Coral reproduces both sexually and asexually, and it needs warm water (68 to 82 degrees Farenheit), sunlight, shallow depth (best under 150 feet), and minimal human interference to survive and continue growing. Coral generally grows around latitudes 30 degrees north and south of the equator. The rate at which coral grows depends on the salinity of the water, the depth at which it is located, whether it has space to grow, the turbulence in the water (the more waves, the more nutrients are brought to the coral), and whether it is in a heavy-traffic or light-traffic area. Coral that is healthy can grow about 1-10 cm per year.
Coral reefs also need water that is slightly alkaline. The greatest threat to coral reefs today is the acidification of the ocean (created by anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions). Recent studies prove that increasingly acidic waters make it nearly impossible for reefs to continue growing, or to reconstitute themselves after they have been partially destroyed.
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