Coral reef framework

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Today we will identify in the field the various important components of the coral reef ecosystem.

Habitat axis

  • Mangrove
  • Seagrass flats
  • (Back reef)
  • Reef crest
  • Fore reef
  • Reef slope
  • (Walls)
  • (Rubble zone)

Reef types: fringing, barrier, atoll

Taxonomic axis

  • Plankton, microalgae, planktonic phase of many taxa
  • Higher plants (Angiosperms), seagrasses
  • Macroalgae (seaweeds), Halimeda
  • Corals (phylum: Cnidaria, class: Anthozoa)
  • Crustaceans (phylum: Arthropoda, class: Crustacea)
  • Echiniderms (phylum: Echinodermata), starfish, urchins, basketstars/featherstars
  • Holothurians (phylum: Echinodermata!), sea cucumbers
  • Sponges (phylum: Porifera)
  • Molluscs (phylum: Mollusca), gastropods, bivalves and nudibranchs
  • Anemones (phylum: Cnidaria, class: Anthozoa)
  • Fish

Habitat axis

  • Feeding (planktivore, herbivore, piscivore, coralivore…)
  • Spatial (land-sea and depth)
  • Substrate/structure (in/on, coral, sand, sponges…, pelagic/demersal/benthic)
  • Temporal (diurnal, nocturnal)
  • Symbionts (cleaners, shrimp-goby, clown fish, sea lice…)
  • Disturbance (branching coral vs. boulder coral)