New Heaven Reef Conservation
One of our specialist projects at the program is the exploration and documentation of species in the deeper benthic habitats, or #muck habitats, of #KohTao and surrounding divesites. These habitats are home to hundreds of species that we do not observe on the reef, and has been the basis of some of our recent research efforts. Involving people in exploring these seemingly empty sands allows for some truly unique observations, while also reducing dive pressure on the coral reefs.
This species of mantis shrimp is a common resident of the muck, yet remains elusive or absent to most divers at the island, as it is one of many species that lives almost exclusively in sandy and muck habitats. An interesting behavioural trait is that this species can be very commonly found residing in the several empty glass bottles that dot the deeper ocean floor. The bottles, the mouth of which can be seen here, are an attractive safe home for many species, including juvenile fish, octopuses and many crustaceans. Glass is made up of the same stuff as sand, and is an effective substrate for growth of many things, including corals, so we largely avoid removing it from the ocean if it has already found its way there. The ocean ecosystems are complex and continually adapting to our species, our job is to promote its health and survival as best as we can.
#marinebiology #conservation #exploration #muckdiving #research #mantis #mantisshrimp #stomatopod #habitat #ecology #diversity #biodiversity #nhrcp