CORALS & experience scuba dive
Corals belong to a large group of animals known as Coelenterata (stinging animals) or Cnidaria (thread animals). Corals grow slow. The massive forms may grow up to 2 cm. in diameter and up to 1 cm in height a year, whereas, delicate branching forms grow between 5 to 10 cm. per annum. A true reef building stony coral may be unisexual or bisexual. They breed together once in a year at a pre-determined time after dusk. This process, at places is so intense that the water stays pinkish till next morning. A large number of baby corals are released in the open ocean this way. After sometime these baby corals settle over a suitable substratum and start forming new colonies through a sexual reproduction. Their morphological features 31 change with the environment in which they settle. Due to this peculiar character they are often called 'Plastic animals'.
Stony corals could be broadly divided into reef builders and non-reef builders, the reef builders are called hermatypic whereas others are known as ahermatypic corals. The reef builders possess hard calcareous skeleton and need sunlight like plants to survive. On the other hand, the non-reef builders are devoid of a true stony framework and can live well without sunlight. A few among them are capable of making protein based solidified skeleton.