The Permian is a geologic period and system which spans 47 million years from the end of the Carboniferous Period 298.9 million years ago, to the beginning of the Triassic period 251.902 Mya. It is the last period of the Paleozoic era; the concept of the Permian was introduced in 1841 by geologist Sir Roderick Murchison, who named it after the city of Perm. The Permian witnessed the diversification of the early amniotes into the ancestral groups of the mammals, turtles and archosaurs; the world at the time was dominated by two continents known as Pangaea and Siberia, surrounded by a global ocean called Panthalassa. The Carboniferous rainforest collapse left behind vast regions of desert within the continental interior. Amniotes, who could better cope with these drier conditions, rose to dominance in place of their amphibian ancestors; the Permian ended with the Permian–Triassic extinction event, the largest mass extinction in Earth's history, in which nearly 96% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial species died out.
It would take well into the Triassic for life to recover from this catastrophe. Recovery from the Permian–Triassic extinction event was protracted; the term "Permian" was introduced into geology in 1841 by Sir R. I. Murchison, president of the Geological Society of London, who identified typical strata in extensive Russian explorations undertaken with Édouard de Verneuil; the region now lies in the Perm Krai of Russia. Official ICS 2017 subdivisions of the Permian System from most recent to most ancient rock layers are: Lopingian epoch Changhsingian Wuchiapingian Others: Waiitian Makabewan Ochoan Guadalupian epoch Capitanian stage Wordian stage Roadian stage Others: Kazanian or Maokovian Braxtonian stage Cisuralian epoch Kungurian stage Artinskian stage Sakmarian stage Asselian stage Others: Telfordian Mangapirian Sea levels in the Permian remained low, near-shore environments were reduced as all major landmasses collected into a single continent—Pangaea; this could have in part caused the widespread extinctions of marine species at the end of the period by reducing shallow coastal areas preferred by many marine organisms.
During the Permian, all the Earth's major landmasses were collected into a single supercontinent known as Pangaea. Pangaea straddled the equator and extended toward the poles, with a corresponding effect on ocean currents in the single great ocean, the Paleo-Tethys Ocean, a large ocean that existed between Asia and Gondwana; the Cimmeria continent rifted away from Gondwana and drifted north to Laurasia, causing the Paleo-Tethys Ocean to shrink. A new ocean was growing on its southern end, the Tethys Ocean, an ocean that would dominate much of the Mesozoic era. Large continental landmass interiors experience climates with extreme variations of heat and cold and monsoon conditions with seasonal rainfall patterns. Deserts seem to have been widespread on Pangaea; such dry conditions favored gymnosperms, plants with seeds enclosed in a protective cover, over plants such as ferns that disperse spores in a wetter environment. The first modern trees appeared in the Permian. Three general areas are noted for their extensive Permian deposits—the Ural Mountains and the southwest of North America, including the Texas red beds.
The Permian Basin in the U. S. states of Texas and New Mexico is so named because it has one of the thickest deposits of Permian rocks in the world. The climate in the Permian was quite varied. At the start of the Permian, the Earth was still in an ice age. Glaciers receded around the mid-Permian period as the climate warmed, drying the continent's interiors. In the late Permian period, the drying continued although the temperature cycled between warm and cool cycles. Permian marine deposits are rich in fossil mollusks and brachiopods. Fossilized shells of two kinds of invertebrates are used to identify Permian strata and correlate them between sites: fusulinids, a kind of shelled amoeba-like protist, one of the foraminiferans, ammonoids, shelled cephalopods that are distant relatives of the modern nautilus. By the close of the Permian, trilobites and a host of other marine groups became extinct. Terrestrial life in the Permian included diverse plants, fungi and various types of tetrapods; the period saw a massive desert covering the interior of Pangaea.
The warm zone spread in the northern hemisphere. The rocks formed at that time were stained red by iron oxides, the result of intense heating by the sun of a surface devoid of vegetation cover. A number of older types of plants and animals became marginal elements; the Permian began with the Carboniferous flora still flourishing. About the middle of the Permian a major transition in vegetation began; the swamp-loving
The Jurassic period was a geologic period and system that spanned 56 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201.3 million years ago to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 Mya. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic Era known as the Age of Reptiles; the start of the period was marked by the major Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Two other extinction events occurred during the period: the Pliensbachian-Toarcian extinction in the Early Jurassic, the Tithonian event at the end; the Jurassic period is divided into three epochs: Early and Late. In stratigraphy, the Jurassic is divided into the Lower Jurassic, Middle Jurassic, Upper Jurassic series of rock formations; the Jurassic is named after the Jura Mountains within the European Alps, where limestone strata from the period were first identified. By the beginning of the Jurassic, the supercontinent Pangaea had begun rifting into two landmasses: Laurasia to the north, Gondwana to the south; this created more coastlines and shifted the continental climate from dry to humid, many of the arid deserts of the Triassic were replaced by lush rainforests.
On land, the fauna transitioned from the Triassic fauna, dominated by both dinosauromorph and crocodylomorph archosaurs, to one dominated by dinosaurs alone. The first birds appeared during the Jurassic, having evolved from a branch of theropod dinosaurs. Other major events include the appearance of the earliest lizards, the evolution of therian mammals, including primitive placentals. Crocodilians made the transition from a terrestrial to an aquatic mode of life; the oceans were inhabited by marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, while pterosaurs were the dominant flying vertebrates. The chronostratigraphic term "Jurassic" is directly linked to the Jura Mountains, a mountain range following the course of the France–Switzerland border. During a tour of the region in 1795, Alexander von Humboldt recognized the limestone dominated mountain range of the Jura Mountains as a separate formation that had not been included in the established stratigraphic system defined by Abraham Gottlob Werner, he named it "Jura-Kalkstein" in 1799.
The name "Jura" is derived from the Celtic root *jor via Gaulish *iuris "wooded mountain", borrowed into Latin as a place name, evolved into Juria and Jura. The Jurassic period is divided into three epochs: Early and Late. In stratigraphy, the Jurassic is divided into the Lower Jurassic, Middle Jurassic, Upper Jurassic series of rock formations known as Lias and Malm in Europe; the separation of the term Jurassic into three sections originated with Leopold von Buch. The faunal stages from youngest to oldest are: During the early Jurassic period, the supercontinent Pangaea broke up into the northern supercontinent Laurasia and the southern supercontinent Gondwana; the Jurassic North Atlantic Ocean was narrow, while the South Atlantic did not open until the following Cretaceous period, when Gondwana itself rifted apart. The Tethys Sea closed, the Neotethys basin appeared. Climates were warm, with no evidence of a glacier having appeared; as in the Triassic, there was no land over either pole, no extensive ice caps existed.
The Jurassic geological record is good in western Europe, where extensive marine sequences indicate a time when much of that future landmass was submerged under shallow tropical seas. In contrast, the North American Jurassic record is the poorest of the Mesozoic, with few outcrops at the surface. Though the epicontinental Sundance Sea left marine deposits in parts of the northern plains of the United States and Canada during the late Jurassic, most exposed sediments from this period are continental, such as the alluvial deposits of the Morrison Formation; the Jurassic was a time of calcite sea geochemistry in which low-magnesium calcite was the primary inorganic marine precipitate of calcium carbonate. Carbonate hardgrounds were thus common, along with calcitic ooids, calcitic cements, invertebrate faunas with dominantly calcitic skeletons; the first of several massive batholiths were emplaced in the northern American cordillera beginning in the mid-Jurassic, marking the Nevadan orogeny. Important Jurassic exposures are found in Russia, South America, Japan and the United Kingdom.
In Africa, Early Jurassic strata are distributed in a similar fashion to Late Triassic beds, with more common outcrops in the south and less common fossil beds which are predominated by tracks to the north. As the Jurassic proceeded and more iconic groups of dinosaurs like sauropods and ornithopods proliferated in Africa. Middle Jurassic strata are neither well studied in Africa. Late Jurassic strata are poorly represented apart from the spectacular Tendaguru fauna in Tanzania; the Late Jurassic life of Tendaguru is similar to that found in western North America's Morrison Formation. During the Jurassic period, the primary vertebrates living in the sea were marine reptiles; the latter include ichthyosaurs, which were at the peak of their diversity, plesiosaurs and marine crocodiles of the families Teleosauridae and Metriorhynchidae. Numerous turtles could be found in rivers. In the invertebrate world, several new groups appeared, including rudists (a reef-formi
An ocean is a body of water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere. On Earth, an ocean is one of the major conventional divisions of the World Ocean; these are, in descending order by area, the Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans. The word "ocean" is used interchangeably with "sea" in American English. Speaking, a sea is a body of water or enclosed by land, though "the sea" refers to the oceans. Saline water covers 361,000,000 km2 and is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas, with the ocean covering 71% of Earth's surface and 90% of the Earth's biosphere; the ocean contains 97% of Earth's water, oceanographers have stated that less than 5% of the World Ocean has been explored. The total volume is 1.35 billion cubic kilometers with an average depth of nearly 3,700 meters. As the world ocean is the principal component of Earth's hydrosphere, it is integral to life, forms part of the carbon cycle, influences climate and weather patterns; the World Ocean is the habitat of 230,000 known species, but because much of it is unexplored, the number of species that exist in the ocean is much larger over two million.
The origin of Earth's oceans is unknown. Extraterrestrial oceans may be composed of water or other compounds; the only confirmed large stable bodies of extraterrestrial surface liquids are the lakes of Titan, although there is evidence for the existence of oceans elsewhere in the Solar System. Early in their geologic histories and Venus are theorized to have had large water oceans; the Mars ocean hypothesis suggests that nearly a third of the surface of Mars was once covered by water, a runaway greenhouse effect may have boiled away the global ocean of Venus. Compounds such as salts and ammonia dissolved in water lower its freezing point so that water might exist in large quantities in extraterrestrial environments as brine or convecting ice. Unconfirmed oceans are speculated beneath the surface of natural satellites; the Solar System's giant planets are thought to have liquid atmospheric layers of yet to be confirmed compositions. Oceans may exist on exoplanets and exomoons, including surface oceans of liquid water within a circumstellar habitable zone.
Ocean planets are a hypothetical type of planet with a surface covered with liquid. The word ocean comes from the figure in classical antiquity, the elder of the Titans in classical Greek mythology, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the divine personification of the sea, an enormous river encircling the world; the concept of Ōkeanós has an Indo-European connection. Greek Ōkeanós has been compared to the Vedic epithet ā-śáyāna-, predicated of the dragon Vṛtra-, who captured the cows/rivers. Related to this notion, the Okeanos is represented with a dragon-tail on some early Greek vases. Though described as several separate oceans, the global, interconnected body of salt water is sometimes referred to as the World Ocean or global ocean; the concept of a continuous body of water with free interchange among its parts is of fundamental importance to oceanography. The major oceanic divisions – listed below in descending order of area and volume – are defined in part by the continents, various archipelagos, other criteria.
Oceans are fringed by smaller, adjoining bodies of water such as seas, bays and straits. The mid-ocean ridges of the world are connected and form a single global mid-oceanic ridge system, part of every ocean and the longest mountain range in the world; the continuous mountain range is 65,000 km long. The total mass of the hydrosphere is about 1.4 quintillion metric tons, about 0.023% of Earth's total mass. Less than 3% is freshwater; the area of the World Ocean is about 361.9 million square kilometers, which covers about 70.9% of Earth's surface, its volume is 1.335 billion cubic kilometers. This can be thought of as a cube of water with an edge length of 1,101 kilometers, its average depth is about 3,688 meters, its maximum depth is 10,994 meters at the Mariana Trench. Nearly half of the world's marine waters are over 3,000 meters deep; the vast expanses of deep ocean cover about 66% of Earth's surface. This does not include seas not connected to the World Ocean, such as the Caspian Sea; the bluish ocean color is a composite of several contributing agents.
Prominent contributors include dissolved organic chlorophyll. Mariners and other seafarers have reported that the ocean emits a visible glow which extends for miles at night. In 2005, scientists announced that for the first time, they had obtained photographic evidence of this glow, it is most caused by bioluminescence. Oceanographers divide the ocean into different vertical zones defined by physical and biological conditions; the pelagic zone includes all open ocean regions, can be divided into further regions categorized by depth and light abundance. The photic zone includes the oceans from the surface to a depth of
The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six periods of the Paleozoic Era. The Ordovician spans 41.2 million years from the end of the Cambrian Period 485.4 million years ago to the start of the Silurian Period 443.8 Mya. The Ordovician, named after the Celtic tribe of the Ordovices, was defined by Charles Lapworth in 1879 to resolve a dispute between followers of Adam Sedgwick and Roderick Murchison, who were placing the same rock beds in northern Wales into the Cambrian and Silurian systems, respectively. Lapworth recognized that the fossil fauna in the disputed strata were different from those of either the Cambrian or the Silurian systems, placed them in a system of their own; the Ordovician received international approval in 1960, when it was adopted as an official period of the Paleozoic Era by the International Geological Congress. Life continued to flourish during the Ordovician as it did in the earlier Cambrian period, although the end of the period was marked by the Ordovician–Silurian extinction events.
Invertebrates, namely molluscs and arthropods, dominated the oceans. The Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event increased the diversity of life. Fish, the world's first true vertebrates, continued to evolve, those with jaws may have first appeared late in the period. Life had yet to diversify on land. About 100 times as many meteorites struck the Earth per year during the Ordovician compared with today; the Ordovician Period began with a major extinction called the Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event, about 485.4 Mya. It lasted for about 42 million years and ended with the Ordovician–Silurian extinction events, about 443.8 Mya which wiped out 60% of marine genera. The dates given are recent radiometric dates and vary from those found in other sources; this second period of the Paleozoic era created abundant fossils that became major petroleum and gas reservoirs. The boundary chosen for the beginning of both the Ordovician Period and the Tremadocian stage is significant, it correlates well with the occurrence of widespread graptolite and trilobite species.
The base of the Tremadocian allows scientists to relate these species not only to each other, but to species that occur with them in other areas. This makes it easier to place many more species in time relative to the beginning of the Ordovician Period. A number of regional terms have been used to subdivide the Ordovician Period. In 2008, the ICS erected a formal international system of subdivisions. There exist Baltoscandic, Siberian, North American, Chinese Mediterranean and North-Gondwanan regional stratigraphic schemes; the Ordovician Period in Britain was traditionally broken into Early and Late epochs. The corresponding rocks of the Ordovician System are referred to as coming from the Lower, Middle, or Upper part of the column; the faunal stages from youngest to oldest are: Late Ordovician Hirnantian/Gamach Rawtheyan/Richmond Cautleyan/Richmond Pusgillian/Maysville/Richmond Middle Ordovician Trenton Onnian/Maysville/Eden Actonian/Eden Marshbrookian/Sherman Longvillian/Sherman Soudleyan/Kirkfield Harnagian/Rockland Costonian/Black River Chazy Llandeilo Whiterock Llanvirn Early Ordovician Cassinian Arenig/Jefferson/Castleman Tremadoc/Deming/Gaconadian The Tremadoc corresponds to the Tremadocian.
The Floian corresponds to the lower Arenig. The Llanvirn occupies the rest of the Darriwilian, terminates with it at the base of the Late Ordovician; the Sandbian represents the first half of the Caradoc. During the Ordovician, the southern continents were collected into Gondwana. Gondwana started the period in equatorial latitudes and, as the period progressed, drifted toward the South Pole. Early in the Ordovician, the continents of Laurentia and Baltica were still independent continents, but Baltica began to move towards Laurentia in the period, causing the Iapetus Ocean between them to shrink; the small continent Avalonia separated from Gondwana and began to move north towards Baltica and Laurentia, opening the Rheic Ocean between Gondwana and Avalonia. The Taconic orogeny, a major mountain-building episode, was well under way in Cambrian times. In the early and middle Ordovician, temperatures were mild, but at the beginning of the Late Ordovician, from 460 to 450 Ma, volcanoes along the margin of the Iapetus Ocean spewed massive amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, turning the planet into a hothouse.
Sea levels were high, but as Gondwana moved south, ice accumulated into glaciers and sea levels dropped. At first, low-lying sea beds increased diversity, but glaciation led to mass extinctions as the seas drained and continental shelves became dry land. During the Ordovician, in fact during the Tremadocian, marine transgressions worldwide were the greatest for which evidence is preserved; these volcanic island arcs collided with proto North America to form the Appalachian mountains. By the end of the Late Ordovician the volcanic emissions had stopped. Gondwana had by that time neared the South Pole and was glaciated
Plankton are the diverse collection of organisms that live in large bodies of water and are unable to swim against a current. The individual organisms constituting plankton are called plankters, they provide a crucial source of food to many large aquatic organisms, such as fish and whales. These organisms include bacteria, algae and drifting or floating animals that inhabit—for example—the pelagic zone of oceans, seas, or bodies of fresh water. Plankton are defined by their ecological niche rather than any phylogenetic or taxonomic classification. Though many planktonic species are microscopic in size, plankton includes organisms over a wide range of sizes, including large organisms such as jellyfish. Technically the term does not include organisms on the surface of the water, which are called pleuston—or those that swim in the water, which are called nekton; the name plankton is derived from the Greek adjective πλαγκτός, meaning errant, by extension, wanderer or drifter, was coined by Victor Hensen in 1887.
While some forms are capable of independent movement and can swim hundreds of meters vertically in a single day, their horizontal position is determined by the surrounding water movement, plankton flow with ocean currents. This is in contrast to nekton organisms, such as fish and marine mammals, which can swim against the ambient flow and control their position in the environment. Within the plankton, holoplankton spend their entire life cycle as plankton. By contrast, meroplankton are only planktic for part of their lives, graduate to either a nektic or benthic existence. Examples of meroplankton include the larvae of sea urchins, crustaceans, marine worms, most fish; the amount and distribution of plankton depends on available nutrients, the state of water and a large amount of other plankton. The study of plankton is termed planktology and a planktonic individual is referred to as a plankter; the adjective planktonic is used in both the scientific and popular literature, is a accepted term.
However, from the standpoint of prescriptive grammar, the less-commonly used planktic is more the correct adjective. When deriving English words from their Greek or Latin roots, the gender-specific ending is dropped, using only the root of the word in the derivation. Plankton are divided into broad functional groups: Phytoplankton, autotrophic prokaryotic or eukaryotic algae that live near the water surface where there is sufficient light to support photosynthesis. Among the more important groups are the diatoms, cyanobacteria and coccolithophores. Zooplankton, small protozoans or metazoans that feed on other plankton; some of the eggs and larvae of larger nektonic animals, such as fish and annelids, are included here. Bacterioplankton and archaea, which play an important role in remineralising organic material down the water column. Mycoplankton and fungus-like organisms, like bacterioplankton, are significant in remineralisation and nutrient cycling; this scheme divides the plankton community into broad producer and recycler groups.
However, determining the trophic level of many plankton is not always straightforward. For example, although most dinoflagellates are either photosynthetic producers or heterotrophic consumers, many species perform both roles. In this mixed trophic strategy — known as mixotrophy — organisms act as both producers and consumers, either at the same time or switching between modes of nutrition in response to ambient conditions. For instance, relying on photosynthesis for growth when nutrients and light are abundant, but switching to predation when growing conditions are poor. Recognition of the importance of mixotrophy as an ecological strategy is increasing, as well as the wider role this may play in marine biogeochemistry. Plankton are often described in terms of size; the following divisions are used: However, some of these terms may be used with different boundaries on the larger end. The existence and importance of nano- and smaller plankton was only discovered during the 1980s, but they are thought to make up the largest proportion of all plankton in number and diversity.
The microplankton and smaller groups are microorganisms and operate at low Reynolds numbers, where the viscosity of water is much more important than its mass or inertia. Plankton inhabit oceans, lakes, ponds. Local abundance varies horizontally and seasonally; the primary cause of this variability is the availability of light. All plankton ecosystems are driven by the input of solar energy, confining primary production to surface waters, to geographical regions and seasons having abundant light. A secondary variable is nutrient availability. Although large areas of the tropical and sub-tropical oceans have abundant light, they experience low primary production because they offer limited nutrients such as nitrate and silicate; this results from large-scale ocean water column stratification. In such regions, primary production occurs at greater depth, although at a reduced level. Despite significant macronutrient concentrations, some ocean regions are unproductive; the micronutrient iron is deficient in these reg
Fossilworks is a portal which provides query and analysis tools to facilitate access to the Paleobiology Database, a large relational database assembled by hundreds of paleontologists from around the world. Fossilworks is housed at Macquarie University, it includes many analysis and data visualization tools included in the Paleobiology Database. "Fossilworks". Retrieved 2010-04-08
Cnidaria is a phylum under Kingdom Animalia containing over 11,000 species of animals found in aquatic environments: they are predominantly marine. Their distinguishing feature is cnidocytes, specialized cells that they use for capturing prey, their bodies consist of mesoglea, a non-living jelly-like substance, sandwiched between two layers of epithelium that are one cell thick. They have two basic body forms: swimming medusae and sessile polyps, both of which are radially symmetrical with mouths surrounded by tentacles that bear cnidocytes. Both forms have a single body cavity that are used for digestion and respiration. Many cnidarian species produce colonies that are single organisms composed of medusa-like or polyp-like zooids, or both. Cnidarians' activities are coordinated by simple receptors. Several free-swimming species of Cubozoa and Scyphozoa possess balance-sensing statocysts, some have simple eyes. Not all cnidarians reproduce sexually, with many species having complex life cycles of asexual polyp stages and sexual medusae.
Some, omit either the polyp or the medusa stage. Cnidarians were grouped with ctenophores in the phylum Coelenterata, but increasing awareness of their differences caused them to be placed in separate phyla. Cnidarians are classified into four main groups: the wholly sessile Anthozoa. Staurozoa have been recognised as a class in their own right rather than a sub-group of Scyphozoa, the parasitic Myxozoa and Polypodiozoa were only recognized as cnidarians in 2007. Most cnidarians prey on organisms ranging in size from plankton to animals several times larger than themselves, but many obtain much of their nutrition from dinoflagellates, a few are parasites. Many are preyed on by other animals including starfish, sea slugs, fish and other cnidarians. Many scleractinian corals—which form the structural foundation for coral reefs—possess polyps that are filled with symbiotic photo-synthetic zooxanthellae. While reef-forming corals are entirely restricted to warm and shallow marine waters, other cnidarians can be found at great depths, in polar regions, in freshwater.
Recent phylogenetic analyses support monophyly of cnidarians, as well as the position of cnidarians as the sister group of bilaterians. Fossil cnidarians have been found in rocks formed about 580 million years ago, other fossils show that corals may have been present shortly before 490 million years ago and diversified a few million years later. However, molecular clock analysis of mitochondrial genes suggests a much older age for the crown group of cnidarians, estimated around 741 million years ago 200 million years before the Cambrian period as well as any fossils. Cnidarians form a phylum of animal that are more complex than sponges, about as complex as ctenophores, less complex than bilaterians, which include all other animals. Both cnidarians and ctenophores are more complex than sponges as they have: cells bound by inter-cell connections and carpet-like basement membranes. Cnidarians are distinguished from all other animals by having cnidocytes that fire harpoon like structures and are used to capture prey.
In some species, cnidocytes can be used as anchors. Like sponges and ctenophores, cnidarians have two main layers of cells that sandwich a middle layer of jelly-like material, called the mesoglea in cnidarians. Hence and ctenophores have traditionally been labelled diploblastic, along with sponges. However, both cnidarians and ctenophores have a type of muscle that, in more complex animals, arises from the middle cell layer; as a result, some recent text books classify ctenophores as triploblastic, it has been suggested that cnidarians evolved from triploblastic ancestors. Most adult cnidarians appear as either free-swimming medusae or sessile polyps, many hydrozoans species are known to alternate between the two forms. Both are radially symmetrical, like a tube respectively. Since these animals have no heads, their ends are described as "oral" and "aboral". Most have fringes of tentacles equipped with cnidocytes around their edges, medusae have an inner ring of tentacles around the mouth; some hydroids may consist of colonies of zooids that serve different purposes, such as defense and catching prey.
The mesoglea of polyps is thin and soft, but that of medusae is thick and springy, so that it returns to its original shape after muscles around the edge have contracted to squeeze water out, enabling medusae to swim by a sort of jet propulsion. In medusae the only supporting structure is the mesoglea. Hydra and most sea anemones close their mouths when they are not feeding, the water in the digestive cavity acts as a hydrostatic skeleton, rather like a water-filled balloon. Other polyps such as Tubularia use columns of water-filled cells for support. Sea pens stiffen the mesoglea with calcium carbonate spicules and tough fibrous proteins, rather like sponges. In some colonial polyps, a chitinous periderm gives support and some protection to the connecting sections and to the lower parts of individual polyps. Stony corals secrete massive calcium carbonate exoske