ABOUT CORAL REEFS
Coral reefs are found in shallow areas of tropical and sub-tropical oceans in clear waters generally between 20°C and 28°C. Reefs usually start growing in areas with lots of waves which carry food, nutrients and oxygen to the slowly forming reef.
Coral reefs give food, oxygen and a home to many of the sea creatures that we love! The structure of a coral reef habitat is very complex and can provide homes for species including fish, shellfish, crustaceans (like crabs), echinoderms (like sea stars), sea sponges, worms, algae, hard and soft coral, sea snakes, turtles, sharks and rays!
This habitat also works as a cleaning station for animals such as turtles and manta rays. When these bigger animals approach the reef, they signal that it’s time for the cleaning fish to do their job and start cleaning them!
Check out the videos below to see these interesting cleaning stations.
Coral reefs are vulnerable to the effects of human activities. We have already lost 10% of the worlds reefs from pollution, irresponsible fishing, tourism, and global warming.
Did you know that Moreton Bay has more than 120 species of coral? That's more than the Caribbean!
SPOTLIGHT: THE RUBBLE CARRYING CRAB
There is a special little creature called the Rubble Carrying Crab found in Moreton Bay.
They are very small (only 20 to 30mm) but very strong!
These crabs get their name because coral colonies can be a type of rubble, and this is what they use to build a mobile home for themselves!
They do renovations on their home and create a hole that allows them to breathe through their gills, find food,and hide. They also make a passage from the feeding hole to a habitation chamber (like a bedroom) where they can hide from threats such as predators or bad weather.
If their coral home gets flipped over by waves, other animals or people then the crab gets underneath it and turns it back over so it can move back into its little home inside. What a clever little thing!