OM: Why are coral reefs so colourful?
OD: I’m absolutely sure most divers have asked themselves this issue at some level during their existence, and there are numerous factors for it. The initially reason is communication or signalling, which features items like copy and warning coloration. A superior example is the vibrant colors of nudibranchs that provide as a warning to likely predators. The next purpose relates to the exclusive properties of gentle and the colour spectrum in an underwater setting, which differs from that on land. Simply because of mild and color attenuation in drinking water, some mechanisms of colour creation are more common in maritime creatures. Two major mechanisms frequent in the coral reef are fluorescence and bioluminescence, the two of which can crank out colours that are attenuated in deep h2o. The 3rd reason relates to the guiding principles of camouflage, some of which may possibly look counterintuitive. The fourth explanation arrives from cognitive psychology and implies that our notion of these habitats as “colorful” may perhaps vary from how reef animals perceive them. In my guide, I go over these causes in depth, and in connection with the amazing, non-scientific look at of the British essayist Aldous Huxley, who argued that our attraction to colorful sorts and sights success from our need to go to and enjoy colourful, unmapped, unconscious ordeals in the antipodes of human consciousness.
OM: You’ve been looking into coral reefs for a long time. What’s your favorite experience to date? Any species behaving unusually? Any coral behaviour that actually stands out?
OD: The behaviour of reef creatures hardly ever ceases to amaze me, and I come across that exploring daily life underwater breaks the conventional borders created by our ‘mammalian thinking’. For illustration: mating octopuses. For lots of octopuses, mating suggests the beginning of the close of their life, as each the feminine and male die afterward. On the experience of it, this doesn’t make sense from an evolutionary viewpoint, and in my guide, I go over the scientific controversy about this distinctive managed demise mechanism. An additional case in point is the mantis shrimp. To begin with, its eye has a outstanding visible program, with 16 forms of photoreceptors that present intricate color reception and linear and circular polarisation sensitivity. Each individual eye can go independently, allowing for a broad angular variety of movement that features up-down, aspect-to-facet, and torsional movements. Next, the mantis shrimp (smasher shrimp) has a effective strike that generates a drive equivalent to a .22 caliber bullet and provides a temperature close to that of the sun’s warmth for a portion of a second. A coral behaviour that stands out is coral spawning. An unbelievable phenomenon, at times explained as the finest orgy in the planet, usually takes place only at the time a year and normally takes just a handful of minutes. In just seconds, a substantial variety of corals of a offered species, spanning a wide place simultaneously release their reproductive product, creating a colourful underwater snowstorm.
OM: You also devote a chapter on mathematics. How does that tie in with coral reef conservation and study?
OD: The chapter on mathematics in coral reefs explores two key themes. 1st, the ancient link concerning magnificence and mathematics is talked over in the context of the golden ratio and the manifestation of symmetry in coral reefs. 2nd, the concept of intricate dynamic techniques offers a modelling and explanatory framework for knowing several phenomena in reef devices, which include subject areas similar to reef conservation.
OM: How do corals reproduce? And what other fascinating issues did you come across when studying reproduction in the coral reef?
OD: As an author who is deeply fascinated by coral replica, I am continually in awe of the outstanding range and complexity of these beautiful animals. It is a subject matter that hardly ever fails to fascinate me. One particular intriguing detail about coral replica is the remarkable variety of approaches they use to propagate. It can be categorized into two major groups: sexual and asexual reproduction (budding). When some species of coral have individual sexes, this means that each individual personal colony is either male or feminine, in other individuals, every single coral serves as both of those male and female, creating both of those sperm and eggs. Some corals can even transform their sex from 1 reproductive season to the following. Most coral species reproduce by using broadcast spawning, the place they launch both sperm and eggs simultaneously. The fertilised eggs (planula larvae) swim at the ocean surface for days or months right before inevitably slipping back to the seabed and attaching on their own to a tricky surface. Then they metamorphose into polyps, commence to improve by budding (asexual reproduction), and type a coral colony. As the coral colony grows and matures, it reproduces sexually through broadcast spawning. Yet another interesting subject is hybrids, a prolonged-standing controversial difficulty in organic assumed. In some instances or localities, a several or even many coral species might release their reproductive content at the same time, primary to fertilisation among the eggs and sperm of distinct species and the progress of hybrids. These hybrids can go on to improve and reproduce by way of budding, forming a new coral colony. The replica of reef creatures is hugely numerous. Some animals improve their sexual intercourse during their lifetime some animals, this kind of as nudibranchs, are the two feminine and male at the exact time. In other phrases, when it comes to maritime sexual intercourse, there is no this sort of matter as “normal.” An example of sex alter can be uncovered in some species of sea goldies. All sea goldies are born woman. In the absence of a male, the most significant feminine will remodel into a male, a method that normally takes many weeks.