ABSTRACT

This chapter shows the reader what a new diver entering the water from the shore would encounter, from a calcified rocky shoreline dominated by calcareous algae, over a bare wave scrubbed zone, to the reeftop, which is dominated by numerous sea fans and bushy alcyonaceans, or soft corals, rounded coral masses, and in some cases, massive upstanding coral structures. Some of the common fish that inhabit the shallow reef are seen, including the damselfish that protects and feeds on algae growing on dead A. cervicornis branches, the ubiquitous blue chromises that swim above the reef, and a predatory trumpetfish that hides in the branches of a bushy alcyonacean. Finally, there is a look at the area beyond the dropoff, the fore-reef slope, where corals assume a flattened form to better catch the sunlight from above. The prolific coral coverage shown is unfortunately a thing of the past.