How are fringing reefs formed?
Coral reefs begin to form when free-swimming coral larvae attach to submerged rocks or other hard surfaces along the edges of islands or continents. If a fringing reef forms around a volcanic island that sinks completely below sea level while the coral continues to grow upward, an atoll forms.
Where are fringing reefs found?
Fringing reefs are the most common type of reef found in the Philippines, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, the western coast of Australia, the Caribbean, East Africa, and Red Sea. The largest fringing coral reef in the world is the Ningaloo Reef, stretching to around 260 km (160 mi) along the coastline of Western Australia.
What is a fringing reef?
The most common type of reef is the fringing reef. This type of reef grows seaward directly from the shore. They form borders along the shoreline and surrounding islands. When a fringing reef continues to grow upward from a volcanic island that has sunk entirely below sea level, an atoll is formed.
What do fringing reefs look like?
Fringing reefs grow near the coastline around islands and continents. They are separated from the shore by narrow, shallow lagoons. Fringing reefs are the most common type of reef that we see. Atolls are rings of coral that create protected lagoons and are usually located in the middle of the sea.
What is the name of the largest coral reef in the world?
the Great Barrier Reef
Stretching for 1,429 miles over an area of approximately 133,000 square miles , the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. The reef is located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, in the Coral Sea.
Why are fringing reefs important?
Ecosystem services from fringing reefs. Fringing reefs protect shorelines from damage due to storm waves and provide protection to other important habitats such as seagrass beds, mangroves and saltmarsh. They support many commercially fished species such as Coral trout (Plectropomus spp.)
Why is fringing reef important?
How atolls are formed?
Atolls develop with underwater volcanoes, called seamounts. First, the volcano erupts, piling up lava on the seafloor. As the volcano continues to erupt, the seamount’s elevation grows higher, eventually breaking the surface of the water. The top of the volcano becomes an oceanic island.
What is the largest biological system on earth?
Satellite photograph of the Great Barrier Reef situated off the northeastern coast of Australia. Stretching for 1,429 miles over an area of approximately 133,000 square miles , the Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world.
What do reefs look like?
Some look like branching trees or bushes. Others look like large domes, fans, or antlers. The bodies of living polyps are often vivid colors of pink, yellow, blue, purple, and green. Coral colonies usually only grow in shallow water, often no deeper than 46 meters (150 feet).
Which factors can affect health of fringing reefs?
Pollution, overfishing, destructive fishing practices using dynamite or cyanide, collecting live corals for the aquarium market, mining coral for building materials, and a warming climate are some of the many ways that people damage reefs all around the world every day.
How are atolls formed in the coral reef?
Atolls usually form when islands surrounded by fringing reefs sink into the sea or the sea level rises around them (these islands are often the tops of underwater volcanoes). The fringing reefs continue to grow and eventually form circles with lagoons inside. Watch a great animation clip of how an atoll forms.
How did the Maldives atolls and islands form?
Atolls usually form when islands surrounded by fringing reefs sink into the sea or the sea level rises around them (these islands are often the tops of underwater volcanoes). The fringing reefs continue to grow and eventually form circles with lagoons inside.
How are atolls connected to the open sea?
Atolls are rings of reef, often encircling an island (sand and coral rubble). They typically have a shallow, sandy, sheltered lagoon in the middle. Access to the open sea beyond is through a number of channels.
How long does it take for a coral reef to form?
As the reef expands, the interior island usually begins to subside and the fringing reef turns into a barrier reef. When the island completely subsides beneath the water leaving a ring of growing coral with an open lagoon in its center, it is called an atoll. The process of atoll formation may take as long as 30,000,000 years to occur.