Coral

For other uses, see Coral (disambiguation).
Orders
Scleractinia

Corals are gastrovascular marine cnidarians (phylum Cnidaria; class Anthozoa) existing as small sea anemone-like polyps, typically forming colonies of many individuals. The group includes the important reef builders known as hermatypic corals, found in tropical oceans, and belonging to the subclass Zoantharia of order Scleractinia (formerly Madreporaria). The latter are also known as stony corals in as much as the living tissue thinly covers a skeleton composed of calcium carbonate. A coral "head" is formed of many individual polyps, each polyp only a few millimetres in diameter. The colony of polyps functions essentially as a single organism by sharing nutrients via a well developed gastrovascular network, and the polyps are clones, each having the same genetic structure. Each polyp generation grows on the skeletal remains of previous generations, forming a structure that has a shape characteristic of the species, but subject to environmental influences.

The hermatypic corals obtain much of their nutrient requirement from symbiotic unicellular algae called zooxanthellae, and so are dependent upon growing in sunlight. As a result, these corals are usually found not far beneath the surface, although in clear waters corals can grow at depths of 60 m (200 ft). Other corals, notably the cold-water genus Lophelia, do not have associated algae, and can live in much deeper water, with recent finds as deep as 3000 m. Corals breed by spawning, with many corals of the same species in a region releasing gametes simultaneously over a period of one to several nights around a full moon.

Corals are major contributors to the physical structure of coral reefs that develop only in tropical and subtropical waters. Some corals exist in cold waters, such as off the coast of Norway (north to at least 69° 14.24' N) and the Darwin Mounds off western Scotland. The most extensive development of extant coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Indonesia is home to 581 of the world's 793 known coral reef-building coral species.

Coral types

There are several other types of corals, notably the octocorals (subclass Octocorallia) and corals classified in other orders of subclass Zoantharia: to wit, the black corals (order Antipatharia) and the soft corals (order Zoanthinaria). Extinct corals include rugose corals and tabulate coral. These two groups went extinct at the end of the Paleozoic. Most other anthozoans would be treated under the common name of "sea anemone".

Geological history

Fossil coral Heliophyllum halli from the Devonian of Canada.

Although corals first appeared in the Cambrian period, some 570 million years ago, they are extremely rare as fossils until the Ordovician period, when Rugose and Tabulate corals became widespread.

Tabulate corals occur in the limestones and calcareous shales of the Ordovician and Silurian periods, and often form low cushions or branching masses alongside Rugose corals. Their numbers began to decline during the middle of the Silurian period and they finally became extinct at the end of the Permian period. The skeletons of Tabulate corals are composed of a form of calcium carbonate known as calcite.

Rugose corals became dominant by the middle of the Silurian period, and became extinct early in the Triassic period. The Rugose corals may be either solitary or colonial, and like the Tabulate corals their skeletons are also composed of calcite. The finest details of their skeletal structures are often well preserved, and such fossils may be cut and polished.

Coral skeletons in a zoological display

Scleractinian corals diversified during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras and are at the height of their development today. Their fossils may be found in small numbers in rocks from the Triassic period, and they are relatively common fossils in rocks from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods as well as the Caenozoic era. The skeletons of Scleractinian corals are composed of a form of calcium carbonate known as aragonite. Although they are geologically younger than the Tabulate and Rugose corals, the aragonite skeleton Scleractinian corals does not tend to preserve well, so it is often easier to find fossils of the more ancient Tabulate and Rugose corals.

At certain times in the geological past corals were very abundant, just as modern corals are in the warm clear tropical waters of certain parts of the world today. And like modern corals their fossil ancestors built reefs beneath the ancient seas. Some of these reefs now lie as great structures in the midst of sedimentary rocks. Such reefs can be found in the rocks of many parts of the world including those of the Ordovician period of Vermont, the Silurian period of the Michigan Basin and in many parts of Europe, the Devonian period of Canada and the Ardennes in Belgium, and the Cretaceous period of South America and Denmark. Reefs from both the Silurian and Carboniferous periods have been recorded as far north as Siberia, and as far south as Australia.

Brain coral off the coast of Belize

However, these ancient reefs are not composed entirely of corals. Algae and sponges, as well as the fossilized remains of many echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves, gastropods, and trilobites that lived on the reefs help to build them. These fossil reefs are prime locations to look for fossils of many different types, besides the corals themselves.

Corals are not restricted to just reefs, many solitary corals may be found in rocks where reefs are not present (such as Cyclocyathus which occurs in the Cretaceous period Gault clay formation of England).

As well as being important rock builders, some corals are useful as zone (or index) fossils, enabling geologists to date the age the rocks in which they are found, particularly those found in the limestones of the Carboniferous period.

Environmental effects on coral

A coral reef can be an oasis of marine life.

Coral can be sensitive to environmental changes, and as a result are generally protected through environmental laws. A coral reef can easily be swamped in algae if there are too many nutrients in the water. Coral will also die if the water temperature changes by more than a degree or two beyond its normal range or if the salinity of the water drops. In an early symptom of environmental stress, corals expel their zooxanthellae; without their symbiotic unicellular algae, coral tissues are colorless, revealing the white of their calcium carbonate skeletons, an event known as 'coral bleaching'.

A combination of temperature changes, pollution, and overuse has led to the destruction of many coral reefs around the world. This has increased the importance of coral biology as a subject of study. Climatic variations, such as El Niño, can cause the temperature changes that destroy corals.

Some coral species exhibit banding in their skeletons resulting from annual variations in their growth rate. In fossil and modern corals these bands allow geologists to construct year-by-year chronologies, a kind of incremental dating, which combined with geochemical analysis of each band, can provide high-resolution records of paleoclimatic and paleoenvironamental change.

Uses

Living corals underwater are more colorful than dead coral

Coral reefs are a great source of tourism for scuba diving or snorkelling, however this has conservational implications due to damage from removal or destruction of coral.

Ancient coral reefs on land are often mined for limestone. An example of this is the quarrying of Portland limestone from the Isle of Portland.

Reddish coral is sometimes used as a gemstone especially in Tibet. Pure red coral is known as 'fire coral' and it is very rare because of the demand for perfect fire coral for jewellery-making purposes.


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Pure red coral is known as 'fire coral' and it is very rare because of the demand for perfect fire coral for jewellery-making purposes. In the late 1950s, a Congolese youth subculture calling themselves the Bills based their style and outlook on Hollywood's depiction of cowboys in movies. Reddish coral is sometimes used as a gemstone especially in Tibet. Outside of the West, the cowboy became an archetypal symbol of American individualism. An example of this is the quarrying of Portland limestone from the Isle of Portland. Many people, however, particularly in the West, wear Western clothing as a matter of form and think of themselves as lawyers, bankers, etc.—even those raised on ranches do not consider themselves cowboys or cowgirls unless so occupied. Ancient coral reefs on land are often mined for limestone. This is especially true when applied to entertainers and those in the public arena who don Western wear as part of their persona.

Coral reefs are a great source of tourism for scuba diving or snorkelling, however this has conservational implications due to damage from removal or destruction of coral. The long history of the West in popular culture tends to define those clothed in Western clothing as cowboys or cowgirls whether they have ever been on a horse or not. In fossil and modern corals these bands allow geologists to construct year-by-year chronologies, a kind of incremental dating, which combined with geochemical analysis of each band, can provide high-resolution records of paleoclimatic and paleoenvironamental change. If working on the ranch, where they perform most of the same chores as cowboys (and are seldom referred to as cowgirls), they generally dress to suit the situation. Some coral species exhibit banding in their skeletons resulting from annual variations in their growth rate. A cowgirl may wear either a skirt cut so as to allow her to sit in the saddle, or jeans. Climatic variations, such as El Niño, can cause the temperature changes that destroy corals. Seldom does today's cowgirl ride sidesaddle.

This has increased the importance of coral biology as a subject of study. Today's cowgirls have adapted cowboy clothing and riding techniques to suit their own needs. A combination of temperature changes, pollution, and overuse has led to the destruction of many coral reefs around the world. Outside of the rodeo, cowgirls also compete in Western Pleasure Riding, Reining, and Endurance Riding competitions. In an early symptom of environmental stress, corals expel their zooxanthellae; without their symbiotic unicellular algae, coral tissues are colorless, revealing the white of their calcium carbonate skeletons, an event known as 'coral bleaching'. Cowgirls seldom compete in the men’s events once they reach adulthood although several do compete in all events in high-school and college rodeos. Coral will also die if the water temperature changes by more than a degree or two beyond its normal range or if the salinity of the water drops. In today's rodeos, cowgirls compete mostly in the timed riding events such as barrel racing, and most professional rodeos do not offer as many women's events as men's events.

A coral reef can easily be swamped in algae if there are too many nutrients in the water. Women were generally excluded from the men's events and the women's events dropped. Coral can be sensitive to environmental changes, and as a result are generally protected through environmental laws. That changed after 1925 when Eastern promoters started staging indoor rodeos in places like Madison Square Garden. As well as being important rock builders, some corals are useful as zone (or index) fossils, enabling geologists to date the age the rocks in which they are found, particularly those found in the limestones of the Carboniferous period. In the early Wild West shows and rodeos, women competed in all events, sometimes with the men. Corals are not restricted to just reefs, many solitary corals may be found in rocks where reefs are not present (such as Cyclocyathus which occurs in the Cretaceous period Gault clay formation of England). The growth of the rodeo brought about another type of cowgirl—the rodeo cowgirl.

These fossil reefs are prime locations to look for fossils of many different types, besides the corals themselves. In the movies that followed they expanded their roles in the popular culture and movie designers developed attractive clothing suitable for riding Western saddles. Algae and sponges, as well as the fossilized remains of many echinoids, brachiopods, bivalves, gastropods, and trilobites that lived on the reefs help to build them. By 1900, skirts split for riding came into design, freeing women to compete with the men in many events. However, these ancient reefs are not composed entirely of corals. Their riding, expert marksmanship, and trick roping entertained audiences around the world. Reefs from both the Silurian and Carboniferous periods have been recorded as far north as Siberia, and as far south as Australia. It wasn't until the advent of the Wild West shows that cowgirls came into their own.

Such reefs can be found in the rocks of many parts of the world including those of the Ordovician period of Vermont, the Silurian period of the Michigan Basin and in many parts of Europe, the Devonian period of Canada and the Ardennes in Belgium, and the Cretaceous period of South America and Denmark. The traditional charras of Mexico ride such side-saddles today while exhibiting superb horsemanship in charreadas on both sides of the border. Some of these reefs now lie as great structures in the midst of sedimentary rocks. The West was too vast for walking and too rough for carriages and buggies in many places. And like modern corals their fossil ancestors built reefs beneath the ancient seas. Charles Goodnight, however, did invent a side-saddle following the Civil War that allowed women to comfortably ride horses while fashionably dressed. At certain times in the geological past corals were very abundant, just as modern corals are in the warm clear tropical waters of certain parts of the world today. Although many undoubtedly helped on the ranches, and in many cases ran them, few routinely dressed in the clothing suitable for working cattle from horseback.

Although they are geologically younger than the Tabulate and Rugose corals, the aragonite skeleton Scleractinian corals does not tend to preserve well, so it is often easier to find fossils of the more ancient Tabulate and Rugose corals. There is no record of any girls or women driving cattle up the cattle trails of the Old West. The skeletons of Scleractinian corals are composed of a form of calcium carbonate known as aragonite. Although cowgirls share much with the cowboy, their history is somewhat different. Their fossils may be found in small numbers in rocks from the Triassic period, and they are relatively common fossils in rocks from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods as well as the Caenozoic era. Snaps, used in lieu of buttons, allowed the cowboy to escape from a shirt snagged by the horns of steer or bull. Scleractinian corals diversified during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras and are at the height of their development today. What is known as the cowboy shirt however, coming from the early movie industry, was adapted especially for the rodeo.

The finest details of their skeletal structures are often well preserved, and such fossils may be cut and polished. The dress of the rodeo cowboy is not much different than that of the working cowboy on his way to town. The Rugose corals may be either solitary or colonial, and like the Tabulate corals their skeletons are also composed of calcite. Many rodeo cowboys are also working cowboys and most have working cowboy experience. Rugose corals became dominant by the middle of the Silurian period, and became extinct early in the Triassic period. The rodeos also provided employment for the many working cowboys needed to handle the livestock. The skeletons of Tabulate corals are composed of a form of calcium carbonate known as calcite. The advent of professional rodeos allowed cowboys, like many athletes, to earn a living by performing their skills before an audience.

Their numbers began to decline during the middle of the Silurian period and they finally became extinct at the end of the Permian period. The word rodeo is from the Spanish rodear (to turn), which means roundup. Tabulate corals occur in the limestones and calcareous shales of the Ordovician and Silurian periods, and often form low cushions or branching masses alongside Rugose corals. The early cowboys worked on the ranches and displayed their skills at the roundups. Although corals first appeared in the Cambrian period, some 570 million years ago, they are extremely rare as fossils until the Ordovician period, when Rugose and Tabulate corals became widespread. Prior to that it was assumed that all cowboys were working cowboys. Most other anthozoans would be treated under the common name of "sea anemone". In the beginning there was no difference between the working cowboy and the rodeo cowboy, and in fact, the term working cowboy did not come into use until the 1950s.

These two groups went extinct at the end of the Paleozoic. In areas with heavy snowfall, snowmobiles are also common. Extinct corals include rugose corals and tabulate coral. It will carry a single cowboy quickly around the ranch for small chores. There are several other types of corals, notably the octocorals (subclass Octocorallia) and corals classified in other orders of subclass Zoantharia: to wit, the black corals (order Antipatharia) and the soft corals (order Zoanthinaria). Motorcycles are sometimes used, but the most common smaller vehicle is the four-wheeler. . With a horse trailer attached, it carries horses to distant areas where they may be needed.

Indonesia is home to 581 of the world's 793 known coral reef-building coral species. It is used to pull stock trailers transporting cattle and livestock from one area to another and to market. The most extensive development of extant coral reef is the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Sturdy and roomy, with a high ground clearance, it can haul ranch supplies from town and still handle rough trails on the ranch. Some corals exist in cold waters, such as off the coast of Norway (north to at least 69° 14.24' N) and the Darwin Mounds off western Scotland. The most common vehicle driven in ranch work is the pickup truck. Corals are major contributors to the physical structure of coral reefs that develop only in tropical and subtropical waters. Tack:.

Corals breed by spawning, with many corals of the same species in a region releasing gametes simultaneously over a period of one to several nights around a full moon. Because the rider is busy working while riding, the horse must neck rein and have good cow sense—it must instinctively know how to anticipate and react to cattle. Other corals, notably the cold-water genus Lophelia, do not have associated algae, and can live in much deeper water, with recent finds as deep as 3000 m. The most important horse on the ranch is the cutting horse. As a result, these corals are usually found not far beneath the surface, although in clear waters corals can grow at depths of 60 m (200 ft). Horses, along with mules and burros, also serve a pack animals. The hermatypic corals obtain much of their nutrient requirement from symbiotic unicellular algae called zooxanthellae, and so are dependent upon growing in sunlight. It travels where vehicles cannot.

Each polyp generation grows on the skeletal remains of previous generations, forming a structure that has a shape characteristic of the species, but subject to environmental influences. There is no substitute for the horse on a large ranch. The colony of polyps functions essentially as a single organism by sharing nutrients via a well developed gastrovascular network, and the polyps are clones, each having the same genetic structure. Many of the items were adapted from the Mexican vaqueros. A coral "head" is formed of many individual polyps, each polyp only a few millimetres in diameter. Most cowboy dress, thought of as Western wear, grew out of the environment in which the cowboy worked. The latter are also known as stony corals in as much as the living tissue thinly covers a skeleton composed of calcium carbonate. Of those 9,730 workers, 3,290 of them are listed in the subcategory of Spectator sports which includes rodeos, circuses, and theaters needing livestock handlers.

The group includes the important reef builders known as hermatypic corals, found in tropical oceans, and belonging to the subclass Zoantharia of order Scleractinia (formerly Madreporaria). In addition to cowboys working on ranches, in stockyards, and in rodeos, the category includes farm hands working with other types of livestock (sheep, goats, hogs, chickens, etc.). Corals are gastrovascular marine cnidarians (phylum Cnidaria; class Anthozoa) existing as small sea anemone-like polyps, typically forming colonies of many individuals. Cowboys are included in the 2003 category, Support activities for animal production, which totals 9,730 workers averaging $19,340 per annum. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics collects no figures for cowboys, so the exact number of working cowboys is unknown. On smaller ranches with fewer cowboys—often just family members—the cowboy tends to be a generalist employed in many tasks.

On larger ranches, or on those with lots of cattle, a cowboys may specialize in one task or another. These jobs vary depending on the size of the ranch, the terrain, and the number of livestock. In addition, cowboys repair fences, maintain ranch equipment, and perform other odd jobs around the ranch. They also move the livestock to market.

On the ranch, the cowboy is responsible for feeding the livestock, branding or marking cattle and horses, and tending to their injuries or other needs. The term predates the discovery of the New World and originates from the perception that herdsmen are unskilled laborers. In the British Isles and New Zealand, the term cowboy is derogatory, and usually applied to tradesmen whose work is of shoddy and questionable value, e.g., "a cowboy plumber". In Australia, which has a large ranch (station) culture, cowboys are known as stockmen (with trainee stockmen being known as jackaroos and jillaroos).

In addition to the original Mexican vaquero, the Mexican charro, the North American cowboy, and the Hawaiian paniolo, the Spanish also exported their horsemanship and knowledge of cattle ranching to the gaucho of Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and (with the spelling "gaúcho") southern Brazil, the llanero of Venezuela, the huaso of Chile, and, indirectly through the Americans, to Australia. The term paniolo is thought to have originated as a Hawaiianized pronunciation of español. At that time California was still part of Mexico, and Hawaii was known as the Sandwich Islands. Hawaiian King Kamehameha III brought these vaqueros over from California in 1832 to teach the cow herders how to handle their cattle.

As with the mainland cowboy, the paniolo learned their skills from Mexican vaqueros. The Hawaiian cowboy, the paniolo, has as rich a history and tradition as the mainland cowboy. Following the dissolution of the reservation system around 1900, many of the Indian trade schools also taught ranching skills to Indian youth. Many of the early vaqueros were Indians trained to work for the Spanish missions in caring for the mission herds.

American Indians also found employment as cowboys early in the history of the West. Similarly, cowboys of Mexican descent also averaged about 15%, but were more common in Texas and the southwest. It is estimated that about 15% of all cowboys were of African ancestry—ranging from about 25% on the trail drives out of Texas, to very few on the northern ranges. The cowboy occupation undoubtably appealed to the freedmen following the Civil War.

Census records bear that out. ...". of two classes—those recruited from Texas and other States on the eastern slope; and Mexicans, from the south-western region. The Cattle on a Thousand Hills by John Ambulo in the March 1887 issue of The Overland Monthly states that cowboys are "..

Much has been written about the racial mix of the cowboys in the West, but cowboys ranked low in the social structure of the period and there are no firm figures. In pop culture, the cowboy and the gunslinger are often associated with one another. In the 1930s and 1940s, Western movies popularized the cowboy lifestyle but also formed persistent stereotypes. Meanwhile, ranches multiplied all over the developing West, keeping cowboy employment high, if somewhat more settled.

Smaller cattle drives continued at least into the 1940s, with Arizona cattle driven to the railhead at Magdalena, New Mexico. By the 1890s, the open ranges of the Indian Territory were gone and the large cattle drives from Texas to the railheads in Kansas were over. Such hazardous work in isolated conditions bred a tradition of self-dependence and individualism, exemplified in their songs and poetry. Over time, the cowboys of the American West developed a culture of their own, a blend of frontier and Victorian values.

Sharing the same base, their traditions became indistinguishable with a few regional differences still remaining. Following the Civil War, their culture diffused eastward and northward combining with the earlier cowboy tradition that was following the cattle trails out of Texas northward and westward. Buckaroo is the anglicized pronunciation of vaquero and is still a common term in the Great Basin and many areas of California and the Pacific Northwest. The buckaroo, also a cowboy of the vaquero tradition, developed in California and bordering territories during the Spanish Colonial period.

Here they were absorbed by the Mexican vaquero culture, borrowing vocabulary and attire from their counterparts. Following Texas independence in 1836 even more Americans immigrated into Texas and to the empresario ranching areas. Austin and his East Coast comrades became the first English speaking Mexicans. In 1821 Stephen F.

In the early 1600s, Spain, and later Mexico, began offering empresario grants in what would later be Texas to Americans who agreed to become citizens and convert to Catholicism. In the northern parts of Mexico (New Mexico) in its original configuration included most of the territory of the American southwest including Texas. Actually, what is usually believed to be an American icon, is in reality a New Hispanic tradition originated in the Central States of Mexico, Jalisco and Michoacan, where the Mexican cowboy would eventually be known as "charro". During the 16th century, they brought the tradition with them to the New World through New Spain (later Mexico).

In fact the Spanish invented what we now know as the cowboy tradition beginning in the Middle Ages in Spain. The Spanish were adept at herding livestock. . In addition to ranch work, some cowboys work in and participate in rodeos, and many cowboys work only in the rodeo.

The cowboy is in charge of the horses, as is the wrangler. A cowboy (Spanish vaquero) tends cattle and horses on cattle ranches in North and South America. Computer science: Cowboy/cowgirl, as in a really skillful computer hacker or computer programmeror video games. Sports: Cowboy action shooting, Rodeo, Indian rodeo, Charreada.

Music: Western Music, Western swing, List of famous Cowboy songs. Television: TV Western. Film: Western movie, List of Western movies. Literature: Western fiction, List of Western fiction authors, Cowboy poetry.

Fine art: Cowboy Artists of America. Saddle bags; a bag which can be mounted to the saddle for carrying various sundry items and extra supplies. Bridle; a Westen bridle usually has a curb bit and long split reins to control the horse in many different situations. Saddle blanket; a blanket or pad is required under the Western saddle to provide comfort and protection for the horse.

Western Saddle; a saddle with specially designed for working with cattle; it has stirrups to allow the rider to stand or resist the pull of livestock while working, a horn so the lariat can be snubbed, tiedowns to provide secure mountings for any additional equipment needed for work on the ranch, and various other modifications. Cow dog; many people, including cowboys, find a herding dog invaluable in locating and controlling livestock. Occasionally cowboys will carry a pistol when not physically working cattle, especially in brushy areas. Rifle; a weapon needed to protect the livestock from predation by wild animals.

Spurs; a tool, attached to the rider's heel, designed to help a rider communicate with the horse when the hands are busy or when it is too noisy for oral commands. Lariat; from the spanish "la riata," meaning "the rope," a tightly twisted stiff rope with a loop at one end enabling it to be thrown to catch animals (sometimes called a lasso, especially in the East). Chaps; guards worn to protect the legs when riding through heavy brush or during rough work with the livestock. Jeans, or other sturdy tight-fitting pants; heavy pants designed to protect the legs and snug fitting to prevent the pants legs from snagging on brush, corral equipment, and other hazards.

Cowboy boot; a boot with a high top to protect the lower legs, pointed toes to help guide the foot into the stirrup, and high heels to keep the foot from slipping through the stirrup while working in the saddle. Cowboy hat; a hat with a wide brim to protect from the sun and the elements; there are many styles, probably influenced by both the Mexican sombrero and US (and Confederate) Cavalry hats.

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