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Big Blue Conservation - Koh Tao - Thailand

Corals

Koh Tao has a large variety of coral genera and growth forms, before we even think about sponges, ascidians and other substrates. This section is a brief introduction into those found in Koh Tao.

Hard Coral

Hard coral has a hard calcium carbonate structure and in general is very slow growing because it takes time to secrete this hard skeleton.

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Hard Coral Growth Forms

Hard coral grows in a wide vari ety of shapes and sizes depending on amount of available light, wave movement and current. There are a huge amount of variations but the images and information below outlines the main ones.

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Soft Coral

Soft corals are so called because they do not produce calcium carbonate skeletons. Instead their skeletons are made up of elements called sclerites and they give the coral a degree of support.
Because of their relatively soft structure they are not reef building corals. Soft corals tend to thrive in nutrient-rich waters with less light intensity. Like hard corals, they do depend upon zooxanthellae for the majority of their energy as a major energy source. The polyps of soft coral will have eight or multiples of eight tentacles whereas hard coral polyps will have six or multiples of six.

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