Thank you for signing up to keep in touch with the Coral Conservation Project. Pictured above, you will find your coral frame as it was few days after construction. Your personal page will allow you to see regular updates and amazing facts about the corals and animals living on your frame. By having all the updates on one page, you will be able to track the progress of your frame and see how your contribution is benefiting the ecosystem. If you want to satisfy your curiosity even more, you can take a look at our Marine Blog Life and videos from the Marine Lab Diary or connect with us for more information.
Here is the start of a healthy coral reef relationship!
Here we would like to give some information about this nice looking Pocillopora meandrina branches collected from a broken colony that is located on your coral frame. They are also known as the cauliflower coral and are quite common around the Maldives. Pocillopora meandrina occurs on shallow reefs and amongst coral communities on rocky reefs, at depth from 3-27 m and their radiating branches can reach up to 40 cm in diameter. In this species many or most of the branches are flattened on the ends and some may be curved and their colors may vary from cream, green or pink. Pocilloporid corals, not excluding P. meandrina, are generally amongst the strongest coral competitors with relatively high rates of calcification. However, coral species exhibiting high rates of calcification usually have relatively high mortality rates
Have you ever wondered why some corals are more colorful than others… That is because some corals increase the production of colourful protein pigments (such as these purple tips) when they are exposed to more intense sunlight and this colony, of a branching Acropora, is simply amazing. Scientist have found that these pink, blue and/or purple proteins act as sunscreens for the corals by removing substantial light components that might otherwise become harmful to the algae hosted in their tissue. Corals rely on these light-dependent miniature plants, the so-called zooxanthellae, since they provide a substantial amount of food. Furthermore, these tips consist of a particular polyp called an “apical polyp”. It is responsible of the growth of the particular branch. For instance, it will reproduce asexually by cloning itself, potentially an infinite number of times throughout its lifetime. Here and there, one of the “radial polyps” will differentiate becoming a new apical polyp with its distinguished purple color, driving the growth of a new branch.
Humans get a sun tan – corals become more colourful.
This fun looking creature is indeed a sea snail. You might wonder where its house is … it is hidden below its black/ dark blue velvety mantle that makes this nail look more like a slug or a nudibranch. Underwater the sea snail (Coriocell hibyae) is often difficult to spot and resembles more a sponge than a moving animal. This snail is known from the Maldives, but might be found throughout the Indian Ocean (not much is known about its true distribution).
This species can reach a maximum size of 10 cm in length and it has five digit-like protrusions on its dorsal side. The body coloration varies from slate-blue to dark brown, with some small round black spots which are part of what makes it look like a sponge. A fragile ear-shaped shell is hidden inside the fleshy mantle.
This little snail prefers water temperatures of (23°C – 27°C) and mainly feeds on sea squirts (Didendum molle) which can also be found on your frame.
As you can see from your first post, we have already done the first maintenance on your frame which is to remove the ad cable ties and move the frame with the other frames. Some information about the fragments that we put on your frame, most of them belong to the genus Acropora which is one of the fastest growing corals and almost 149 species described. Over the next few months we will show you some close-up pictures of the fragments with some interesting facts and the creatures that now lives on your frame. After 6 months we will show you the progress of your frame in a new post.