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Coral Reef Polyps

Coral reefs are formed from calcium carbonate secreted by tiny animals called polyps

Coral reefs are formed from calcium carbonate secreted by tiny animals called polyps. These colonies of polyps and the reefs they create are among Earth's most diverse ecosystems, providing shelter for a wide variety of fish, mollusks, sponges and other sea creatures, and a basis for economy for tourism and the fishing industry. Corals are highly sensitive to both warming ocean temperatures and ocean acidification brought about by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide. Scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research are studying the effects of warming and acidification on reefs and the marine populations they support. (Date of Image: unknown)

Credit: Photo by Kathy Krucker; ŠUniversity Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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