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Peering down into a turret of the cement wreck ~ accretions and bioadhesions amass a swath of swarming critters…

Amongst bushy soft alcyonarian corals and yellow tufts of ‘black coral’ dances a myriad of small damsels. Zig zag oysters and clams cling to the wreck, filtering particulate matter swooshing through this ‘micro-niche’ of vertical water channeling. Competition for space and for light is fierce. Photosynthetic blue-green and red algae cling on literally for their life in the light. Growths of soft sponges, orange, yellow, hues of blue and green all add to the complexity of the turret. What seems to be a ‘ball-like’ yellow float (left) sits tightly nestled in the overgrowth, maybe remnants of a submerged buoy attachment or just another sponge. A black sea-urchin with its sharp, yet ‘brittle’ pointy spines sits sifting and grazing over the growth.

As a Marine Scientist, Underwater Photographer, Wildlife Conservation FilmMaker & emerging Explorer ~ Nicks’ recent film “Colours of the Gulf” documented the plight of whale sharks and other marine life in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill.

http://about.me/nickcoburnphillips

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