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Staghorn Coral

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The staghorn coral is a critically endangered species because of the way it reproduces, and how fast it adapts to its environment. It has problems with is because when it produces asexually, it has a better chance at surviving, because it is already partly grown, where as if it produces sexually, there is a way lesser chance that it will survive, and because the identical cloning produces more offspring, there is much less genetic variation. This causes there to be less variation in the traits of staghorn coral, but over time the coral has had many variations to what we see today. The problem is, the coral hasn’t had enough time to adapt to the stress that is under, and that stress is destroying the population through a process called bleaching, which is a process where a colony of coral is put under to much stress, and tries to release zooxanthellae (organisms that help photosynthesis in the coral) because it wants to expel anything that could hurt it, but ends up destroying itself, because it can’t manufacture any energy. This process makes the coral turn white, because the cell, which is vital for sustaining life(because of its photosynthetic processes), also produces the color of the coral. Stress is caused by pollution, or any other environmental changes, and is the main reason staghorn coral is threatened by the environment. A few of the triggers that causes the staghorn coral to release its zooxanthellae are: changes in water temperature, overfishing taking up zooplankton, increases in silt (soil layer on coral), low tide, global warming, sunscreen, and countless others. The staghorn coral is such a wide species of coral, but the main way that it reproduces it asexually, which means that it can reproduce with itself. The co...

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...imeters a year. The branches of a staghorn coral usually grow in threes, and the staghorn coral has tentacles which emerge at night, to feed on fish and planktonic animals in the water. The staghorn corals branches are very sharp and can cut flesh, so people should be careful around them. The tentacles of staghorn coral have nematocysts on them, which are stinging cells, which helps them to detain and kill their prey. The staghorn coral is very hard to differentiate from other corals because there are approximately 400 types of staghorn coral. A cool fact about staghorn coral is that it is named staghorn coral because it looks like a stags horns.

Works Cited

Bruckner, A.W.. "Staghorn Coral (Acropora cervicornis)." noaa fisheries office of protected resources. NOAA, 9 Apr 2013. Web. 23 Feb 2014. .
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