- SEA LIFE, Pirate Reef
Coral Reefs are one of the most beautiful and important habitats on Earth!
They cover less than 1% of the ocean floor, yet over 25% (that's 1 quarter) of marine species depend on this habitat in some way for survival.
The Coral itself might look like rock or plant but it is actually a type of animal! From the same family as Jellyfish and Sea Anemones, Corals are made up of millions of individual polyps all growing on top of each other. Each of these polyps lives within a shell but sticks out little stinging tentacles to catch plankton in the current. Coral polyps share their shell with algae which provides them with most of their food using photosynthesis. In exchange, the Coral offers the algae a safe house so they both get a good deal!
When Corals are stressed by pollution, temperature or acidity changes, they spit out the algae from their shells. This is known as Coral bleaching as it is the algae which give them colour and without it, they turn white. Coral cannot survive for long without this algae.
Scroll down to find out more about SEA LIFE Great Yarmouth's most colourful Coral Reef inhabitants!
Meet one of the ocean's best known and loved fish! Did you know that Clownfish live in the venomous tentacles of Sea Anemones? They are one of the only ocean creatures that can do this as they are protected by a layer of slimy mucus on their skin!
Did you know?
All Clownfish are born boys!
Some will eventually turn into girls when they are older. If you see two Clownfish on a Sea Anemone, the larger of the two will be the female, the smaller the male.
Not all Clownfish species are orange in colour
Some are red, brown or even black! If you see a Clownfish couple in a Sea Anemone, the larger of the two will be the female, and the smaller the male.
Male Clownfish are very devoted parents
They look after the eggs, fanning them to keep them oxygenated. They will chase away fish much bigger than them and even square up to inquisitive scuba divers!
Clownfish like to live in Sea Anemones
So that they are protected from predators and can nibble on leftover food the Sea Anemone catches. In return, they help keep Sea Anemones and the area around them clean by eating up algae and other reef debris.