240 – Baby Coral Mandala

Baby Coral - photo by Kristen Marhaver
Baby Coral – photo by Kristen Marhaver

Aaaawwwww.  Look at the cute little babies. I love their bright green fluorescent color and their round volcano-like structure with the lined patterns around each one. (science-y stuff: “The bright green color at the ends of the tentacles is produced by the coral’s own sunscreen-like pigments while the brown color is produced by the algae living inside the coral’s tissue.“)

What we see here is a coral nursery so to speak. Marine biologist and TED Fellow Kristen Marhaver captured this photo of a colony of coral in its infancy. She and her colleagues are at the CARMABI Research Station in Curaçao focused on understanding how corals reproduce, and studying what they can do to help young corals build the reefs of the future.

As written by Kristen on her TED’s ideas post of March 13, 2015:

These colonies are formed by one original coral polyp — a mouth surrounded by tentacles — that divides itself in half over and over and over. All of these new twins stay connected to one another and build a skeleton underneath themselves, so that they can grow up toward the sunlight. The result is similar to a group of hundreds of tiny anemones living shoulder-to-shoulder on the surface of a rock.

Coral Spawning
Coral Spawning

Even at the spawning stage, these sperm/egg bundles take on mandala-like shapes. Continue reading more about their process…

Isn’t Mother Nature amazing?

Happy Coloring!

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