Corals and Sponges of Cozumel
Brain Coral is a common name given to several genera of coral, which are characterized by the spheroid shape of their colonies and by the grooves and channels on their surface, which resemble the folds on the surface of the human brain. Brain coral is in the taxonomic family Faviidae, but not every genus in the family is brain-shaped.
Brain corals are found in warm-water coral reefs in all the world's oceans. They are in a class called "sea flowers", also known as Anthozoa or scientifically, Phylum Cnidaria. The life span of the largest brain corals is 200 years.
Whip Coral (Eptogorgia Virgulata)
Whip coral has slender, whip-like branches that vary in color from deep purple to yellowish-tan. The long, tough branches are covered in coral polyps, which look like tiny white dots against the coral's skeleton.
Whip coral can grow to about three feet tall and grows on rocks, reefs, pilings and other hard surfaces.
Whip corals are suspension feeders. Each of the polyps covering the coral's skeleton has eight feathery, saw-toothed tentacles that periodically emerge to sweep plankton and tiny particles into the coral's body.
Star Coral (Galaxea fascicularis)
The star coral is one of the hard coral species that contains a stone-like calcium skeleton. Small, oval
Elkhorn coral is a large, branching shallow water coral with thick and sturdy antler-like branches. Colonies are fast-growing: branches increased by 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) per year, with colonies reaching their maximum size in approximately 10 to 12 years.
Yellow tube sponges (Aplysina Fistularia)
The yellow tube sponge displays one of the many different body forms typical of sponges. Sponges, considered to be the most primitive of the multi-cellular animals, are represented in the fossil record going back to the Cambrian Period, at least 600 million years ago. The interior body cavities of sponges provide shelter for a variety of small crabs, sea stars, and other marine invertebrates.
Location. 20° 28.545′ N, 86° 58.511′ W. Marker is near San Miguel de Cozumel, Quintana Roo, in Municipality of San Miguel de Cozumel. Touch for map. Near the Mayan Fiesta Rum Cake Company at the Cozumel cruise ship dock. Marker is in this post office area: San Miguel de Cozumel, Quintana Roo 77676, Mexico.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 kilometers of this
Also see . . .
1. Sponges and Algae Are Choking the Caribbean's Coral Reefs. Descending into the clear blue water of the Colombia Reef, off Cozumel in Mexico, there are two ways to look at what greets you. One is as a fantastic, calming world of peace and harmony, so different from our hectic lives on shore. The soft corals sway in the current, colorful fish swim lazily by, and turtles float happily above. (Submitted on February 7, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
2. Brain Coral. Brain coral is a common name given to various corals in the families Mussidae and Merulinidae, so called due to their generally spheroid shape and grooved surface which resembles a brain. Each head of coral is formed by a colony of genetically identical polyps which secrete a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate; this makes them important coral reef builders like other stony corals in the order Scleractinia. (Submitted on February 7, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
3. Elkhorn coral. Elkhorn coral (Acropora palmata) is a prominent Caribbean reef-building coral, although current populations are still struggling to recover from white band disease outbreak. (Submitted on February 7, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
4. Galaxea fascicularis (Star Coral). Small colonies of Galaxea fascicularis often form low domes but as they grow, the colonies become more irregular, massively hummocky or columnar and may eventually reach 5 metres (16 ft) across. (Submitted on February 7, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
5. Aplysina insularis (Yellow Tube Sponge). Aplysina insularis, the yellow-green candle sponge or yellow tube sponge, is a species of demosponge that is found on reefs in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. (Submitted on February 7, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa.)
Categories. • Animals •
Credits. This page was last revised on February 13, 2018. This page originally submitted on February 7, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 57 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 7, 2018, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.