The sheltered coral gardens of the Red Sea are some of the finest in the world, with excellent growth and usually, equally excellent visibility, making for great images. On this dive I decided to focus on some of the more massive coral colonies.
My first is this amazing Turbinaria, which if you look closely is host to several tridacnids. To show the coral at its best, I used a very wide-angle lens, which explains the fish-eye effect.
I’m not sure which combination of currents and conditions were set to ‘just right’ for these corals, but there were doing very well. This Acropora (humilis perhaps), is a stunner. A sulfur damsel is useful for scale.
Coral reefs, are of course, dynamic systems where change, albeit at a slow pace, is essential for new growth. In the image below of a gorgeous head dominated by a Porites colony, you can tell that at some point in the future, gravity will win and the rubble zone will get a new addition. This head is within ten meters of the surface, so a winter storm could damage it at some point.
Looking closely into the corals always reveals a lot of life, and sometimes it reveals a coral’s future.
Looking into this Porites nodifera shows some encrusting Montipora that appears to be defeating the Porites. I’ve often come across Porites colonies that simply get too big, or become partially overgrown and simply fall apart, again forming new colonization opportunities.