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Scientists place the reef balls on the bottom of the ocean anywhere from 5 feet deep to maybe a 100 feet deep. Algae will grow on it and polyps from reproducing corals near by will land on the reef ball (the reef ball acts as a structure for life to begin instead of trying to beat the odds by landing on plain sand). Once a single polyp lands on the ball, it will reproduce until it becomes a community. What is super cool is that there is another organism called zooxanthellae. Huh? Zooxanthellae are microscopic dynoflagellate ? algae- that live symbiotically with the coral. Symbiotic means they live together and are advantageous to each other. The algae provide photosynthetic food for the coral and a protective cover from sunlight and temperatures; in turn the coral provides protection and a structure for the zooxanthellae to live. Now that the reef ball has algae and corals growing on it, to make it a habitat, there has to be more organisms living there. The holes in the structure make great hiding places for small fish, crabs, shrimp, etc. Many fish and crabs can eat algae that grow on it ? so it attracts even more animals. Once you look at the whole thing, you will see that a coral reef community has a high diversity of organisms ? comparable to a rain forest!

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