We spent 2 weeks volunteering at Queensland University Research Station, on Heron Island Qld. It is run by the University of Queensland. You can read more about the Research Station here.
Reef Walk at low tide
These photos were taken with our Olympus TG-6 underwater camera using the microscopic mode.
Launching the research boats.
A night walk on the reef at low tide.
Corals are animals. In hard corals the animals (polyps), live inside the coral skeleton. Soft corals don’t have a hard skeleton, the polyps cluster together to make a colony.
Inside hard corals live tiny algae called zooxanthellae. During daylight hours zooxanthellae feed the coral polyps using sunlight for photosynthesis. In turn, the coral polyps provide the algae (zooxanthellae) with carbon dioxide and shelter. At night, photosynthesis can’t take place so the coral polyps (animals) come out of their skeletons (the hard coral) and feed on zooplankton (microscopic plankton).
By using an Ultra Violet torch at night, it is possible to see the coral polyps stretch out their tentacles to feed. These photos are of different types of hard corals. They are taken with our Olympus TG-6 underwater camera, using the microscopic mode, as it is difficult to see the individual polyps with the naked eye.
Below is an excellent short movie we found on YouTube showing a coral reef during the day, then at night.
Cheers til next time, Helen & Tim