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Bamboo coral

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Bamboo coral
Bamboo Coral.jpg
Scientific Classification
Genera
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Bamboo Coral is in the family Isididae. There is very little information on these corals. They are hard to find because they live so deep in the ocean [1]. Bamboo Coral is very interesting. It has a unique exoskeleton made of calcium carbonate. While there is little known about them they are commonly used for jewelry. They are also very helpful to scientists because of a unique pattern of rings. These rings help scientists see what the ocean was like many years ago. You can also see the different environments that the coral lived in through these rings [2]. Bamboo coral also has a very long lifetime and lives along the ocean floors [3].

Body Design

Anatomical illustration of (Isis hippuris )

Bamboo coral comes in various shapes and sizes. It has been discovered in places as deep as 15915 feet. They have found bamboo coral that is thirty feet tall and 13 feet around. Different bamboo coral reefs have been aged from 70 years to 500 years old. Some bamboo coral have fleshy tentacles. In those fleshy tentacles are nematocysts which cause a sting [4]. The bamboo coral also has rings kind of like on trees. Scientists use this a lot to see different environmental changes. They can see different temperature changes or storms that may have occurred in the past [5].

Bamboo coral's hard skeletons are made up of calcium carbonate. They have many branches made up of gorgonin protein. The branches are where they get their name, because they resemble the branches in bamboo on land. [6]. Bamboo coral are usually brown, yellow or green. They have a white skeleton that is often used for jewelry [7]. They have a recognizable appearance. It has an axial skeleton and most grow to be rather big. They can live for a long time because of how big they grow which makes them strong against environmental conditions [8].

Life Cycle

Coral Life Cycles.png

Coral has the ability to produce sexually and asexually. Its asexual form of reproduction is budding. Budding is used to make new colonies on a coral. Once a polyp is big enough it can break off of the coral and form its own part of a coral reef. This cycle keeps reoccurring and the older corals die and the younger ones take over [9]. To create the first polyp of a coral they must sexually reproduce. A coral first has to reach sexual maturity. It doesn't take as long for the bamboo coral to reach maturity because it is a branching coral. A coral can either be female, male, non reproductive, or both a male and female. Some corals have male and female polyps this is called hermaphrodite. When this happens the coral can reproduce within its self. Other corals are just one sex, male or female, this is called gonochoric.

Corals can reproduce internally or externally. The female can either fertilize the egg inside her body and then release it or it can occur in the water column. Internal reproduction is also called brooding. A male polyp finds eggs that are ready to be fertilized and the female fertilizes them and then lets it go. When a female coral lets all of her eggs go into the water it is called a broadcaster [10]. Corals reproduce about once a year, it is known as spawning [11].

After fertilization, the egg becomes a larva called a planula. If it was fertilized internally then it would be released into the water column. If it was fertilized externally then it is already in the water column. After it has been in the water column it is sent away from the colony. It doesn't really have any control how far it goes. This stage is often the most vital and the most dangerous time for the coral. The coral can however control where it lands, but once it lands it can never move again [12].

Ecology

Bamboo Coral grows in deep waters. They grow in large colonies. They are important to under water because they live for a long time and they are a home to many other organisms [13]. Bamboo coral can live for one hundred years or more [14]. Some have been aged up to four thousand years. They are important to scientists because the coral has rings on it like a tree that shows changes in environment or how old the coral is. Scientists use the coral to study the history of the water and the different chemical changes that have happened [15]. Bamboo Coral cover large areas of space and are a home to a lot of organisms on the ocean floor [16]. Scientists don't know a whole lot about Bamboo Coral. Bamboo Coral is an endangered species as most coral is [17].

Bamboo Coral Jewelry

The most common way that Bamboo Coral is used is to make jewelry. Red coral jewelry is a favorite. There is such a high demand for the jewelry that it is becoming more and more hard to find [18]. Red bamboo coral grows in branches. While they are red in color dye is used to help make the over all color more even. It is also a very soft coral. The coral can be very easily scratched or broken [19].

Many people wear bamboo coral because they think it provides healing properties. Some think that it drives away evil spirits and brings good luck over a home. It has been used in the past to help women with menstrual cramps. It has also been used to help with many other various problems throughout the body, including; arthritis, bone growth, and digestive problems. These are just a few of the purposes that it has been used for [20]. Many different cultures have different beliefs on where bamboo coral began [21].

Video

Bamboo Coral video

References

1. no author. Life Cycle of Coral Bermuda Biological Station. [22]. 4 December 2012 (date accessed).

2. no author. Life Cycle of a Coral Projects by Students for Students. [23]. 4 December 2012 (date accessed).

3. no author. Bamboo Corals in North America: Deep-Sea Forests and Blue Light NOAA. [24]. 5 August 2010 (revised).

4. Ross, Steve. Deep Sea Coral Research NOAA. [25]. 4 December 2012 (date accessed).

5. no author. Bamboo Coral EOL. [26]. 6 August 2012 (written).

6. no author. Family Isididae Marine Species Identification Portal. [27]. 4 December 2012 (date accessed).

7. France, Scott. Genetic Analysis of Bamboo Corals: Does lack of Colony Branching Distinguish Lepidisis from Keratoisis Bulletin of Marine Science. [28] 2007 (written).