Photography by Philippe L'Homel: Green Turtle
MAGNIFICENT ANEMONES (Radianthus magnifica), By Alan Duncan
As a consequence, the highest biodiversity of marine life in the world is found in Southeast Asia. Indeed, coral reefs form complex ecosystems with plenty of colorful coral reef fish, invertebrates, and other animals thriving among corals.
Coral reefs occupy less than one percent of the surface area of the world oceans, but still they provide a home for 25 percent of all marine fish species.
Fish are coming to feed in coral reef ecosystems. For example, the butterfly fish are eating coral polyps themselves and other invertebrates animals living on corals. The plethora of variety of colors and patterns of coral reef fish are often a camouflage strategy! Some, like the gobies are using coral reefs to hide from the predators.
Some fishes associated with reefs are generalized carnivores that feed on a variety of animal prey. These typically have large mouths that can be rapidly expanded, thereby drawing in nearby water and any unfortunate animals contained within the inhaled water mass.
Corals are part of the marine fauna. They belong to the phylum named Cnidarians that includes four main classes:
- Cubozoa (Box jellies)
- Anthozoa(Soft & Stony Corals / Sea Anemones / Sea Pens)<br>
- Hydrozoa (Hydroids)
- Scyphozoa (Jellyfish)
A rich marine ecosystem stretching over thousands of kilometers and crossing many countries makes Southeast Asia the best place on the planet for the scuba enthusiasts.
TENTACLE PLATE CORAL, By Myriam Byrd
1. WHY THE BEST DIVE SPOTS IN THE WORLD ARE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA?
Marine biologists globally recognize Southeast Asia as the area (latitudes 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south) that hosts the perfect conditions needed by coral reefs.
Ideal water temperature for corals reproduction success and divers comfort is around 27 degrees Celsius.
Coral spawning occurs, during nighttime, 3 to 5 days after a full moon (party!) because at that period of the month, the tides are small so the ocean is calm. It's actually the best time of the month as well to spot whale sharks because corals sexual activities provide them food! Hence don't miss a night dive around full moon time.
Three quarter of the 800 species of coral identified by scientists can be seen in the Asian underwater world.