1. 'Cleaner'
    (Natural History Episode 1)

    Periclimenes yucatanicus shrimp cleaning itself upon its symbiotic host, a Condylactis gigantea anemone.

    Video, Aquarium + Original Soundtrack: Coral Morphologic
    2009

    See bit.ly/7I4fXL for more details.

    # vimeo.com/7737199 Uploaded 4,842 Plays / / 2 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  2. 'Cleaner' Pt. 2
    (Natural History Episode 2)

    Periclemenes pedersoni shrimp perched on its host colony of fluorescent orange Ricordea florida corallimorphs.

    Video, Aquarium + Original Soundtrack: Coral Morphologic
    2010

    See bit.ly/8ZVcCu for more details.

    # vimeo.com/8409432 Uploaded 13K Plays / / 1 Comment Watch in Couch Mode
  3. ‘Purple Forest’
    (Natural History Episode 7)

    This week's video features an aquascape comprised of the beautiful purple macro algae Asparagopsis taxiformis. However, if you pay close attention to the left 1/3 of the screen, you'll notice something... moving with claws... Nestled amongst the algae is a perfectly camouflaged decorator crab (Microphrys bicornuta). Keep paying attention... at 26 seconds into the clip you'll notice a tiny isopod crustacean float by in the current and descend helicopter-style right onto the crab's back. The unsuspecting isopod has no idea that it has landed upon an algae covered beast. Furthermore, it appears that the crab is not aware of the unexpected visitor until the isopod begins to explore its decorated exoskeleton. 50 seconds into the clip the isopod meets its fate with a few swift snatches of the crab's claws. Without missing a beat, the crab continues scavenging amongst the rocks and algae. And life on the reef goes on...

    Decorator crabs are amazing creatures in that they pick up pieces of their surrounding habitat and place them on their carapace (back, exoskeleton) in order to blend into their surroundings. Decorator crabs that live amongst sponges decorate with sponges, those that live amongst zoanthids use zoanthids, and so on. This instinctual logic is truly remarkable. The crab in the video has attached small pieces of the Asparagopsis upon itself, and as a result is all but indistinguishable from its surroundings.

    Video, Aquarium + Original Soundtrack: Coral Morphologic
    2010

    See bit.ly/9n1NSn for more details.

    Screened at ATP Curated by Animal Collective | May 13-15, 2011 - Minehead, UK
    Screened at Miami Underwater Festival | May 27-28, 2011 - Miami, FL

    # vimeo.com/9101916 Uploaded 19.9K Plays / / 4 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  4. ‘The Fire Coral’ Pt. 1
    (Natural History Episode 10)

    Millepora alcicornis, or fire coral, is not actually a true coral, but a hydrocoral. Hydrocorals are colonies of hydroids that secrete a shared limestone skeleton, making them more closely related to jellyfish than true corals. Here in Florida, fire coral is extremely abundant on our reefs where they serve as the underwater equivalent of a sunburn to unsuspecting divers. Skin contact with fire coral will result in immediate burning pain, followed by an itchy welt that can last for several days.

    Fire coral is frequently found encrusting over neighboring corals, starting from the bottom and slowly killing the coral until the colony is completely encased in living limestone. Because fire coral contains symbiotic zooxanthellae (like most tropical stony corals), they are capable of fast growth rates that help build a coral reef. Upon close inspection of fire coral, the stinging polyps can be seen as needle-like projections. At even closer magnification, grape-like bunches of stinging nematocysts can been seen protruding along the polyps' length. These polyps are retractable, and when an edible food particle is captured, it can be drawn back towards one of the many mouths that dot the surface of the colony. In the video we see a colony of barnacle shells (Balanus sp.) that have been encrusted by fire coral. Unlike the corals though, the barnacle can continue to live beneath the veneer of fire coral.

    Barnacles are most commonly found living in the inter-tidal zone where they live periodic lifestyles of low tide rest and high tide activity. When immersed in water, the barnacle feeds with legs specialized for feeding called cirri. The cirri are covered with comb-like filaments that rake the water for passing plankton. If a particle is caught in the cirri, it is drawn back to the animal's mouth and eaten. When barnacle larvae settle out of the floating plankton themselves, they permanently affix themselves to a life-long location. Barnacles have a special 'cement gland' under their bodies that produces an impressive proteinaceous adhesive that holds the animal firmly, in spite of the heaviest of waves. A series of calcareous plates (commonly six) form a turret that protects their soft bodily tissues from predators. Despite their simple appearance, barnacles are in fact crustaceans, like shrimp, crabs, and lobsters.

    Video, Aquarium + Original Soundtrack: Coral Morphologic
    2010

    See for bit.ly/bHXU2t more details.

    Screened at ATP Curated by Animal Collective | May 13-15, 2011 - Minehead, UK
    Screened at Miami Underwater Festival | May 27-28, 2011 - Miami, FL

    # vimeo.com/9613681 Uploaded 6,357 Plays / / 3 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  5. 'Sally Lightfoot'
    (Natural History Episode 16)

    The sally lightfoot crab (Percnon gibbsi) is an agile maneuverer on the rocky shores of the Caribbean. These crabs are particularly well-suited to life on craggy limestone rock in shallow water.

    The rockwork is the result of sea urchins eroding the limestone as they rasp off the algae growing on the surface. The cumulative erosion by sea urchins over many years creates a jagged network of fissures and channels through the solid rock. The sally lightfoot crab's pancake-flat body allows it to scuttle beneath the protective spines of a nearby urchin at a moment's notice. Anemonia bermudensis sea anemones like the ones seen in the film can also be common on the rocks in this surf-washed zone. The sally lightfoot's nimble legs allow it zig-zag harmlessly between the tentacles of these stinging animals. Between the crab's eyes you'll notice a pair of fast-flitting antennae that detect the 'smell' of food in the water. The turbulence of the environment requires accurate detection and nimble response.

    Video, Aquarium + Original Soundtrack: Coral Morphologic
    2010

    See bit.ly/9pvOgR for more details.

    Screened at ATP Curated by Animal Collective | May 13-15, 2011 - Minehead, UK
    Screened at Miami Underwater Festival | May 27-28, 2011 - Miami, FL

    # vimeo.com/11226390 Uploaded 2,639 Plays / / 1 Comment Watch in Couch Mode

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