Enric Sala’s TED talk, Glimpses of a Pristine Ocean turns on its head general thinking about the life in coral reefs. According to Wikipedia,”Enric Sala is a marine ecologist and an Explorer in Residence at National Geographic. He combines exploration, scientific research and communications to help protect some of the last pristine places in the ocean.” Wikipedia
Reef studies and observations began after reefs were already seriously degraded, thus, the baseline of what we thought a pristine reef is was jaded. Sala turns upside down the biomass pyramid in a startling (especially if you are not a shark lover) reversal of what scientists thought was true about the populations that inhabit coral reefs. They thought there were a few top predators and lots and lots of herbivores at the bottom and some carnivores in between. Not so in a truly pristine reef.
It turns out that the more top predators there are in a reef (up to 85% of the biomass) the more carnivores and herbivores and plankton eaters there are. The plankton eaters are so important to have plentifully because they clean the reef.
Here is the hopeful news: When we preserve just 20% of the ocean in no-take marine preserves, which will cost less than half of the money government now gives to dying fisheries, these reserves will replenish the sea. If you love snorkeling, the sea, life and learning, WATCH THIS TALK. It’s amazing.