Understanding How to Classify a Sessile Organism

What Coral and Mussels Have in Common

Coral Winds
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The term sessile refers to an organism that is anchored to a substrate and cannot move about freely. For example, a sessile alga that lives on a rock (its substrate). Another example is a barnacle that lives on the bottom of a ship. Mussels and coral polyps are also examples of sessile organisms. Coral is sessile by creating its own substrate to grow from. The blue mussel, on the other hand, attaches to a substrate like a dock or a rock via its byssal threads.

Sessile Stages

Some animals, like jellyfish, start their lives as sessile polyps in the early stages of development before becoming mobile, while sponges are mobile during their larval stage before they become sessile at maturity. 

Due to the fact that they don't move on their own, sessile organisms have low metabolic rates and can exist on small amounts of food. Sessile organisms are known to clump together which improves reproduction. 

Sessile Research

Pharmacological researchers are looking into some of the potent chemicals that are produced by marine sessile invertebrates. One of the reasons for that the organisms produce the chemicals is to protect themselves from predators due to the fact that they are stationary. Another reason is they may use the chemicals is to prevent themselves against disease-causing organisms.  

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef was built by sessile organisms.

The reef consists of over 2,900 individual reefs and covers an area of over 133,000 miles. It's the largest structure built by living organisms in the world! 

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Kennedy, Jennifer. "Understanding How to Classify a Sessile Organism." ThoughtCo, Sep. 6, 2017, thoughtco.com/sessile-definition-2291746. Kennedy, Jennifer. (2017, September 6). Understanding How to Classify a Sessile Organism. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/sessile-definition-2291746 Kennedy, Jennifer. "Understanding How to Classify a Sessile Organism." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/sessile-definition-2291746 (accessed March 17, 2018).