanthallae gain?

They live in the coral's polyps, which is very protective due to it's hard structure.

They gain nutrients from the corals metabolic wastes.

They also gain carbon dioxide from the coral

Turf Algae
turf algae  
Coralline red algae
coralline red algae

Coralline red algae are an important role in building tropical reef communities. Coralline red algae can form an algal ridge that absorbs wave energy and thereby protects the more delicate organisms that inhabit the sheltered lagoons and back-reef habitats.

 

Definitions

Symbiotically = a relationship between two types of animals or plants in which each provides for the other the conditions necessary for its continued existence

Phytoplankton = microscopic floating aquatic plants

Photosynthesis = the conversion of light energy into chemical energy:carbohydrates, (sugar and starch), are produced from carbon dioxide and water through the action of light on the chlorophyll of green plants. Oxgen is released in the process

Questions? Contact Ms. Kman at kmanjr@uwec.edu Page last updated Friday, October 29, 2004