This mirror is being hosted with the permissions of the original content creator for preservation and educational purposes.

  What can I say? You just can not beat a coral reef for its sheer beauty of form and the diversity of life that can be found in a relatively small area. It is no wonder that anyone who has ever laid faced down over such a sight becomes enchanted with reefs. Once enchanted though, the real adventure of discovery begins. I will admit that it took me a few years to calm down enough to where I could look beyond the corals and begin to see the reef for what it really is, another planet full of alien life forms in such diversity and function that I am not too sure if we will ever fully discover and understand what a coral reef truly entails. Put your face mask within a few inches of a reef wall and the sheer number of species that can be seen within the frame of your mask will blow your mind. Take the time and pick out one small animal to study, and you probably have just found a new career. Any given animal family that lives in the ocean most likely has more species in it than you have time left on this planet to study.


    Just as with any reef, the corals here have to compete with algae. Being near shore, this means the reef is subject to shore based nutrient run off. Normaly this only becomes a problem when mankind adds additional pollutants through sediment run off, farming fertilizors and industrial waste water. If not too extreme, the reefs algae can be kept under control even under most of these circumstances. It is when through the collection of herbivore species of fish and invertebrates does the reef start to sucumb to the algae. The hardest hit areas are of course, those closest to the shore.

   Over the last few years, I have noticed that during the rainy season (Oct - Feb) the algae is very prolific. I assume this is due to the near constant rain water flushing nutrients into the ocean and driving the explosive growth of all algae species. A few months into the dry season, and there is a significant decline as the algae uses up the nutrients and the remaining herbivores are able to clean up quite a bit of the original growth from the wet season. This reef seems to be on a very delicate balance between the wet and dry seasons. Should the human population continue to increase, or an industry establishes itself nearby, I am sure this reef will find itself in serious trouble quickly if the nutrient load should increase by even the slightest of margins.

Application within the Reef Keeping Hobby -  The above photo shows what a typical coral encrusted outcropping or boulder looks like. I find it interesting to note that while this may look like a typical reef aquarium set up, all of the species shown are all stony corals. A good clue as to how we should stock our aquariums and avoid mixing not only the soft corals, but the more aggressive stony corals as well.

The Human Factor -  While pollution and nutrient run off are the largest factors concerning the health of the reef, there are also a great many day to day individual activities that compound what the corals must endure. Below is a typical scene when a boat anchor is dropped with no regard as to what lies below.

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This mirror is being hosted with the permissions of the original content creator for preservation and educational purposes.