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Reefs - Gardens Under the Sea



Reefs - Gardens Under the Sea
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   high interest, readability grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.61

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    atoll, destruction, carbonate, neon, volcanic, lies, outer, material, covering, meters, rainforest, rate, over-fishing, describe, seawater, present
     content words:    Caribbean Sea, Great Barrier Reef, Barrier Reef


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Reefs - Gardens Under the Sea
By Patti Hutchison
  

1     An underwater garden, a rainforest in the sea these are ways to describe a coral reef. How are these ecosystems formed? What organisms live there?
 
2     A reef is formed by tiny organisms called coral polyps. They are only a few millimeters long. These polyps collect calcium carbonate from the seawater. It hardens and turns into limestone. This forms a protective covering over the polyp.
 
3     The polyps live in large colonies. When they die, their shells are left behind. This causes the reef to grow bigger. Only the outer layer of the reef is alive. The hard material underneath is skeletons of dead coral polyps.
 
4     The polyps that build them can only live in water above eighteen degrees Celsius. They must have sunlight to live. They cannot survive below fifty-five meters because it is dark beyond that depth. That is why coral reefs are only found in warm, shallow waters such as the Caribbean Sea.

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