By William Green, Gordon Swanborough
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The most common animals in this zone are sand fleas and crabs, which take refuge under driftwood and seaweed during the day. Both are crustaceans that consume dead plant and animal material. Sand dunes create an interesting ecological environment. Frontal dunes closest to the water often host a plant and animal community. The specialized plants have adaptations such as waxy coverings on the leaves, small leaves with few stomata, large root systems, and thick stems and leaves to store water. The first line of dunes is the primary dune, which deflects ocean breezes and creates a semiprotected environment on the backside of the dune.
The coral produces an exoskeleton of calcium carbonate, which forms around the base of each polyp, allowing them to retreat inside for protection. The vibrant color of coral is due to the presence of algae called zooxanthellae. Different species of zooxanthellae give the coral different colors. The algae provide the coral with energy through photosynthesis and aid in calcification of the reef. In return, the coral provides the zooxanthellae a safe environment in which to flourish. This is an excellent example of a symbiotic relationship, where two different species live together for the purpose of mutual benefit.
60 The Colors of Mineral Sand A quartz sand grain seen through crossed polarizing filters shows rainbow birefringence. The colors indicate the extent to which the crystal has rotated the plane of the polarized light (magnification 160x). Vibrant color is a stunning phenomenon in minerals, but mineralogists tend not to rely very much on color as an identifying characteristic. Some minerals, like garnets, come in many colors due to changes in composition or the presence of impurities. Garnets can be blood red, pale pink, brown, black, green, or orange depending on their chemistry.