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Coral Reef Fish Symbiosis
ニューカレドニア

A healthy coral reef - vibrant lush corals everywhere I look. This is one of the most lush and rich coral reefs we have found in New Caledonia and I am totally thrilled by the glittering cloud of bright blue damsel fish rising up from the crystal coral branches. Freddy surfaces next to me and says, laughing, they look like seaquens. When we approach they form shoals and shy away but we can see them undisturbed, further off in the clear water, a glitter of sequens scattered throughout the water snatching tiny zooplankton from the sea. They shift colors from luminous turquoise green to iridescent blue, sometimes the whole school does it in one harmonious whoosh of color.

It is the most vivacious coral forest we've found and the largest schools of Chromis viridis we've found. The two creatures, the coral and the fish, are made for each other and this particular display of mutual aid is a particularly beautiful example of symbiosis - the fine art of "living together".

When danger threatens the fish dive down and hide in the branches of the coral. When the coral is as abundant as this forest of Acropora the entire school of fish can vanish completely in the protective branches. The fish also sleep in the protective arms of the corals, safe from the many species of nocturnal predators that prowl the night reefs. The lower regions of the coral branches are no longer living and Chromis attaches its eggs to these well hidden surfaces during the summer. The male then guards the eggs until they hatch. When we examine the vast shoals of fish we can see a whole range of sizes from tiny little fish only a few months old to some about 90 mm long. Most of them are less than 50mm long.

The coral benefits from the association, too.

The clear waters of the tropical south Pacific are very poor in nutrients - phosphates and nitrates - coral needs in order to survive. The thin layer of tissue creating the calcium carbonate coral branches is an association - a symbiosis - of plant and animal cells; about one third animal cells and two thirds plant cells. The animal cells protect the plant cells and provide them with nutrients and carbon dioxide - and the plants provide the animal cells with oxygen and sugars for energy. To support the plant growth the animal cells form tentacles which snare nutrients from the sea currents. They capture some plankton but they also catch the constant precipitation of nutrient pellets ejected by the clouds of tropical fish that swim above them. The fish effectively extend the biological reach of the corals up into the water and in a way we can think of the Chromis sequens as extended tentacles of the symbiosis that is the coral reef.

Scientists have found that when the population of fish above a coral reef declines the corals develop diseases, growth slows, and the association dies. And these days, dead and dying reefs are the norm - and wondrous coral and fish associations like this one are very limited in extent.

It makes me particularly happy to be able to show you this example of harmony on the coral reefs of New Caledonia and I thank the team at www.360cities.net for the opportunity to extend the symbiosis of the coral reef into the electronic consciousness of humanity.

Copyright: Richard Chesher
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 13748x6874
Taken: 11/08/2011
送信日: 13/08/2011
更新日: 21/03/2015
見られた回数:

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Tags: coral reef; symbiosis; chromis; viridis; new caledonia; ilot mato; coral reef fish; damselfish; underwater; diving
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More About ニューカレドニア

ニューカレドニアはオーストラリアとニュージーランドに最も近い南太平洋島です。ニューカレドニアはフランス領であり、フランス語が公用語として使われておりますが、文化はメラネシア、ヨーロッパ、ポリネシア、ベトナム、中国、インドネシア等多くの国の歴史をブレンドした国際的でユニークな文化を築いております。ニューカレドニアには、グランドテールと呼ばれる1つの大きな山の様な島と6つの小さい島があります。– 3つのロイヤルティー諸島、ベレップ諸島、イルデパン島島には果てしなく広がる荒野があり、そして驚くほど住民が少ないアイランドです。また何百キロメートルのウオ―キングトレック、キャンプ場、42以上の公園および特別保留地と輝やく滝を保つクリスタルクリアの川があります。人口3分の1ほとんどがヌメアの首都に居住しています。ニッケル採鉱はニューカレドニア第一の産業として、国の高い生活水準への主な役割をしています。グランドテールは世界で2番目に大きい堡礁に囲まれており、この堡礁によって造られ保護されたラグーンは、世界で最も大きいと言われております。この24,000平方キロメートルの巨大なラーグンは、2008年に世界遺産として記録され、多種多様の魚と無脊椎動物の豊かな動物群をサポートしています。 観光客のご到着しだい、一目に留まる島の活気に満ちたクリスタルクリアでリッチな風景は、皆様に大いに愛され感動なされています。ヌメアでは観光客のご滞在を更にご満喫いただけるよう、こちらの全てのホテル、リゾート、レストランおよび島でのアクティビティーを広範囲でご用意させて致しております。