Fluorescent corals: the magic is in the details

Explore the deep sea

in the Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

If there is magic on this planet, it is definitely in the exotic underwater world of the coral reef. The Coral Reef Aquarium at Xcaret presents the different underwater ecosystems in various multicolored gardens, arranged according to the depth corresponding to them, no easy task because these ecosystems are complex and delicate. Join us to learn about the deepest of all: the home of the fluorescent corals.

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

Fluorescence is a phenomenon that we see in some reef inhabitants as crustaceans and corals. The fluorescent bodies don’t produce light, only reflect it, so they need an external source to illuminate them. Upon entering this part of the Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret; let your eyes adjust to the light and soon you’ll be able to admire green, blue, purple yellow and orange colors.

 

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

“Fluorescence occurs because the blue light stimulates the emission of photons in green and red corals” says Jorg Wiedenmann, professor of Biological Oceanography at the University of Southampton.

 

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

32 yards under the sea, the world is very different. An environment with strong currents, caves, and many cracks lives: it’s home to sponges and hard corals flattened due to poor lighting.

 

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

Did you know that 80% of aquarium corals come from a coral rescue program? Mostly, these have been released by a storm or natural phenomenon; in addition to that, other corals come from the Reproduction Program in Xcaret Park,  partial transplant, and natural recruitment.

 

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

Many of the inhabitants of the reef are limited to live under the seabed; actually, fish, crustaceans, and mollusks are some of the few species that move freely through the reef. Take advantage of your visit to the aquarium to watch closely these species that are normally only available to scuba divers: be amazed by their shapes, textures, and unique details of the underwater world.

 

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

This is a unique aquarium since we have successfully established over 500 coral reef structures with a seawater pump allowing a free flow of plankton directly into the exhibit tanks, along with sponge larvae, corals, and mollusks that originate a natural colonization process.

 

Coral Reef Aquarium in Xcaret

 

During your next visit to Xcaret Park, make some time to calmly walk through this part of the Coral Reef Aquarium despite not having any fish, it’s  full of life: the beauty of the details of the coral will leave you speechless.

 

Keep reading about our work with marine species, read: Insider’s look to the sea turtle hospital in Xcaret

Deborah Iruegas
Writer, editor & photographer seeking inspiration in nature and music.