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How does coral get its energy?

Gallery Coral Feeding Hero Coral polyp (OIST), Copepod (University of Exeter), Zooxanthellae (Emma Kennedy / University of Exeter)

This diagram shows the two methods that coral polyps use to get their energy. Typically, during the day, the coral polyp receives energy from the algae (zooxanthellae) in its tissue via photosynthesis. At night, the coral polyp extends its tentacles to catch passing plankton like the copepod shown in the picture.