Chat Archives
Chat on "Coral Reefs" dated October 18, 2005

    Susan  Welcome to IWC chat on "Coral Reefs" dated 18th October 2005 
    Susan  Hello Arpit! 
    Arpit  hello susan
    Susan  You can start by giving an overview on coral Reefs 
    Arpit  OK.  Coral reefs are among the most diverse and productive communities on Earth. They are found in the warm, clear, shallow waters of tropical oceans worldwide. 
    Susan  Which are the beaches in India where you can see coral reefs? 
    Arpit  In india we have coast line about 7516 Km, of which around 1000 Sq. Km is having coral reef 
    chaitanya  hi everybody 
    Susan  Hi Chaitanya! 
     Arpit  hello chaitanya 
    chaitanya  Hi Arpit 
    chaitanya  we ,in gujarat, have corals at few places 
    Arpit  as name suggest in coral reef major portion of habiat 
    Arpit  yes chaitanya i'm also from gujarat and done a lot of work regarding marine ecology and corals 
    Arpit  you can name it Marine National Park in jamnagar district 
    chaitanya  so you are mr. devmurari !! 
    Arpit  susan we can see coral reefs in andaman nicobar, gulf of mannar, gulf of kutch 
    Arpit  yes i',m arpit may i know you? 
    chaitanya  I think, I know you 
    Arpit  and also few patches along the coast of maharashtra, goa, gujarat 
    chaitanya  i am chaitanya nimavat from gandhinagar 
    Arpit  i can't remember exactly but do we me somewhere 
    Arpit  taxonomically corals are divide in to two classes 
    Susan  But how does one see reefs? We do not have " sea walking "i n any of the beaches. One must know diving to see them? 
    chaitanya  no,but I've heared your name 
    Arpit  one is reef building corals or hermatypic corals are of the order Scleractinia in the class Anthozoa of the phylum Cnidaria
    chaitanya  just continue to inform us about corals
    Arpit  other one i ahermatypic corals which commonlly found in deep sea where sun light is not reachable 
    Arpit  reef building corals have symbiosis with unicellular algae known as zooxanthellae  
    chaitanya  susan, we can see the first ones on the beaches, from outside the water    
    Arpit  reef building corals have symbiosis with unicellular algae known as zooxanthellae 
    shivani  hi ,everyone 
    Susan  Welcome Shivani!
    Arpit  chaitanya i think there is some misunderstanding
    Arpit  hello shivani 
    Susan  Do you mean corals build reefs with the help of algae? 
    Arpit  corals can't live without sea water 
    chaitanya  Hi shivani  
    Arpit  yes susan they live with the algae known as zooxanthellae commonly 
    chaitanya  but some of them are seen on the beaches 
    Arpit  it's basically unicellular algae living in the coral polyp 
    Arpit  the coral which you see commonly is not a single animal but is colony of thousand of small animals 
    Susan  Corals are not found in fresh water? in any area? 
    Arpit  no coral are not found in freshwater anywhere in the world 
    shivani  how are corals helpful to us?i know they maintain eco balance
    Arpit  a single animal is like a small version of sea-anemone or you can say jelly fish attached in a small stone 

    Arpit  they combine Ca calcium and CO2 to produce CaCO3 calcium carbonate
    Arpit  yes shivani they are very useful to balance CO2  
    Arpit  and this CaCo3 is used as it's skeleton 
    Susan  The reef is all skeleton then? 
    shivani  these skeletons are the corals which we see on the surface 
    Arpit  Reefs are formed by calcium carbonate produced by tiny coral polyps. While corals are the chief architects of reef structure, 
    Arpit  but they are not the only builders. Coralline algae cement various corals together with compounds of calcium, and other organisms such as tube worms and molluscs donate their hard skeletons 
    Arpit  yes in some what manner you can say reef is skeleton, But coral lives in this skeleton structure 
    Susan  Welcome vkalia! 
    chaitanya  arpit, y they r found in differetn colors n shapes?
    vkalia  hi all - sorry for being late 
    Arpit  So in short you can say that coral reefs are massive structure of limestone deposited by various animals but chiefly corals
    chaitanya  hi vkalia 
    Arpit  welcome vkalia 
    Arpit  yes chaitanya they found in various colors and shapes 
    shivani  hi vkalia 
    shivani  how long does it take for these corals to form these hard structures. 
    Arpit  corals found in many forms some of them are known as plocoid(Tubular) ,meandroid(Pillar) ,spherical shaped 
    Arpit  some of the current coral reefs are about 50 million years old as some of the reseacher found out from crabon dating techniques
    chaitanya  and how they get their different and beautiful colors? 
    Arpit  ccolors are due to the algae and it's surrounding environment 
    Arpit  but you can't find the same colors in same species of corals located in two different habitat 
    chaitanya  but they some times have different colors though they r just side by side
    Arpit  that's why coral identification it's a bit hard and in-lab job 
    Arpit  no chaitanya normally corals living in the same area(nearby) has same color 
    Arpit  but as i said earlier you can't identify the corals to species level by just seeing them in the reef 
    chaitanya  in andamans,on jolly bouy island,I 've seen them 
    chaitanya  and I was surprised then also
    shivani  why are they being destroyed ?
    Arpit  coral identification is done through closely observing it's polyp and other part of polyp 
    Arpit  basically the part of coral skeleton in which polyp is living is called corraline   
    Arpit  and to identify them you need to study corraline for that 
    vkalia  interestingly, coral formation in the andaman is at its best between 8-17m - beyond that, there isnt a whole lot. also, andamans tends to have far more hard coral than soft coral - arpit, any ideas why? 
    vkalia  the coral growth zone would be due to light/temperature, i assume - but why so much more hard coral than soft? 
    Arpit  sorry for spelling mistake it's corallite not coralline
    Arpit  yes vkalia normally you can find good coral formation between 5-20 mt 
     Arpit  but soft corals are not at all reef building corals 
    Arpit  so you can see them in a bit deeper depth
    Arpit  soft corals don't require sun light
    chaitanya  ok
    Susan  Do corals absorb someting from sunlight? 
    chaitanya  Is it true that corals are significance of absence of pollution in the water? 
    chaitanya  Is it true that corals are significance of absence of pollution in the water? 
    Arpit  no scientifically corals do not get directly from sunlight
    vkalia  i've hardly seen any soft coral in the andamans - even deep. around havelock, there is one bed of soft coral at 10m - now gone after the tsunami - and all you get deep is whip corals. not much else. 
    Arpit  but they use the sunlight same way palnts do to convert in to energy 
    chaitanya  ok, friends I have to leave now 
    Arpit  ok bye chaitanya 
    chaitanya  thanks arpit for the knowledge you shared with us 
    Susan  Thanks Chaitanya, but Arpit will answer your query 
    Arpit  you can call me on 9426442243 
    shivani  but corals are not present every where?why so? 
    vkalia  bye 
    chaitanya  ok, thnks  
    Arpit  in gulf of kutch we have some very shallow but very good assemblage of soft corals 
    vkalia  any factors that lead to more of soft vs hard coral, and vice versa? 
    shivani  but it does not surround the coastline? 
    Arpit  corals require clear water with good sunlight and around 20 to 30 degree cel. temp 
    Arpit  no in some case they do surround the coast line 
    Arpit  not much factors are related with soft vs. hard corals 
    Arpit  like in lakshadweep 
    shivani  that means they are usually are in tropical regions. 
    Arpit  reef building corals found in tropical region only 
    Susan  In Lakshdeep they surround the coastline. 
    Arpit  but other corals like soft and ahermatypic corals can found anywhere including arctic also 
    shivani  i have to leave was good to know so much about corals. bye everyone 
    Arpit  bye 
    Susan  Thanks Shivani. 
    vkalia  bye 
    vkalia  arpit, where are you based?
    Arpit  Corals grow at different rates depending up on temp. slinity, turbulence and availibility of food 
    Arpit  i'm right now based in bhuj - kutch -gujarat 
    Susan  What do corals eat? 
    Arpit  but regularly  visit marine national park in jmnagar as jamnagar is my native place and my parents still live there 
    Arpit  i had shifted to bhuj from jamnagar 2-years back
    Arpit  corals are filter -feeder 
    vkalia  have you seen any info on the coral health of the andamans? i know Sarang from Reefwatch is doing work there, but I'd be keen on knowing if there are any trends re. coral health, etc. 
    Arpit  But they get their maximum food from the algae living withing the polyp 

    Arpit  algae using sun light make sugar for energy, just like plants, and it's also process polyp's waster to retain important nutrients 
    Arpit  and algae also provides oxygen to polyp 
    Arpit  and coral polyp provides safety, home and co2   
    Arpit  yes i know sarang and mitali both from reefwatch 
    Arpit  another way for coral to get food is catching small animals known as zooplankton 
    Arpit  coral polyp have stinging tentacles to capture this tiny animals floating in the water 
    Arpit  which kind of information you are asking? 
    Arpit  after tsunami manu reports have been published for coral reef status
    Susan  The eating habits are very interesting! The only animal which recycles waste? 
    Arpit  but in general coral reef are vanishing due to global warming 
    Arpit  yes indeed susan 
    vkalia  i'm trying to find out if there has been any coral degradation due to climactic or other factors in the andamans 
    Arpit  yes vkalia coral degradation have been recorded in andamans 
    vkalia  not necessarily tsunami damage, but more systemic changes. with global warming, wouldnt the coral growth simply shift to a deeper level, where temperatures are cooler? I imagine the water would be ocygenated enough still 
    Arpit  and the cause of this degradation is global warming of the sea 
    Arpit  in 98 the el-nino caused major damage to our reef eco-system 
    Arpit  this phenomena is known as coral bleaching 
    Arpit  Corals bleach in response to prolonged temperature change and not due to rapidly fluctuating temperatures 
    Arpit  Coral bleaching is the whitening of coral colonies due to the loss of symbiotic zooxanthellae from the tissues of polyps 
    Arpit  There are a number of stresses or environmental changes that may cause bleaching including disease, excess shade, increased levels of ultraviolet radiation, sedimentation, pollution, salinity changes, and increased temperatures. 
    Arpit  susan and vkalia are u there
    Susan  yes, Arpit. 
    vkalia  yes, i am ... on a very slow connection, sorry. am reading what you are writing, tho 
    vkalia  has there been any conclusive evidence on the amount of time it takes reefs to recover after bleaching? 
    Susan  I was going to suggest a yahoo group to vkalia called 'Andamannicobar' which might give him more info. 
    vkalia  i was under the impression it is around 4-5 years once the el nino effect was over, but i gather bleaching is still present in maldives, for example 
    Arpit  yes there also a list called Coral-list which is very good for all aspect of corals 
    vkalia  susan, am subscribed to that group, thanks for reminding me of it though 
    Arpit  yes el-nino has raised sea temp bu few degree 
    vkalia  what is the address for coral list? 
    Arpit  you can subscribe at 
    vkalia  but that was temporary, i thought? i could be mistaken, tho.... 
    Arpit  otehr one for general marine biology covering all the aspect of marine ecology is 
    Arpit  No it's not temporary effect 
    Arpit  The el-nino strong effect was for short time 
    Arpit  but it's effect on coral reef eco-system is really long one
    vkalia  gotcha - thanks for the clarification.
    Arpit  so many coral reefs bleached out, so it affects the whole eco-system 
    Arpit  and also rise in sea temperature takes time to settle down   
    vkalia  again - a clarification: i thought bleached coral was still alive, without the symbiants - so how does that affect the ecosystem? 
    vkalia  (sorry about possibly naive questions - in my defense, i dive mostly wrecks and caves :)) 
    Arpit  bleached corals will die soon
    Susan  Arpit, shall we have a chat on "Marine eco systems' next month? 
    Arpit  as symbiants is the source for food for coral polyp 
    Arpit  Yes susan we can chat next month 
    Susan  Is the topic fine?
    Arpit  vkalia if you need more information you can mail me on 
    Arpit  and i think now we have to wait for next 18th 
    Arpit  the topic is perfect 
    vkalia  cool, i'll take you up on that, arpit., thanks for the offer. 
    vkalia  dang, i'll miss that one - will be in the andamans by then 
    Arpit  it's almost 9:00 pm 
    Susan  vkalia and Arpit, I am afraid I have to close the chat room. So next month, same time " Marine Eco Systems" 
    Arpit  you are most welcome 
    Arpit  ok bye
    Arpit  Good night to all of you 

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