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morphology overview
bodies consist of 2 layers; an outer ectoderm and an inner ectoderm, stinging cells called Nematoblasts. Calcium carbonate skeleton
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Early corals evolved in the Cambrian. Modern corals alive today. Rugose; Ordovician-Permian, Tabulate; Cambrian-Permian, Scleractinian; Triassic-Recent
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The whole skeleton of a solitary or colonial coral
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Coral Morphology; Coral Polyp
Soft bodied organism that secretes a calcium carbonate skeleton
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Two main types of coral
Solitary and compound
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Solitary corals
Have only 1 polyp, which secretes a single skeleton
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Compound coral
Have many polyps living together in a communal fashion, with many skeletons/corallites fused together. Have skeletons which may also branch.
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Coral Morphology; Calice
Bowl shaped depression, where the soft polyp sits
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Coral Morphology; Columella
Axial rod which supports the septa, running up the centre of some corals
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Coral Morphology; Epitheca
Outermost layer of the coral skeleton. This may often be wrinkled in solitary forms
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Coral Morphology; Tabula
Horizontal plates dividing the corallite skeleton
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Coral Morphology; Growth Lines
Wrinkles produced as the coral grew
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Coral Morphology; Dissepiments
Curved plates connected to septa and tabulae
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Coral Morphology; Septa
Vertical plates, radially dividing the corallite skeleton. These may be major or minor and give the skeleton strength
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The 3 main orders of fossils
Rugose, Tabulate, Scleractinian
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Mural Pores
Connections between adjacent corallites, perhaps for communication.
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Bilateral Symmetry
Where something has 1 plane of symmetry with 2 identical halves.
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Radial Symmetry
Where many planes of symmetry can be seen.
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Describes a species that still exists today
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Type of algae that lives inside modern-day coral cells.
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Symbiotic Relationships
Describes 2 organisms living together fro mutual benefit, neither of which can successfully live without the other
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Coral Bleaching
Where a small increase in temperature or pollution causes the polyps to die, killing the reef
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Global distribution
Most found between 30 degrees north/south of equator. Found generally on continental shelves, close to land or as coral islands. E.g. Great Barrier Reef
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What are Brachiopods
Benthonic, sessile, marine organisms enclosed between 2 un-equal sized valves. May be attached to substrate, free-lying or burrowers
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Evolved during Cambrian. Still alive today. Almost wiped out Permian-Triassic extinction event. Major losses at Triassic-Jurassic boundary.
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morphology overview


bodies consist of 2 layers; an outer ectoderm and an inner ectoderm, stinging cells called Nematoblasts. Calcium carbonate skeleton

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