A Coral’s Life
By: Kiri S., Grade 3
Imagine, you are a newborn coral polyp floating in the current with a bunch of other plankton. Now you have to find a place to settle. A place requires these things:
You need sunlight because you have zooxanthelle (“zoo-zan-THEL-ee”), your energy source that turns sunlight into sugar. And you need your place to have a light current because you don’t want it so hard it breaks you, but you also don’t want no current because your food floats in the current. You also want other corals of your same species so you can repopulate.
Whatever you settle on needs to be still because if it moves around, you might break. So you are a little coral floating with the plankton and you already have a lot to worry about. Suddenly, a big school of hungry tuna swims through the plankton community. Many of the plankton around you get eaten. Thankfully, the tunas swim away when they’re full and you don’t get eaten. There’s also a lot of other predators you have to worry about, from the tiniest mollusks to the biggest whales. Finally, you find it: a perfect place to settle in a shipwreck.
Fifty years later, you meet with another coral polyp right next to you and the cycle starts all over again.
NOTE: There is an other way for corals to repopulate, budding. If they repopulate this way, then none of this would have happened.
Kiri, I learned so much through your story, but it read more like an adventure. I never imagined myself as a coral before – now it seems so much more interesting to me. Where did you learn all of this? You included so many details.
Great article, Kiri! I had no idea a coral’s life was so exciting!