Report food web of this ecosystem consists of three

Report on the Aspects of the Coral Reef EcosystemCreated by: Arun Vora | Reviewed by: Idara UmorenSt. Francis Xavier Secondary School, 50 Bristol Rd W, Mississauga, ON L5R 3K3 ABSTRACT: This research examines the key components and processes of the coral reef ecosystem. A variety of notable sources were utilized while researching, in order to decisively find the most significant aspects of the ecosystem to inform the reader of. Overview: Biotic and abiotic components interact frequently in a coral reef, however the most crucial interaction is the symbiotic relationship between the photosynthesizing zooxanthellae and coral polyps. The food web of this ecosystem consists of three major trophic levels, including producers, consumers, and consumers. Within these groupings is all of the thousands of species of the reef. ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, is the source of energy for all living beings inside the reef which connects to a cycle called the phosphorus cycle. The different zones the reef can be broken down into are the fore reef, reef crest, and back reef, which all serve different purposes and harbor different inhabitants. Anthropogenic effects have a major negative impact- climate change and pollution are major contributors to ocean acidification, which leads to coral bleaching and an increased mortality rate in all aquatic animals. Lastly, intermolecular forces describe how molecular interactions impact the ecosystem, consisting of hydrogen bonds in water and London dispersion forces. Table Of ContentsIntroduction……………………………………………………………………………………3Biotic Components…………………………………………………………………………….3Food Web……………………………………………………………………………………….4Abiotic Components……………………………………………………………………………5Chemical Aspects (Photosynthesis, Reef Structure, ATP)………………………………………………….5Anthropogenic Effects………………………………………………………………………….6Benefits of Coral Reefs…………………………………………………………………………7Reef Zones………………………………………………………………………………………7Molecular Breakdown…………………………………………………………………………..7Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………8Appendix – Works Cited…………………………………………………………………………9Appendix – Progress Journal…………………………………………………………………….10Arun VoraMr. JacobsSNC1DB-10118 December 2017All about the Coral Reef Ecosystem     The coral reef ecosystem is an extremely biodiverse one, brimming with life in incredibly varying sizes and complexity. It is one of many ecosystems which possess both biotic and abiotic components which interact with each other. These interactions range all the way from microbiological interactions to the size of a professional football field. Coral reefs take thousands of years to form, however they should not be confused with their bigger brother coral atolls which take upwards of 30 million years to form. This summary of coral reefs will initially cover major topics of the ecosystem, and graduate into more in-depth explanations of the chemical processes.     Let us begin with the main biotic components of the coral reef ecosystem. For living components, we have the coral itself, fish, aquatic plants, anemones, bacteria, algae, zooxanthellae, dinoflagellates, and finally humans to some extent. A common trait among these living components is that they have a symbiotic relationship with the coral reef, in other words, the two help each other out in a way they both find beneficial. For example, many species of fish depend on coral for food and habitat, while corals depend on the grazing of certain fishes for reproductive success. By far, the most important symbiotic relationship is between the coral reef and the zooxanthellae symbiodinium. These organisms live within the tissues of coral polyps, which are the tiny and soft-bodied organisms under their protective limestone skeleton called a calicle. The zooxanthellae provide organic nutrients that nourish the polyp, supplying up to 90% of their nutrients. On the other hand, the corals provide the organism with a safe place to live, along with recycling its excrements. Here, it becomes quite apparent why the symbiotic relationship between zooxanthellae and coral polyps is crucial. Going deeper into how the zooxanthellae nourishes the polyps, the symbiodinium passes on organic carbon compounds such as glycerol, sugars, and amino acids, which they produce themselves through photosynthesis. On the contrary, the coral provides important inorganic nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates that the zooxanthellae need in order to mature. To maximize this symbiosis, the corals will tend to grow in a way that maximizes the exposure of the organisms to sunlight, which increases the production of food and nutrients. Zooxanthellae is able to photosynthesize because it contains chlorophyll A and chlorophyll C, as well as the dinoflagellate pigments peridinin and diadinoxanthin. These provide the yellowish and brownish colours typical of many of the host species. Photosynthesis through chlorophyll is a common trait among many different low-energy organisms from different ecosystems, such as plants, algae, cyanobacteria, and more. To conclude, most if not all symbiotic relationships inside coral reefs consist of the reef providing a home for the other organism, while the other maintains or provides the polyps in some way.    Moving on, we have food webs which are another important way that biotic components of an ecosystem interact with one another. Food webs consist of different organism groupings called trophic levels. In the coral reef ecosystem, there are producers, consumers, and decomposers. Producers are the first trophic level, they are organisms that can produce their own energy and nutrients, usually through photosynthesis or chemosynthesis. Next up are the consumers, which are organisms that depend on producers or other consumers to get their food, energy, and nutrition. There are many different types of          consumers which  essentially boil down to their dietary habits and selections. Finally, we have the decomposers, which complete the cycling of energy through the food web. These organisms consume dead organic material and return nutrients back into the sediment, which are in turn used by the producers for photosynthesis, completing the cycle. These help to identify the types of organisms  inside the food web, however the food web of the coral reef itself essentially describes who eats what, and in which order. We start again, with the producers. The producers in a coral reef are organisms such as algae, phytoplankton, seagrass, and the aforementioned zooxanthellae. These producers are then eaten by the consumers of the ecosystem, which absorb their energy. The consumers are what most people think of when they hear food webs. Much like in business, the consumers are broken down into three groups, which are the primary, secondary, and tertiary consumers. The primary consumers are the herbivores in the ecosystem, such as zooplankton, sea snails, sea sponges, sea urchins, green sea turtles, herbivorous crabs, and of course coral polyps. The secondary consumers eat primary consumers, making them carnivorous animals which are in turn eaten by other carnivores later on. These are animals such as lobsters, shrimp, and many types of fish, mollusks, and arthropods. Next we have tertiary consumers, which are the apex predators of the ecosystem which are not preyed upon. These are comprised of dolphins, tuna, and some types of sharks. Lastly, we have the decomposers who restart the cycle and decrease the heavy bioload, which are mainly comprised of different types of bacterias. The coral reef system also interacts with abiotic components such as water, rocks, sunlight, oxygen, soil, temperature, pollution, decomposing organisms, fossils, and more. As these parts of the ecosystem are abiotic, or not alive, they have a different kind of impact on the ecosystem. These impacts can either be incredibly important or just a nuance. For example, one of if not the most important aspect of the coral reef ecosystem is, surprisingly, water! This is what all of the organisms of the system reside in, which is imperative to their survival as they would not be able to live without it. This is because most organisms that live in water have specialized organs that are able to extract dissolved oxygen out of the water. These include organs such as gills, which have evolved to specialize in taking the O’s out of H2O. Next up, we have sunlight. This provides all of the organisms of the ecosystem with light, which is crucial because it gives way to the entire food web and multiple symbiotic relationships. The most notable of these are the aforementioned zooxanthellae which are producers that photosynthesize and have a symbiotic relationship with the coral polyps. Temperature is another part of the ecosystem because having the right temperature means the ecosystem can live. If the temperature is too high, documented effects include increased sodium solubility, faster biotic uptake, and greater acidity. If the temperature is too low, the opposite will happen. It is all about finding a balance. The next component are decomposing organisms, which used to be biotic components of the ecosystem for the most part. They nourish the decomposers of the ecosystem, contributing to the food chain and keeping the reef thriving. Finally, we have pollution, which differs from the other contributors. Pollution is man-made industrial waste, which harms the ecosystem as opposed to helping it. It does this by seeping into the water, causing metabolic changes in corals, decreasing rates of growth and reproduction, reducing viability of corals, inhibiting coral recruitment, and increasing toxicity. Coral reefs are based upon chemical reactions. Photosynthesis is the most crucial chemical reaction of the coral reef ecosystem,                     occuring between the biotic component of zooxanthellae and the abiotic component of sunlight. As mentioned previously, zooxanthellae contains variants of chlorophyll. In figure 1, light (photons) and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the polyp is received by the zooxanthellae and transformed into oxygen (O2) and energy (ATP) through photosynthesis, which is returned to complete the symbiosis. The chemical formula referring to the      skeleton of the coral is calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which is a hard mineral that protects the polyps. Bones are also made of a variant of calcium, which aids in rigidity. The calcium cations (Ca2+ ) and bicarbonate (HCO3- ) are both minerals that the water is rich in, which helps in producing coral. The corals undergo a process known as  calcification, in which calcium salts accumulate in their body tissue, causing them to harden. The chemical equation for this is Ca + 2HCO3 ? CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O which describes how calcification occurs at the molecular level. To further understand how the coral polyps sustain themselves, their energy sources must be understood. The primary source of energy comes from ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which is produced by the zooxanthellae photosynthesis and symbiotically transferred to the polyps. ATP is found in all forms of life, and is a high energy compound which essentially stores the energy organisms need for just about everything they do. ATP has a chemical formula of C10H16N5O13P3, and has a molar mass of 507.18g/mol. Also, the compound makes an intriguing connection to the food web, through a system called the phosphorus cycle. The energy transferred between organisms when they consume each other is comprised of ATP, which keeps life as we know it afloat. This applies to every food chain, food web, or ecosystem, and has no exceptions- this compound is without a doubt a defining feature of life.Anthropogenic effects on coral reefs include types of pollution, overfishing, climate change, acidification, and eutrophication. Humanity pollutes this ecosystem through dumping urban and industrial waste, sewage, agrochemicals,  and oil into the ocean which are then carried into the reefs. This can smother coral reefs, speed the growth of damaging algae, and lower water quality- leaving corals more susceptible to disease. The one common trait among all of these negative repercussions is a lack of oxygen reaching the polyps. Pollution can often smother reefs, adding toxicity and reducing oxygen intake. More waste in the reefs speeds up the growth rate of algae which uses up all of the oxygen, leaving the polyps and surrounding animals suffocated, which harms the food web and other aspects of the system in a process called eutrophication. Similar to humans, corals need oxygen to survive and function. Without enough O2 circulating through their network, they begin to shut down and die. Also, the toxins in surface runoff can cause increased water acidification, which harms the coral further. This means that the water dips below its normal neutral 7 on the PH scale, making it increasingly more unsuitable for life. Next, we have climate change, which brings along with it a  dangerous phenomena named coral bleaching. This                                                                           occurs when the water temperature rises above its norm, which triggers the ejection of symbiotic zooxanthellae from corals due to temperature stress. This translates to the corals receiving less energy (ATP) and building up carbon dioxide (CO2) which puts them under a great deal of stress and closer to dying. It can be recognized by the coral losing its colour provided by the chlorophyll in the zooxanthellae and turning white. This is called coral bleaching, as shown in the diagram. It can also be caused b y climate change, as a result of increased levels of carbon dioxide (CO2). This is because when carbon dioxide (CO2) is introduced to water, (H2O) it forms a very diluted carbonic acid through an acid base reaction, which has a PH slightly lower than the neutral 7. This results in bleaching, as well as increased susceptibility to diseases such as Aspergillosis, Black Band, White Plague, and more. of  Studies show that in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2005, an intense coral bleaching event occurred which caused some reefs to lose up to 60 percent of their coral cover, which goes to show how hazardous this affect is. If climate change continues, we may lose a substantial amount of coral which will adversely affect both us and the ecosystem. Losing coral reefs would be tragic due to how useful the ecosystem has proven to be to our society. Aside from touring the Great Barrier Reef or Florida Keys, we utilise this biodiverse system as a large source of seafood and also to develop medicine. The reef is home to much of humanity’s favourite foods, such as shrimp, crabs, lobsters, and more. All recklessly damaging the reef does is destroy habitats of these animals, resulting in an increased mortality rate and decreased birth rate. Intriguingly, many types of new medicines are being discovered and based from coral reefs, such as ones that treat cancer, arthritis, human bacterial infections, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and even viral diseases. These are mostly created by extracting enzymes used by corals to protect themselves, which are called Secosteroids. Destroying this newfound hub of medical science could potentially result in millions of lives lost and being cut off from a promising new way to advance medicine. Lastly, any damage inflicted on the reef would ultimately affect all of its surrounding ecosystems, in turn affecting their surrounding systems as well. This would set off a chain reaction in systems such as intertidal zones, estuaries, and mangroves, disrupting their way of life, and in time, humanity’s. Different zones of the coral reef host different habitats, in which various forms of life reside.  These are are the fore reef, reef crest, and back reef. All three of these zones are ecologically interconnected, offering opportunities of exchange for seawater, sediments, nutrients, and marine life amongst each other.  Exchange is very important between segments of an ecosystem, as it allows for biodiversity and enables it to thrive. The reef surface is the most shallow part of the reef, and the most agitated. The fact that it is not in deep water means that it receives more sunlight, which is perfect for the formation of corals. This is because there will be plenty of light for photosynthesis by zooxanthellae, along with the agitation promoting corals to feed on tiny plankton. However, this zone is oftentimes too hostile for other organisms, usually making it one of the less populated parts of the fore reef. The off-reef floor is the next part of the reef, which is a somewhat unimportant transition point that serves the role of being the shallow sea floor surrounding the reef.  Further down, the reef flat is a sandy-bottomed area, which is where fish tend to reside because of its flat and rocky nature. Finally, there is the reef lagoon, which is an entirely enclosed region which is less affected by waves that keep small reef patches. Lastly, a brief overview of a few cases where intermolecular forces play a role in the ecosystem. Since the ecosystem is directly impacted by water, understanding the intermolecular forces occurring inside of the liquid aids in understanding reefs at a molecular level. Starting off with the strongest force in water, the hydrogen bond. This is a special type of dipole-dipole interaction which happens when hydrogen bonds to oxygen. Whenever hydrogen is bonded to Nitrogen, Oxygen, or Fluoride, the dipoles are so large that they are given their own special name. This allows the water (H2O) to form in the first place, giving way for the ecosystem and life as we know it to flourish. The next active force here is as crucial as it is generic and underwhelming- london dispersion forces. London dispersion forces apply to all things and are the weakest interactions, taking place when induced dipoles attract each other. In the context of the coral reef, this can be applied to the water, wildlife, and also can help explain why certain objects stick together such as the limestone and polyps. In conclusion, the coral reef ecosystem is an extremely fascinating one, filled with various components and chemical interactions. These are what make the reef as vibrant and complex as it is. It provides thousands of different species of organisms shelter in otherwise hostile waters, ranging from microscopic zooxanthellae to sharks and other apex predators. The ecosystem contains a crucial food web, and demonstrates an array of chemical processes which can be observed and studied. It gives humans important assets such as an abundance of fish and other seafood, as well as showing a promising future in the development of medicine. All in all, it would be a shame to lose such an essential ecosystem, especially through anthropogenic impacts. Society has much to gain from it, as well as its inhabitants, justifying the importance of keeping it well preserved for the generations after us.                                                                       AppendixWorks Cited: (In text)Wales, Jimmy. “Coral Reef.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 18 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coral_reef.Pastorok, Robert A., and Gordon R. Bilyard. “Effects of Sewage Pollution on Coral-Reef Communities.” Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 21, no. 1/2, 1985, pp. 175–189. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24816929.Smith, A., et al. “SPECIES RICHNESS AND ABUNDANCE OF CORAL REEF FISHES IN THE FLORIDA KEYS FOLLOWING A DECLINE IN CORAL COVER.” Florida Scientist, vol. 70, no. 2, 2007, pp. 137–147. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24321734.Silverman, Jacob, et al. “Community Metabolism of a Coral Reef Exposed to Naturally Varying Dissolved Inorganic Nutrient Loads.” Biogeochemistry, vol. 84, no. 1, 2007, pp. 67–82. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20456495.Randall, C. J., et al. “Relationships between the History of Thermal Stress and the Relative Risk of Diseases of Caribbean Corals.” Ecology, vol. 95, no. 7, 2014, pp. 1981–1994. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43494877. Society, National Geographic. “Coral Reef Food Web.” National Geographic Society, 9 Nov. 2012, www.nationalgeographic.org/media/coral-reef-food-web/.Wikipedia. “Calcification.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Jan. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcification.Sanctuary, Florida Keys National Marine. “Pollution Can Smother Coral Reefs, Lower Water Quality, and Make Corals More Susceptible to Disease.” How Does Pollution Impact Corals?, 4 Apr. 2011, floridakeys.noaa.gov/corals/pollution.html.Pyper, Julia. “Overfishing and Pollution Kill More Corals than Climate Change.” Scientific American, 2 July 2014, www.scientificamerican.com/article/overfishing-and-pollution-kill-more-corals-than-climate-change/.Bauer, Adriana. “Marine Habitats – Biodiscovery and the Great Barrier Reef.” Queensland Museum, Queensland Museum, 21 May 2015, www.qm.qld.gov.au/microsites/biodiscovery/01environments/marine-habitats.html.Gustafson, Ashley. “The Rainforests of the Sea: Coral Reef Ecosystems.” Reef Nation, ReefNation.com, 26 Feb. 2015, www.reefnation.com/rainforests-sea-coral-reef-ecosystems/.Works Cited: ImagesFigure 1.0: http://www.reefnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/a4d48f_f7c7f8aab37048d0f02f647a511d05a2.gif_1024-300×219.gif Figure 2.0: https://www22.corecommerce.com/~reefprostore/uploads/image/zooxenthallae%20cycle.jpgFigure 3.0: https://biologydictionary.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ATP-Structure.jpgFigure 4.0: http://www.indiacelebrating.com/wp-content/uploads/Water-Pollution.jpgFigure 5.0:http://news.rice.edu/files/2016/06/0607-CORAL-Lizard-b-v5il9s.jpgFigure 6.0 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0f/210_Hydrogen_Bonds_Between_Water_Molecules-01.jpgProgress Journal November 29thScience CPT was assignedDecember 8thFirst CPT work periodBegan brainstorming ecosystems to research December 15thDecided on coral reef ecosystem for reportBegan preliminary research for projectAsked Mr. Jacobs for guidance on how to format reportDecember 22ndContinued researching coral reefsGathered information from reports all over the internet, including JSTOR December 29thBegan writing report with gathered researchJanuary 5thContinued writing reportFound images to include in paperJanuary 12thContinued writing report- about half done at this point Continuing to gather sources to create more in-depth subject matterMr. Jacobs reviewed the paper, gave advice on what more to write such as photosynthesis and how it impacts other ecosystemsJanuary 19thFinished rough draft of reportAll information is written, table of contents and appendix are yet to be put inCompared reports with classmates and online to see what I can improve uponJanuary 20th/21stFinished final draft of reportPeer reviewed by Idara UmorenJanuary 22ndFinalized version of report submitted as a PDF

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