Tiny tentacled polyps called corals secrete calcium carbonate, which hardens to give the creatures a skeleton. The exoskeletons of millions of the individual polyps fused together provide the backbone of a whole underwater ecosystem for 25% of the sea’s creatures, the coral reef.
Often thought of as “the rainforests of the ocean” for their biodiversity, coral reefs provide shelter and food for tens of thousands of marine species, including fish, crustaceans, and sponges. These “cities of the sea” are usually found in shallow water with warm and stable temperatures year-round. The sun’s light provides sustenance for algae that grows among the reef which in turn feeds the polyps. Many organisms eat the coral polyps, and then these species eat each other. Very circle of life.
Explore.org’s Cayman Reef Camera is situated in the Caribbean, just inside the fringe reef on Grand Cayman’s East End. Check out all the action on the coral reef live, but first watch this highlight from the cam. Scrawled filefish, blue tangs, and parrot fish are in full view, and these are just a fraction of the life you can watch every day from the Cayman Coral Reef.