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Live Coral at the GCA

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The GCA introduced a live coral exhibit this past Earth Day, April 22nd. Our new live coral exhibit emphasizes the importance of coral and why they need our protection; it helps educate guests and raise awareness about the need to conserve coral reefs.  In fact, the GCA has been growing coral from tiny pieces called fragments which were acquired from other institutions. This allows us to display live coral without harming natural reefs. 

The process of growing corals is complex.  The four important elements needed for optimal growth are good water quality, proper lighting, water flow, and appropriate diet.  Corals are slow-growing and can take 3 to 5 years to mature.   A natural coral reef grows on average about 1 mm to 4cm per year!

Below: Frogspawn Coral

frogspawn

The GCA exhibits a dozen species of corals in a 500 gallon exhibit.  Species include: Candy Cane, Frogspawn, Striped Mushroom, Trumpet, and many other colorful hard and soft corals.

Coral reefs are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and are important to the health of marine life. Thousands of creatures, large and small, rely on reefs for shelter and food.  Coral reefs cover 0.2% of the world’s oceans and are found in clear, shallow, tropical seas.  Climate change, unsustainable fishing practices, and unchecked coastal development are a few reasons why nearly one-third of the world’s coral reefs have been lost.