grow over geologic time and have been in existence about 200 million
years. Corals reached their current level of diversity 50 million
reefs are home to over 4,000 different species of fish, 700 species of
coral and thousands of other plants and animals.
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.