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Pictures, Facts,andLinks

  • Corals grow over geologic time and have been in existence about 200 million years. Corals reached their current level of diversity 50 million years ago.
  • Coral reefs are home to over 4,000 different species of fish, 700 species of coral and thousands of other plants and animals.
  • Corals grow at different rates, depending on water temperature, salinity, turbulence, and the availability of food. The massive corals are the slowest growing species, adding between 5 and 25 millimeters (.2 inches to an 1 inch) per year to their length. Branching and Staghorn corals can grow much faster, adding as much as 20 centimeters (8 inches) to their branches each year.