Symbiotic relationship with algae

The coral polyp needs a single cell algae plant called zooxanthellae to help it survive. These tiny plant cells live in the tissue of the coral polyp. The algae or plant cells provide the polyp with most of its food and oxygen. The polyp provides the algae with protection, some nutrients and carbon dioxide. This is called a symbiotic relationship when both organisms benefit from each other.

Fabulous zooxanthellae facts

  1. Zooxanthellae can swim around in the sea. They have a whip-like tail that spirals around to help them swim.
  2. They enter a coral polyp through the coralís stomach lining. Once inside the coral they loose their tail.
  3. The zooxanthellae live inside the cells of the coral polyp.
  4. There are more than a million zooxanthellae per square centimeter of coral polyp.
  5. If the zooxanthellae get sick, the coral polyp can evict them.

Algal Bloom

Algal bloom