Hard coral

Hard coral

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Credit: ALEXIS ROSENFELD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Hard coral (Acropora sp.). This is a table coral, so called because it grows with a flat top facing the water's surface. Corals consist of colonies of small animals called polyps. Hard coral polyps secrete calcium carbonate, which forms a protective skeleton around them. When a polyp dies the skeleton remains and new polyps grow on top of it, forming a coral reef. Photographed in the Red Sea.

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Keywords: acropora sp., animal, biological, biology, calcium carbonate, coelenterate, colonial, colony, coral, coral reef, fauna, flat, hard coral, invertebrate, invertebrates, marine biology, nature, ocean, polyp, polyps, red sea, sea, skeleton, table coral, underwater, wildlife, zoological, zoology

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