What are the common types of corals?

This can be regarded as a very popular question among a lot of people who are genuinely interested in Marine Biology. As we all know, the corals are extremely beautiful as well as fascinating. They have the capability of enticing every single person with their uniqueness. Here, we will be looking at the common types of corals. Most of us might have a clear idea regarding these corals. A number of books are currently available which discuss them in detail. In addition to that, there are several research works about them which are available online. Thus, the people who are extremely interested to know about them can take the help of these authentic sources.

But at the same time, it is appropriate to say that there are a number of people out there who are still unaware of these corals. Most of the time, it has been observed that when people think about coral they often think about the stony calcified coral which they get at any gift shop during a vacation to an exotic island. But, these are just the skeletons of stony corals. These can be regarded as a type of coral that exists. Apart from that, there are also deep water and soft corals. Each of these corals are structurally very unique. They also interact with their surroundings in peculiar ways. As per reports, there are over two thousand different corals that are currently available. They form colonies that play a key role in marine environments. Here, we will be discussing in detail about the three main kinds of corals. These include the Hard Corals, the Soft Corals, and the Deep-Sea Corals. 

Hard Corals, one of the common types of corals

They can be regarded as an integral part of the coral reef. The polyps of these hard corals secrete skeletons of calcium carbonate or Limestone. These skeletons will eventually become rock. This mostly includes species such as brain coral and elkhorn coral. These hard corals are regarded as hermatypes. This means they are reef-building corals. The coral reef starts to form when the coral polyp attaches itself to a rock on the seafloor. Thereafter, this one polyp begins to divide or bud into thousands and thousands of clones of itself. These polyps and their calcareous skeletons then connect to one another. This creates a colony that will act as one. In addition to that, this colony will grow over hundreds and thousands of years and then gradually join with other colonies to form a coral reef. The hard corals require a certain type of algae known as zooxanthellae. This algae lives within their tissues and this important mutualism is necessary for their survival. It is appropriate to say that these organisms are responsible for the color of the corals. This is also dependent upon where they are living. In addition to that the characteristics such as the shape and appearance of each coral are dependent upon its species type, location, depth, water movement, and many other similar factors. The hard coral polyps are often regarded as very similar to sea anemones. This is because of the fact that they also have stinging cells called cnidocytes. This coral species can be found in all of the world’s oceans. But unfortunately, their populations are expected to decrease because of global climate changes and ocean acidification. Thus, this can be regarded as a detailed overview of the hard corals.

Soft Corals

They can also be regarded as one of the common types of corals. These corals have a lot of resemblance to plants and trees. They are very tender and flexible. As a result, they do not have stony skeletons like hard corals. They have a woodlike core which protects them and maintains stability. These woodlike cores are made of structural proteins. These include gorgonin and other proteins that are similar to ones found in the nails and horns of other animals. Another essential feature of these corals is that they are Ahermatypes or non-reef building corals. In addition to that, they do not always have a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae. Some of them might utilize their presence. But, they usually eat any type of passerby out of the water column. They do not produce calcium carbonate and contain spiny skeletal sclerites. These skeletal sclerites give these tender corals some protection and support. They usually prefer to live in nutrient-rich waters that have less intense light.

Deep-Sea Corals

They are also one of the important types of corals. They are usually found in the dark depths of up to 6,000 m below the surface of the ocean. In addition to that, they have the capability to live in icy cold water with little to no sunlight. They can be regarded as shallow species that can exist as a single polyp or multiple, living in complex colonies that are made up of different species. As we have already mentioned, they do not require sunlight or warm water and hence are capable of growing in a vast array of waters around the world. They also do not contain zooxanthellae as they live without sunlight. Hence, it is appropriate to say that they must obtain their energy and nutrients elsewhere. They usually do this by trapping tiny organisms in passing currents. These corals are also regarded as one of the oldest marine organisms on record. In addition to that, they are constantly growing and regenerating new polyps. Some coral reefs have been actively growing for almost forty thousand years. Thus, it is appropriate to say that they are quite old as well as full of mystery.

For more blogs: Gettoplists


Thus, from our discussion of the topic, it can be concluded that the corals are indeed very fascinating and currently there are a number of different types of corals that have been studied. Here, we have discussed in detail about three of them. These include hard corals, soft corals, and deep-sea corals. Thus, this discussion can be regarded as extremely beneficial for all the marine biology enthusiasts out there.