10/09/13 Coral Rule, Fish Drool

By 5 years ago
Categories Mahe and Curieuse

With the arrival of the new volunteers last week, the age old rivalry (coral versus fish) flared up once again. When we did the camp introduction session the existing volunteers flew their flags to make sure everyone knew which side they’re on (fortunately for me I’m a proud coral geek).

Everyone is assigned to learn either fish or coral before arrival on base at Cap Ternay Marine Park. I was one of the lucky ones. The newbies caught on quickly during the introduction time and proclaimed proudly ‘I’m doing coral!’ or whispered in shame ‘I’m on fish…’.  I, of course am writing completely accurately and impartially. Let’s be real for a second here. It’s hard to deny that the better of the two is CORAL, and, of course that has nothing to do with me being a self-proclaimed-die-hard –coral-nerd.

Fish are too obvious and Coral is just cooler. I mean who can deny the charms of a Turbinaria Dendrophyllidae and who doesn’t want to say ‘Blastomussa Mussidae’ just to hear how it rolls so smoothly off your tongue. Nope, no bias here.  I will concede that fish are a tiny bit cool. The Seychelles Anemone fish have awesome (albeit very bossy) attitude and they are beautiful to look at but their scare monger tactics and pseudo-aggressiveness is just, sadly, to compensate for their blatant lack of size and bitterness that they were not born a coral.  Fish do that.

But coral, on the other hand, now coral doesn’t need to compensate for anything. These incredible animals are born into greatness. A tiny 2cm recruit (baby) is just as awesome as a large 2 m colony. Corals are the cool kids in school and fish are the try-hards. Impartially speaking, of course.

As a coral geek I spend most of my time upside down in the water column searching for tiny coral recruits in my survey quadrant. This is all fun and games until you get so absorbed in the cute little baby corals that you suddenly realise you are almost kissing a stonefish. Lesson learnt. At the very least a small awareness of fish will aid in surveying corals (or coral-gazing – a term I prefer).

Now over a week into their stay the lucky volunteers (those doing coral, of course) have been studying hard and now can join in when we joke ‘I’m fuzzy all over, like Psammacora’ or ‘Coral Rocks…no it’s a Porites!’.

Corals are my now favourite animals. So, if you think you may be like-minded, then join our recruits (pun intended), and shake your Turbinaria over to Cap Ternay, where all the cool kids/coral geeks hang out and get crazy Coscinaraea.

Rachel Parry a.k.a Rachelastrea Parryidae