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How long does it take to build a reef?

Stony Corals at Bluff Island, Sai Kung
Coral Community found
at Bluff Island
  • Depends on the growth rate and destruction rate of the reef structure

  • Generally, growth rate of a reef (i.e. annual increment towards water surface) is about 0.5 inch per year and each of a well-formed reef is grown over millions years old

  • Individual corals can grow much faster but these rates do not apply over large areas of reef. Reef growth is not just a factor of how fast corals can grow, it is controlled by many factors, such as death of individual coral polyps, storms, predation by other animals (e.g. crown of thorns starfish) and coral boring organisms

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Last Review Date : 22 March 2017