Bubble Coral, also known as Plerogyra sinuosa, is a type of coral that’s part of the Cnidaria family. It’s called ‘Bubble Coral’ because it looks like it’s covered in bubbles.
Bubble Coral is a cool and unusual species that’s found in the sea. It’s pretty common and you can find it from the Red Sea all the way to the Line Islands in the Pacific.
What Does Bubble Coral Look Like?
Imagine a cone turned upside down, that’s what a colony of Bubble Coral looks like. It can be as big as a yard across.
The bubbles on the coral are actually called ‘vesicles’ and they can grow to be about 1 inch across. These vesicles get bigger during the day and smaller at night.
At night, you can see the polyps and their tentacles. The polyps are like the coral’s hands that reach out to catch food.
How Does Bubble Coral Grow?
The growth of Bubble Coral is a fascinating process. Young colonies start off small and simple, but as they get bigger, their structure gets more complex.
The corallites, which are the parts of the coral where the polyps live, start off in one center, but as the colony grows, they split off into separate valleys.
Sometimes, young colonies form lobes that develop spines. These spines then get longer and a new polyp grows from it. This is a pretty unusual way for corals to grow.
What Does Bubble Coral Eat?
Bubble Coral has a neat way of getting its food. It houses tiny organisms called dinoflagellates inside its soft tissues.
These little organisms use photosynthesis to provide Bubble Coral with organic carbon and nitrogen, which gives the coral about 90% of its energy needs.
The other 10% comes from planktonic organisms that the Bubble Coral catches with its polyps.
Where Can You Find Bubble Coral?
Bubble Coral is found in shallow reef environments in the Indo-Pacific region.
This includes areas from the Red Sea and Madagascar in the western Indian Ocean to Okinawa and the Line Islands in the Pacific. It likes to live in places with low light and gentle water flow.
What Threats Does Bubble Coral Face?
Like other corals, Bubble Coral faces threats from climate change and the destruction of its reef habitat.
Because of these threats, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assessed its conservation status as being ‘near threatened’.
This means that while it’s not currently in danger of extinction, it might become so in the near future if we’re not careful.
What Can We Do to Protect Bubble Coral?
We can help protect Bubble Coral by taking care of our planet. This includes reducing our carbon footprint to slow down climate change and limiting damage to reef habitats.
We can also support conservation efforts that aim to protect and restore these precious ecosystems.
Bubble Coral Characteristics