Deep Sea 3D

Year:
2006
122 Views


These are not visitors

from an alien planet.

Nor are they science fiction.

They are real.

Creatures of our own world.

And their destiny...

...is linked to ours.

Coral mountains rise more than half a mile

from the floor of the Caribbean Sea.

They were built, inch by inch,

over centuries...

...by billions of coral animals.

But the animals didn't do it alone.

Tiny plants living inside the coral...

...capture energy from the sun

to make its food.

Neither plant nor coral...

...can survive without the other.

And that's the key:

The whole reef community

is built on relationships.

Little fish live here.

And big fish eat little fish.

He's a 100-pound black grouper.

And he's always hungry.

But for the community

to remain in balance...

...the prey needs a fair chance

at survival too.

And nature provides some ingenious ways

to even the odds.

Take the frogfish.

He hides from predators

by looking like a sponge.

In his disguise...

...the frogfish can sit back

and attract lunch...

...with a fishing pole

mounted on his forehead.

Glassy minnows.

Like quicksilver.

That black grouper on the ledge

is hoping to catch one.

The shimmering school dances

for good reason.

It's very hard for the grouper

to isolate a single minnow.

And he often fails.

There's more diversity here

than anywhere else on Earth.

And every single citizen,

from the tiniest fish...

...to the ferocious tiger shark,

must depend upon others to survive.

The balance between predator and prey

is always shifting.

But the community stays healthy

and whole...

...because there are so many different

relationships between so many species.

Sometimes...

...even the coral itself is prey.

The crown-of-thorns sea star.

He eats coral.

Too many of these could wipe out

an entire reef.

The triton trumpet snail hunts sea stars.

Although the snail is almost blind...

...it can smell the sea star's trail.

Those nasty thorns are full of venom.

But the snail is immune.

- What's that?

- It's called a proboscis.

And he'll use it to drill through

the stars leathery hide.

Then he'll inject a venom...

...that will dissolve the sea star

from the inside out.

So the triton trumpet snail

helps save the coral.

And that helps keep

the reef's eco system in balance.

Even different species

you'd think would be enemies...

...often help each other.

This is a cleaning station.

A sort of a dermatology clinic.

The spotted coney is the patient.

The little cleaner gobies

move over his skin...

...removing and eating parasites.

Both species benefit.

It's called symbiosis.

Another cleaning station.

Away from this spot...

...the barracuda might swallow

the little Spanish hogfish whole.

When he's being cleaned,

the barracuda seems to call a truce.

The cleaning station is a sanctuary.

Green sea turtles love coming

to this reef near the island of Hawaii.

It's sort of an undersea spa.

Amazingly,

it's only the size of a living room.

But even coming from miles away...

...they somehow manage

to find this special spot.

When algae accumulates on their shells,

it can really slow them down.

But the reef fish give them a good scrub.

In exchange, the turtles give the reef fish

a healthy vegetarian feast.

Some don't even wait their turn.

They swoop in close to other turtles

to steal away the school.

With her shell beautifully polished...

...she now returns to her migrations...

...which may take her

thousands of miles away...

...through the trackless open sea...

...where jellyfish drift

through liquid skies.

That pulsing is how it swims.

Each pulse also forces

tiny animals inward...

...where they are stunned and consumed.

Thousands of different species of jellyfish

ride the currents...

...like sailors in a gale.

Most are solitary travelers.

But moon jellies sometimes swarm together

in astonishing numbers.

They know not what lies in wait below.

A monster jellyfish ensnares them

in a venomous web...

...that can stretch

more than 30 feet across.

The stinging filaments slowly drag them in

toward the translucent bell...

...where they will be dissolved

and digested.

For some mysterious reason...

...it's called the "fried egg" jellyfish.

Ocean currents can sweep

entire kelp forests...

...away from California's Channel Islands

and out into the open sea.

The drifting kelp rafts

are a favorite gathering place...

...for one of the strangest creatures

in the ocean.

It's called a Mola mola.

This one's about 5 feet across.

But he can grow

to more than 4000 pounds...

...mostly on a gossamer diet of jellyfish.

But Molas don't come here for food.

They come here to be cleaned

by halfmoon perch.

It's a cleaning station in the open sea.

Looks like this time,

the entire family came along.

Currents are as vital to life underwater

as rain is to life on land.

Along the North Pacific Coast...

...they sweep nutrients up from the depths

to nourish a dense growth of plankton.

The basket star has sensed the current...

...and opens serpentine arms

to snare passing tidbits.

Barnacles are feasting too.

They stick out their furry little legs

to catch food.

The translucent creatures

clinging to the kelp...

...are called nudibranchs.

They come in a thousand varieties.

They're close relatives

of the common garden slug...

...but much more beautiful.

These are hooded nudibranchs.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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