Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Goldilocks and Coral. hmmmm?

Picky Picky Picky


For as much as I love coral reefs, I've gotta admit that coral polyps are the prima donnas of the ocean. Most coral reefs are located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn--not much more than 30 degrees north and south of the equator. Not too far north nor too far south, but just right. Corals are also found farther from the equator in places where warm currents flow out of the tropics, such as Florida and southern Japan. Reef building corals grow best in waters with a temperature of between 21 and 29 degrees Celsius (70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit). It is possible for soft corals to grow in hotter and colder places, but growth rates under these conditions are very slow. Again, they like it just right.

Tropical coral species are particularly fussy about temperature. As I've described before, when sea surface temperatures start to climb more than 2-4 degrees Celsius for an extended period of time, coral polyps get stressed and can expel their algal symbionts. Once the algae (zooxanthellae) are evicted, the translucent coral polyp appears white (or bleached). If temperatures remain elevated and the coral cannot reacquire new heat-tolerant algae, the coral may die.

But bleaching can result not just when conditions are too warm, but also when conditions are too cold. Some recent news from Heron Island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef describes how unusually cold weather has resulted in a winter bleaching event. Just the other day I described how the relatively rare phenomenon of sun-dried tides can cause mass coral bleaching and mortality. In a twist on that theme, if unusually low tides are coupled with chilly, windy (conditions that are just wrong for coral) a similar mass mortality can result. These images of bleaching are courtesy of Ove Hoegh-Guldberg's fantastic website Climate Shifts.

  1. Where do coral reefs grow?

Coral reefs can be seen throughout the tropical and subtropical Western Atlantic and Indo-Pacific oceans, generally within 30 degrees N and 30 degrees S latitudes.

  1. Why do you think that coral reefs only occur between certain latitudes, and then only within certain areas?

Studies have shown that most reefs grow well between the temperatures of 23-25 degrees C. The temperature is ideal year round in these locations, not too hot, and not too cold.

  1. What major factors limit where coral reefs can found? List 5 major factors limiting the occurrence of coral reefs and describe HOW these factors limit the establishment or success of coral.



Why is it important?


18-30 C (64-86 F)

Stable temperature between 18-30 C is necessary for the survival of coral reefs.


33 - 36 parts per thousand


The maximum depth for actively growing coral is 70m

The need for light for coral reefs� symbiotic plant is thought to limit reefs building corals to shallow water.

Wave action

Reef development is generally more abundant in area that is subject to strong wave action.

Waves carry food, nutrients, and oxygen to the reef.� Waves distribute coral larvae.� Waves prevent sediment from settling on the coral reefs.

Corals historically thrived in clear water, but recent bleaching events have revealed that water can be too clear! Corals need some nutrients and plankton for food, but not enough to promote algal overgrowth and rapid bioerosion rates.

The corals of the Florida reef tract provide clues to how “Goldilocks” these reef builders can be. The offshore reefs, where waters are clearest, have declined dramatically over the past several decades such that coral cover is now too low to sustain reef accretion. Only on patch reefs is coral cover at least in double-digit percentages.
Hallock, Pamela. " Goldilocks and the Three Biogenic Carbonate Minerals: What Determines “Just Right”?. College of Marine Science, University of South Florida

There is a greater variety of species in, on and around coral reef than anywhere else in the ocean. This is a link to Florida Coral Reefs

What would you do ? This is a "REAL LIFE " interactive about coral. Make decisions by yourself or with classmates

The Comment/Bonus box is open...

What do you know now?

What would you like to know more about?

How will you find out?


  1. hey mr.v thanks for the Goldilocks and coral!!! It helps for what we have to do for marine!!!!!

  2. So coral is like Goldilocks because they like/want everything just right?
    Ayden M

  3. Thank you mr v i get it now goldilocks and coral are alike dawson/orange

  4. Ayden, you GOT IT!. Now, what are some of "things" that have to be Jusssst Right!

    ...put one(1) in the bonus box .

  5. Dawson, glad you GOT IT!... post me an example and you could pick up another bonus.

  6. Thanks Mr.V that helps a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)
    Carainne violet

  7. You are so welcome!!

    put a point (1) in the bonus box

  8. Allie Violet
    Who’s Pickier, Coral or Goldilocks?
    Once upon a time there was a girl named Goldilocks. One day she was wandering through the woods and saw a house in the distance and when over to the house; she then knocked on the door. No one answers so she when inside. Goldilocks when into the kitchen and saw there was three bowls on the table. So she when over to the bowls and saw that the bowls where filled with porridge. The porridge had roasted nuts, honey, and berries. The smell was amazing Goldilocks went to help herself. Goldilocks went over to the biggest bowl and tried some of the porridge, but it was too hot. She then went to the second bowl, but the porridge was too cold. Finally she when to the last bowl and tasted the porridge, it was just right. Goldilocks ate up all of the porridge. She entered the living room and there were three chairs. Goldilocks sat in the biggest of the three, but it was too hard. Then she tried the middle sized chair, but it was too soft. Lastly she tried the smallest chair and the chair was just right. Goldilocks sat there for a while, but then the chair broke and she fell onto the floor. Goldilocks when upstairs and was looking at the three bears beds. She suddenly realized she was very tired. Goldilocks lay in the biggest bed, but it was too hard. She then lay in the medium sized bed but it was too soft. Goldilocks lay in the smallest bed and it was just right. So she tucked herself in to bed and fell sound asleep. Soon the three bears came home and went to eat there porridge. The biggest bear and the medium bear both say that somebody has been eating their porridge. The littlest bear says somebody has eaten all of his porridge. Then the bears go into the living room and see that all their chairs have been sat in. The big bear and the medium bear say that somebody has sat in our chairs. The little bear says that somebody has been sitting in his chair and broke it. They bear go upstairs into the bedroom and see that the big and medium beds have been lay in. The little bear says that somebody has been lying in my bed and they are still laying in it. The bears chased her out of their house and never saw her again.

  9. Allie Violet
    Once upon a time there was a girl named Goldicoral. One day she was wandering through the open ocean and saw an atoll in the distance and when over look at the atoll; she looked around and when inside. Goldicoral when into the atoll and saw there was lots of creatures living there. So she when over and saw how everything worked. There were many creatures from small fish to different types of coral. The sight was amazing Goldicorals went to look around more. Goldilocks down into the water a little farther and got cold. She then when up too high, but it was too hot. She went back into the atoll and it was just right. She went over into the salinity, but it was too much. She went to another area but salinity it was too low. She went to another area and the salinity was just right. Goldicoral suddenly realized she was very tired from her long journey. Goldicoral lay in the roughest area, but it was too hard. She then lay in the still area but it was too soft. Goldilocks lay in a calm but wavy area and it was just right. So she tucked herself in to the sand and fell sound asleep. Soon the three fish came home and went to eat there into there water. The biggest bear and the medium bear both say that somebody has been in there water. The littlest fish says somebody has been in its water and is still there. Then the fish go into the area where they live and see that all their sand have been ruffled. The big bear and the medium bear say that somebody has been in our in our water, but didn’t like the salinity, then she left. The little bear says that somebody has been in my salinity area, liked it and is somewhere still here. They fish go around the wavy area and see Goldicoral. The little fish says that somebody has been lying in my area and they are still laying in it. The fish chased her out of their area and never saw her again.
    Goldilocks and Goldicoral are a lot alike. Everything needs to be right for them, so they can ‘happy’. Goldilocks had to have the porridge, comfort of chair, and the comfort of the bed. For Goldicoral the temperature, salinity, wave action, and light need to be perfect. Everything needs to be perfect for both Goldilocks and Goldicoral. If it’s not then they will move on.

  10. Mr. V I read the book on my scientist and for the report, if you need information that the book doesn't have, can I look it up on the internet?

    Devery, Yellow

  11. Sure, just be sure you cite the source. I'm curious, what didn't you find in the biography?

  12. Thank you and I will be sure to do that. And It's kind of a story about his life, it tells all the important events in his life from baby to death. But it is a biography, i made sure.
    Devery, Yellow

  13. Mr. V we are going to have time tomarrow to finish our poster, right? I think you said yes but I'm not sure. And what's soap made out of?
    Allie Violet

  14. Yes you will be working on your Message tomorrow.



    (Lye burns)

  15. Mr.V I have a question (haha)? Can I do a Goldfish as my fish? Or is there is there a specfic species of goldfish I can do? I was looking in google images and is a fish called a Zerbra Goldfish. Is that a real type of fish? Can I do this type of Zebra Goldfish? Hey, everyone if I can I call the Goldfish!!! Haha (really I called the goldfish if I can).
    Allie Violet

  16. Mr.V, if I can't do teh Goldfish. Then can I do the Zebra Fish.
    Allie Violet

  17. Yes Allie, you can do need scientific name!

  18. Mr. V Yay I wanted to do a Goldfish (and I still am) but aren't there like a ton of different Goldfish. Is there such a thing as a Zebra Goldfish?
    Allie Violet

  19. Mr.V the scientific name for a goldfish is Carassius Auratus, right? I looked it up and this is what I got. So, I can really do goldfish, and no one is going to do the goldfish because I really want to do the goldfish.
    Allie Violet

  20. Mr. V may I do the Comet Goldfish? Family: Cyprinidae, I found a good website about it.
    Allie violet

  21. Allie thanks for the website I will attach it to the blog.

  22. Interesting info mr. v interesting but good info. I'll learn about it soon.


  23. Mr. V,
    I know that the pulp turns into a coral reef in days and the coral reefs grows 15cm a year and only grow at night. There skeleton goes for miles, Christmas tree coral grows on top of reefs. Homes to lots of fish. Small crabs that live in the reef help kill praetors. I would like to know what is the largest coral reef and where is it located. Thanks, Josh violet

  24. The Great Barrier Reef off of the north east coast of Australia is by far the largest..