Cup coral polyps

Cup coral polyps

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Credit: MATTHEW OLDFIELD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Cup coral. Close-up of the closed polyps (round) of a cup coral (Turbinaria sp.). This is a hard coral which is found in the tropical Indo-Pacific region. This coral lives in a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with algae (zooxanthellae, not seen), which provide nutrients for the coral through photosynthesis. The hard outer layer seen here is secreted by the tiny coral organisms for protection and support. Hard corals can form huge reefs which form the basis for diverse marine ecosystems.

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Keywords: animal, blue, coelenterate, cup coral, hard, indo-pacific, invertebrate, invertebrates, marine, nature, ocean, polyps, sea, symbiosis, symbiotic, turbinaria sp., underwater, wildlife, zoology

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