Wart slug on ailing reef…

The reef be dying...

Reefs the world over are suffering, as warming water (and possibly other factors) disrupt their productive symbiosis with a specific protozoa, zooxanthella. Each relies on the other for nutrients and energy, and the protozoa also give hard coral blocks their color.

But when this is cycle is disrupted — again, mostly my warming waters due to global warming but also acidification — the corals can’t maintain this balance and typically expel their zooxanthellae. This leads to a bleached — white or light colored — reef, which is my experience is typically then recovered by a different algae, like we see above.

This whole imbalance also typically wipes out other sensitive populations. For example, in the Andamans, the fast-evolving delicate nudibranchs have all but disappeared according to environmentalists and the dive community. When I was diving there, only the varicose wart slugs (above) were left.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sluggish

Varicose wart slugs

Sea slugs are cool. They’re part of the larger classification that also includes all the various types of nudibranch. Sadly, however, in the Andamans, the more delicate, fast evolving and intricate nudibranchs have disappeared.

One likely cause, according to an ecologist I dived with: coral bleaching (at least partly induced by climate change which is at least partly induced by the massive human carbon footprint) which is destroying the reef habitat of the nudibranch.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,