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NP QUARTERLY

June 2019

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Cover Story

Underwater View of the Coral World - Testimony of A Tropical Ocean Forest Maker

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Coral reefs form a three-dimensional space above and below the water to house a rich biodiversity / Kenting National Park Headquarters
Coral reefs form a three-dimensional space above and below the water
to house a rich biodiversity / Kenting National Park Headquarters

Profusion of Colors Rising from the Blue

From land, the sea appears bluish green, stripped of other colors by the water. However, submerged into the water, you will find that the hue of the ocean is far from monotonous. In fact, in the wide diversity of creatures among the coral reef, the profusion of colors and brilliance may far exceed the scenery on land. In the waters around Taiwan, most of the average monthly water temperature is conducive to coral growth. Therefore, wherever water quality, sediment quality and light conditions allow, silhouettes of corals can be seen.

Although Taiwan has no extensive shoal environment like the waters of Queensland in northeastern Australia where the Great Barrier Reef is formed, it has a wide distribution of corals. A multitude of corals can be seen in the northeast corner of the island, Taitung and Hengchun, and its surrounding islands such as the Three Northern Islands, Green Island, Orchid Island, Xiao Liuqiu, Penghu Islands, the Dongsha Atoll, and the Spratly Islands. Hence it is not difficult to see a colorful ocean in Taiwan.

Corals have a critical role in marine ecosystems and natural resources. They provide a breeding, foraging and sheltering environment for marine life, thereby preserving a rich biodiversity. For humans, coral reefs are natura l wave breakers and a traditional place for fishing and recreation. Among existing national parks, coral communities can be found in the Kenting National Park, the South Penghu Marine National Park and the Dongsha Atoll National Park in southwestern Taiwan.

The color of polyps comes from the symbiotic algae in their body. / Huai Hsu
The color of polyps comes from the symbiotic algae in their body. / Huai Hsu
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