Coral All Around

Posted in Under the Sea on October 25th, 2009 by MadDog
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On a dive at a healthy reef, what dominates your view? Well, it’s not fish, let me tell you. It’s coral. Just because it doesn’t move or have garishly bright colours doesn’t mean that it’s not interesting. I’ve had some emails from people who keep live coral in their saltwater tanks. We tried this a few times here with our tanks, but quickly found that it is very risky business. Corals are more difficult to keep alive. If a few polyps die, your entire tank will be dead the next morning.

Still, I like to photograph corals. It’s fun to look for the most representative specimens. What’s more fun is to look for the weird ones.

Here’s what I would call a specimen shot of a Coral (Acropora robusta): 

Coral (Acropora robusta)

As you can see, I’m not going for dazzling beauty or perfect composition. My goal is to show a typical specimen in a typical habitat using my very best efforts to show it as it actually appears to a diver so that other divers and collectors can easily and positively identify the species. That assumes, of course, that I myself have correctly identified it. That’s where the rub comes in and that’s why I’m hoping to get some feedback from readers. I’m 90% positive of the identification of the robusta  above, but the next few are, to one degree or another, doubtful.

Here is a close up of a Favites  species that I can’t identify positively. If reptilian aliens landed on our planet, I imagine that their skin would look like this:

Coral - Alien Skin (Favites sp.) You’ve seen this pattern before here.

I find this one quite pretty, though I’m not positive of the identification? I’m pretty sure,  but not really sure.  How’s that for a scientific identification. Sounds like something a doctor would tell you. I guess it depends on what is wrong with you. If it seems to be not-so-bad, you want really sure.  If it might be fatal, you’ll hope for only pretty sure.  (maybe  would be better or probably not  would be best)

Coral (Lobophyllia hemprichii [young_stage])

Anyway, I’m identifying it as Coral (sure about that), Lobophyllia hemprichii  [young_stage].

This specimen is even prettier, but I’m even less sure about the identification. I think  it might  be a young stage of Pectinia lactuca,  but please don’t quote me on that:Coral (Pectinia lactuca [young stage ?]) [doubtful]

Actually, it looks like a fancy bow tie to me.

All of the shots above look very nice when you click to enlarge them. I’m getting beautiful shots from my Canon G10. I wish I had some extra bread to buy a new G11 with the factory housing. I’ve recommended that combination to several correspondents and I’m hoping to get some images from them soon to show to you.

Let’s step back from the bright colours for a minute for something a little more sombre:

Dull Sky and ShipI nearly deleted this image.

I’m glad that I didn’t.

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