7 pictures with 7 lines to share a story and views on life under the sea: Our first ode to reef life.

Let the sunshine in

Hard corals, creators of reefs, set the scene.
Each colony one organism, one animal.
Starting as a single polyp that
builds a calciferous skeleton around itself.
Dividing itself into genetically identical polyps – over and over –
slowly growing into colonies of various shapes,
struggling for space and light with other species on the reef.

Home sweet home

Looking more closely reveals
small creatures, delicate and beautiful,
finding a safe home inside these corals,
like this tubeworm, known as feather duster (family Sabellidae).
Hidden from the naked eye, algae settled safely inside the coral,
turning sunlight into energy to share.
Life in perfect harmony until outside stressors grow too big.

Live and let live

We are not the only ones looking.
The Filefish (Chaetodermis penicilligerus) scanned the reef
until, for a brief moment, it stared back at the camera.
“Nothing to see here. Move along.”
I thanked it for its cooperation,
And went on my way,  
giving us both some peace and quiet.

All we need

Love is the perfect motivation,
the best internal compass.
Not just to take care of our families,
like this Saddleback Anenomefish (Amphiprion polymnus)
is doing by keeping the eggs clear of sediments.
But it’s the ultimate answer to everything –
as an alternative to 42.

Get into the groove

Life on the reef,
somewhat chaotic at first glance,
reveals residents, routines and cohabitation
even of predators and prey for most of the day.
Tiny shrimps, like this Dasycaris ceratops,
rely on a good camouflage or a secure hiding place,
like this sea pen (order Pennatulacea) with polyps (acrozooids) extended.

Small worlds

Looking more closely reveals
that even small creatures, delicate and beautiful,
Iike this Blue Bell Sea Squirt (Perophora namei)
are hosting somebody else: Skeleton Shrimps (family Caprellidae).
The reef is a colourful wonderland,
providing habitats with food and shelter
down to the smallest level.

Evolution

Coral reefs remain full of mysteries.
Hotspots of global biodiversity, complex and fragile ecosystems
where patterns and routines of different species interlace:
Perfectly orchestrated and ever-evolving,
counting on specialisation as well as collaboration.
Every creature has its function and niche
and so do we.

Reef life: some many views, so many angles. For more pictures and a different story ride the „waves of energy„. This won’t be the only ode to coral reefs.

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