23 November, 2021

by Frank Hyde

We are not Rocks!!

Yes, we know our deceased family members who weren’t as lucky as us can look like a rock but those are just their left over foundations. Let us tell you the coral facts you have to know. We most definitely are not rocks!

We absolutely like to look pretty! 

Some people think our patterns and colors look similar to rocks and crystals but we are alive and have delicate little bodies so please don’t stand on us.

Image of the hard coral rack at our Coral and Fish Restoration Project (thanks to the Ocean Gardener team)
coral facts illustration

We love to be looked at so please come closer! Our communities have a lot of interesting stuff going on. We often are mistaken for rocks because it is hard for you to see us clearly when you are above the water and we are below. So, please don’t drop anchors on us or drag anchor chains across us. We do, however, would love it for you to come on down and enjoy us a little closer.

Us corals are really social! We like to get together but our gatherings don’t usually have very good publicity so unfortunately many people think our team events are just Rocks.

We rally together for:

  • Fringing Reefs: We like to gather for parties out along the beach like you guys. I think you call our big long beach get togethers a “reef”. We actually help keep the waves more friendly and help the beach have more sand for your get togethers. You’re welcome 😉
Image of a fringing reef
  • Patch Reefs or Bommies: We don’t always like big long get togethers, so sometimes we just get together here and there in smaller more intimate groups that you call Bommies. Think of them like your version of a company picnic.
Image of Patch Reef or Bommie
  • Barrier Reefs & Walls: Also out in front of the beach but when we have a really good venue, we just keep crowding in like you guys at a concert and go down deep and form a beautifully complex coral megalopolis you all call a wall.
Image of Barrier Reefs & Walls
  • Atolls: These are our biggest events! Usually started by a serious crowd drawing group with awesome pyrotechnics called the “The Volcanoes”. These events end up creating a coral city that lasts long after the volcanoes are gone.
Image of an Atoll with volcano almost fully eroded

We are not Plants!!

We are not plants, but we love them as we farm them!

  • Corals can form beautiful colonies that look like flowers.
  • Plants like to cooperate with corals because the corals give them food and housing.
  • Corals are definitely not plants and if we could speak your language we would tell you we are very good farmers! We farm about 90% of our own food. The rest, we hunt with are very well armed tentacles. We are self-sufficient and don’t damage our surroundings. Most of you humans would have a hard time saying that!

We are Animals!!

All of us Corals are animals and most of us like to live in groups. We call ourselves polyps and we do best when we are connected to each other in colonies.  What you may think of as an individual coral is usually a group of animals called a colony.

A coral reef is a gathering of colonies that form a community or “Reef City”. For a reef city to thrive, there are a lot of jobs that need to be done; ranging from storm protection, land management, worker housing, public safety, law enforcement and all the way to sanitation. Certain types (species) of coral colonies provide these essential services for their reef city homes. There are a few types of solitary corals and just like humans, they have special adaptations to be able to survive on their own.

Thanks for listening to us! We need to get back to our reef building work now. Please stay tuned for our next entry that gets very personal about how we live and what we need to thrive.

Until next time.

May you have clear seas and sunny skies!