MARINE LIFE

The Trees of the Coral Jungle

Published June 6, 2013

The saying “can’t see the forest for the trees” refers to a person’s tendency to focus on the details to the point of missing the big picture. Divers certainly have no problem seeing the big picture at Wakatobi. The clear, sun-dappled waters reveal a vast landscape of coral jungle. Sometimes, however, it is the details of the seemingly infinite collection of marine organisms – from fish life to the smallest of invertebrates – living within the corals and sponges that are easily overlooked. Some are well camouflaged, but many more are simply small, and lost amid the riotous colors and […]

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The Fish that Goes Fishing

Published June 6, 2013

When you think of a predator, what attributes come to mind? Streamlined speed, explosive agility, aggressive strength… and then there’s the frogfish. Slow, reclusive and lacking in both offensive and defensive weaponry—not to mention being far from streamlined—the frogfish wouldn’t seem to have the tools needed to become a lethal predator. Yet despite some seeming shortcomings in the attack department, these enigmatic little creatures have developed a unique strategy to capture prey: they hide in plain sight and go fishing. Truly, frogfish are one of nature’s most unusual creatures. Watch the video to see the frogfish catch a meal! (video […]

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Survival of the Fittest, or Most Creative

Published June 4, 2013

The ocean is a vast expanse of calm and serenity, a beautiful haven for those who are lucky enough to marvel at. Yet for its myriad inhabitants, this vastly serene environment can rapidly become unforgiving. From feeding, to finding a safe refuge, to escaping predation, constant challenges are posed to the marine animals every day. For them, danger lurks behind every corner and they must be forever vigilant and ever more resourceful, as they are repeatedly confronted with finding new ways to survive. To survive, marine creatures have developed myriad different techniques and anti–predation tactics, and have created numerous physical […]

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Fish Tails vs Fish Tales

Published June 4, 2013

The goal of every photographer is to bring back memorable images from those great moments spent beneath the waves. Some of the most challenging images to capture are those close ups with the fish looking back at you with curiosity, rather than running off in the opposite direction or taking refuge in the reef. So how do you get them?   You jump in with camera in hand, yet when you approach a likely subject, the star of the photo appears to flee in terror, and you say to yourself “why would it do that? I mean it no harm; […]

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Fascinating Symbiosis

Published May 25, 2013

There are nine species of Anemonefishes that can be found in the Wakatobi region. In this special Wakatobi feature article we’ll take a detailed look at the anemonefishes and their relationship with their host sea anemones. Are there benefits for both the fishes and their host? There are many animals that live together in the coral reef ecosystem, but none is better known than the anemonefish (clownfish)-sea anemone partnership. The term symbiosis is used to describe a special relationship between two unrelated species. A symbiotic relationship can be good for both (mutualism), good for one and neutral for the other […]

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Variety is the Spice of Diving

Published May 24, 2013

The waters around Wakatobi are considered to have one of the world’s highest degrees of coral reef biodiversity. But what exactly does that mean, and is it important to the average diver? Here’s a little lesson on the basics of marine biodiversity, and how it can make for a better dive. Biodiversity is simply a tally of the variety of species that can be found in a given ecosystem. There are many factors that determine the overall number of species in an ecosystem, one of which is time. The longer an ecosystem goes without major changes or die-offs, the more […]

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Majestic Hiding Places

Published May 24, 2013

The coral reefs of Wakatobi are so rich with corals, sponges and marine organisms, that the vast majority of creatures are not immediately visible. Camouflaged and hidden amongst the myriad vibrant colors and shapes of the reef, sometimes the impatient amongst us are lead to move quickly and even wonder where all the creatures actually are. Slow down, look closer! You will surely find hiding among the sponges, sea fans, crinoids, and in the rubble some of the coral reefs’ majestic hiding places and the creatures that inhabit them. Coral reefs support over twenty-five percent of all known marine species. […]

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Invisibly Important

Published May 23, 2013

There are things in our environment that we can’t see but are ‘invisibly important.’ For example, sunlight: we can see through its presence but we do not see the ‘energy’ that it is composed of. There are organisms that are dependent on its existence, and without it would surely perish. Same goes for the air we breathe, we need it but we can’t see it. Let’s explore how this affects our precious coral reefs, which are most dependent on sunlight and temperature.   Zooxanthellae is part of the genus Symbiodinium that encompasses the largest and most prevalent group of endosymbiotic […]

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Magical Fluorescing Corals

Published May 23, 2013

Wakatobi has some of the most pristine coral reefs on the planet, and some of the only reefs that are actually thriving, getting healthier, richer and more diverse each year. Divers come from around the world to immerse themselves in Wakatobi’s coral gardens, and to take in the visual feast these reefs provide. Recently, science has provided divers with a whole new way to see coral reefs like never before. It turns out that many corals have a hidden ability to reflect light in spectrums that are not visible to the human eye, but can be revealed through the use […]

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Nudibranchs: Beautiful but Dangerous Marine Creatures

Published May 8, 2013

With the creation of Nudibranchs, Mother Nature expressed her wildest indulgence of colors and forms. This month in Wakatobi, as the water temperature drops to 27 degrees, there seems to be a simultaneous increase in the size, variety and amount of Nudibranchs. The dive team decided to focus on these amazingly beautiful “butterflies of the sea”. Nudibranchs belong to the Phylum Molusca, along with other sea shells or molluscs. They are part of the class of the gastropods, or univalves and belong to the sub-class Opisthobranchia, along with sea hares and slugs. These colourful and bizarre creatures have astonishingly remarkable […]

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