The Day's Events
Today we repeated yesterday's itinerary with class time as well as snorkeling. The time in the pool was essential to working out the final kinks in the system, such as mastering the defogging of masks, and figuring out the best way to equalize the pressure in your head as you dove for rings. Class time was separated into very short introductory presentations on some of the critters we will visit, and last minute questions about packing and travel. The presentations were a nice overview of what we can epect to see, so here's a couple tidbits to tide you over:
The Fairy Basslet
Many of you may recognize this guy as the germaphobe fish from Finding Nemo. While they do dart away at the first sign of danger, germs aren't really considered a Code Red. They're more concerned with their social status, as determined by their size. The largest fish get prime real estate--that is, the better feeding area with more plankton. There's plenty to go around, but they also serve as cleaner fish, and dine on the ectoparasites of larger fish. On a more amusing note, they like to hang around home (ledges, holes in the coral, caves, etc.) upside down, and do their best to be intimidating by opening their mouths as far as possible. Really, this just makes them look silly, but don't tell them that, they'l just gape at you until you leave.
Another organisim discussed in class today was the brain coral. The patterning of the coral is aptley named as it looks eerily like a human brain. This type of coral thrives in shallower waters, and can reproduce sexually or asexually. For those of you that don't know, coral is comprised of animals called polyps. Corals are not plants! However, the polyps that comprise an individual coral create a symbiosis with algae (microscopic plants). Meaning that the coral obtains carbohydrates as a food source from the algae while the coral provides acess to sunlight for the algea.