By Katy Gill
This psychedelic timelapse footage shows the beautiful-yet-mysterious-looking movements of some of the most vibrant of coral, making them appear almost alien like as they glow, glimmer and pulsate.
Michael Rice spent four hours capturing the marine invertebrates’ movements – a task that required taking more than 2000 frames per video.
The marketing director from Denver, Colorado, captured eerie footage of the retracting corals housed in captive tanks, on June 2.
Four corals are featured in the video highlighting the species variety: one seemingly looking like a hungry mouth; another covered in grape-sized, veiny bubbles; a coral that could be mistaken for a fiber optic lamp; and others that mimic miniature trees.
Though a common misconception based on their appearance, corals are actually a sessile creature not a plant – immobile and stationed in the same spot and buried into the bed of the sea.
They also house many other creatures that make up the eco-system and it is hoped such footage will help bring awareness to those that are becoming endangered.
Michael, 34, said: “In the future I believe aquariums may serve as the last sanctuary to these animals, and possibly the main feed when we need to repopulate natural reefs after the devastation that is bleaching.
“A coral’s primary diet consists of lights due to the symbiotic algae living in their flesh.
“They are also incredibly adaptive at capturing nutrients from the water around them which can come in the form of small crustaceans living in the water – they are the masters of utilities what they have available.”
Zack Rago, 25, a cast member of Chasing Coral, a Netflix documentary on the changes in the ocean said: “There are numerous stressors and threats coral reefs are facing, from overfishing and disease to ocean acidification and global bleaching – they are all actively impacting global coral reef ecosystems.
“Though all of these reasons are damaging the oceans and its marine life, global bleaching has had a catastrophic impact on coral reefs due to the high sea surface temperature.
“By 2050 we are likely to lose upwards of 90% of global corals, however our knowledge pertaining to restoration and more importantly preservation is continually improving.
“We as the human species must hold up our end of the bargain in order for the science and research to matter and be effective – reducing our carbon emissions and repositioning ourselves in the global ecosystem are essential for coral reefs and the various other ecosystems that are facing challenges.”