Kimberley corals on the shoreline of Australia appear to have adapted to survive in higher temperatures and more extreme and turbid conditions than previously thought.
The coloring in this green coral actually comes from an algae living in a symbiotic relationship with the coral polyps. The algae is called zooxanthellae and while creating spectacularly beautiful colored patterns, also provides nutrient to the host coral through a process of photosynthesis and the absorption of excess CO2 from the ocean waters.
This is a single coral polyp from the Kimberley coast. Coral reefs are created when millions of these animals form colonies and their skeletons become deposits of calcium carbonate that forms like limestone to become the hard reefs we know.
Beautiful coral patterns are formed by the skeletons of the colonies of corals.
These typical brain corals thrive at the low water water mark on much of the Kimberley coast and can be observed as exposed groupings of coral colonies during extreme low tides.
Beautiful patterns on a large brain coral near Broome reflect different light and colors from its round dome like structure.
Most of the Kimberley coral/algael reefs that are accessible from the shore occur to the east from Cygnet Bay which is 200kms north of Broome. However, there are significant small colonies of some corals visible during the spring tides as far south as Broome.
The Kimberley Marine Research Station (KMRS)
recently recorded the first significant documentation and recording of coral spawning in the inner coastal region of the Kimberley at
Extraordinarily beautiful patterns are revealed with macro photography of coral polyps.
The extent and significance of Australia's Kimberley shores as a unique and extraordinary coral province of international importance is just beginning to be understood. More media exposure and baseline science is critical for this region.
West Australian Marine Science Institution
has committed resources to encourage more scientific knowledge about the Kimberley coast.
held a Symposium on Marine Science on the Kimberley coast that had a joint launching with Peter Strain's photographic exhibition
"Line of Sight - art meets science on Australia's Kimberley coast".
Line of sight Exhibition at WA Museum 2011.
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