4 Likes

Symbiosis in the Blue Lagoon, New Caledonia
Nouvelle Calédonie

Coral reefs are all about symbiosis - the art of living together. When we look at an underwater scene like this one, we tend to focus on the brilliant blue fish Chromis viridis, or the blue Acropora coral, or perhaps the Dasyatis stingray in the sand. We see them all as separate, individual creatures. But they are, even as we watch, a collective being, and owe their very existence to mutually beneficial actions.

The blue demoiselle fish and the blue coral are excellent examples of this.

The blue coral thicket is the crystalized history of the behavior of millions of tiny anemone like creatures that extract calcium carbonate from the sea and secrete intricate skeletal homes - the small nodes you see on the coral branches.

Each branch grows upwards into the sea as the coral polyps bud new examples of themselves and convert the clear sea water into the calcium carbonate skeletal shelters that protect their soft tisues. The branch elongates at about 40 to 70-mm per year depending on the depth and availability of nutrients.

The coral tissue is filled with tiny algae symbionts, called zooxanthellae. These creatures convert sunlight into sugars and oxygen for the corals and facilitate the rapid extraction of calcium carbonate to build the skeleton of the coral branch. In turn, the zooxanthellae are protected by the coral skeleton and supplied with carbon dioxide and nutrients - like phosphates and nitrates (fertilizers) from the corals. Since the carbon dioxide and nitrates and phosphates are waste products for the corals this is an excellent partnership.

Nitrates and phosphates are rare compounds in the clear tropical waters of the Pacific and although the corals could get sufficient energy to survive from the photosynthetic activity of the zooxanthellae, they both would perish without phosphates. So the coral branches extend up into the sea water, allowing the tiny tentacles of the coral polyps to comb the sea for microscopic plants and animals that will supply the needed fertilizers.

These branches also protect swarms of fish. Some of these, like the blue Chromis demoiselle fish, swim up into the sea above the coral thickets and feed on plankton from the sea water. The fish drop their waste products back into the coral thicket in little pellets, rich in phosphates and nitrates. The coral polyps catch these fish droppings and ingest them, providing fertilizers that enhance the growth of the whole coral colony.

Just as the coral branches are a symbiosis of zooxanthellae and coral cells reaching up into the sea, the schools of tiny plankton feeding fish are an extension of this, reaching even further into the sea and bringing the nutrients back to help the entire assembly of creatures to grow larger. Over hundreds of years the coral thickets grow into coral reefs, forming lagoons and passes and islets that together act as one vast living system with myriad symbiotic systems of a wonderful, brilliant, exhilarating complexity.

Copyright: Richard chesher
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 14296x7148
Chargée: 01/05/2010
Mis à jour: 26/05/2014
Affichages ::

...


Tags: symbiosis; coral reef; zooxanthellae; new caledonia; coral lagoon; blue lagoon; underwater; diving; snorkeling; dive
comments powered by Disqus

Richard Chesher
Finding Nemo in New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
New Caledonia Shark - Underwater Panorama of a Leopard Shark Stegostoma Fasciatum
Richard Chesher
World Heritage Site New Caledonia Lagoon Coral Reef Batfish Platax Teira
Richard Chesher
Bird Fish Feeding Frenzy New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
Massive Ancient Coral Head New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
New Caledonia Anchorage Aerial Panorama
Richard Chesher
Summer Calm in the New Caledonia Lagoon
Richard Chesher
Ilot Mato South Lagoon New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
Ospreys Ilot Mato New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
Coral Reef Nursery New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
Giant Trevally Welcome New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
New Caledonia World Heritage Site Story
Thomas K Sharpless
January Sunset
zeljko soletic
Villa Stay
Joby Catto
Standing water inside a former herring oil storage tank at Djúpavík, Iceland
Luca Alberigo
Palazzo Carignano, cortile - Torino
Stefano Gelli
Terme del Corallo - Livorno
Bernardo Patino
Ankorwatesferica
Joby Catto
Crashed US Navy C-117 (C-47) at Sólheimasandur, Iceland
made Pasuatmadi
Aerial Kuta, legian and seminyak
Tomas Kysela
Hejnice - The Pilgrimage Basilica from Across the River
Jerzy Pajor
Circus Zalewski
jeff requina
Burj Plaza Downtown Dubai
Andrea Biffi
Leadenhall in London
Richard Chesher
Waterfall New Caledonia Pepite River middle
Richard Chesher
Sand Flats Ilot Mato New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
New Caledonia Cruising
Richard Chesher
Lifou New Caledonia Tours Luengoni Beach
Richard Chesher
Ouvea Paradis Hotel Beach
Richard Chesher
Ilot Casy Pin Colonaire New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
Baie Ue Beach Ile Ouen New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
Bokissa Private Island Resort Coral Reef 5
Richard Chesher
Peng Beach Lifou New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
Riviere Blanche Pool New Caledonia
Richard Chesher
Trek GR-NC1 Second Leg Pic Du Pin
Richard Chesher
Bokissa Private Island Vanuatu Coral Reef 3
More About Nouvelle Calédonie

Une Nation du Pacifique Sud, la plus proche de l'Australie et de la Nouvelle Zélande. Une chaîne de hautes montagnes, d'impressionnantes cascades et de nombreuses rivières avec une flore et une faune variée et souvent unique au monde - C'est le paradis de la randonnée pédestre ou équestre ainsi que de l'excursion en véhicule tout-terrain.Le plus grand lagon du monde, peuplé d'une faune tropicale endémique particulièrement riche, avec des récifs et des populations de poissons rares et protégées. Des centaines d'épaves sous-marines, des îlots, de nombreuses plages de sable blanc. La population calédonienne est issue d'un large brassage culturel : Mélanésiens, Européens, Polynésiens, Vietnamiens, Chinois, Japonais, et la langue et culture française. La Nouvelle-Calédonie est dotée de très bonnes infrastructures médicales et sociales. Une infrastructure touristique qui offre un large éventail de types d'hébergement allant de l'hôtel 5 étoiles au camping aménagé en passant par l'accueil en milieu tribal, les chambres d'hôtes, les refuges et l'auberge de jeunesse.