I’m sure you all have heard different versions of the story below:
One old man is jogging on a beach. In minutes, he sees a boy throwing the sea-stars into the sea. There are hundreds of these sea-stars on the sand, about to die. Possibly, they have stayed on the beach instead of being underwater as a result of a tide. The old man asks the young boy, “Why are you throwing these sea-stars one-by-one?” The boys says, “because they are dying because of the sun and being out-of-water”. The old man surprises and says, “but there are hundreds of them on the sand, you cannot save every one of them. What can you change?” The boy stops listening the old guy and throws the sea-star he is holding to the sea and replies “Everything changed about this one, it is living”.
I don’t know if this story is real or not, but I love its message. “Save it to make it live“.
Ecology is simply the science that deals with the relationship between the organisms and their environment. Example? The relationship between an anemone-fish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and an anemone, and the relationship between these two and the coral reef they are on.
The anemone-fish is colorful and uses this for attracting small fish for anemone. Anemone satisfies its nutrition needs from the anemone-fish’s excrement. Last but not least, anemone-fish protects the anemone from the parasites.
In return, anemone protects the anemone-fish from its predators. Anemone’s tentacles are poisonous but the anemone-fish has the perfect anti-venom for this. Other fish cannot even get close to the anemone. The anemone-fish, therefore, has a great nest and life area. Eats dead anemone tentacles and the remaining meal from the anome’s food.
The relationship between the anemone and the anemone-fish is called “symbiotic relationship“.
Why to Know Underwater Ecology?
You guys are all divers, instructors or desiring to dive one day. To be able to understand the underwater life, to be able to become a good diver (read the article: What Makes a Good Diver?) you should know about ecology.
By knowing underwater ecology and become conscious in diving, you can help the underwater world survive. (read: You Are Killing Them)
If you can go further and share your knowledge (like me) with the others, you can even help underwater population to raise.
With a group of people like myself, we have tried to study about an artificial reef. We have carved some huge rocks and placed them in 5 meters side-by-side. The result was amazing. Fish have chosen our small artificial reef as a nesting area, one octopus have been their neighbor.
This made our divers to see beautiful fish and octopus in 5 meters. Even my students who are making the Try Scuba Diving can see these. In one dive, i have taken my fellow dive students to this area. I have taken a sea urchin with me to feed the fish near our artifical reef. I have sliced the sea urchin and started to wait. Guess what?
The octopus has started to approach… The fish have already started to enjoy their meal. The little octopus has made a very fast attack and grabed one of the fish!
That was a great scene. We were just like watching a Nat Geo documantary! My students and me really liked that dive, made even in 5 meters.
Therefore, to be able to join your dive, and/or if you are an instructor, to be able to make your students anjoy a dive with you, you should care about underwater ecology.
Beyond Enjoying Your Dive
In my dive briefings before a dive, some of divers ask me if they can take some sea shells with them to the surface at the end of the dive. They really think taking these shells out-of-water is good to give away as souvenir, to prove people that they have made a really cool dive and etc.
This is a favorable but uneducated will.
Let’s take a sea shell as an example. Why we shouldn’t take even a dead simple sea shell out-of-water?
This small dead sea shell can be a really good nest area for small fish. By the help of this safe nest area, they can mate and reproduce. This means more small fish, which also means food for bigger fish. And the bigger fish means more great composition for underwater photographers and divers. Means great way to motivate an instructor’s students. Dive Centers can show great fish to their customer divers. Thus, satisfaction has been achieved.
Let’s look from the other side and omit diving from the issue. This means more fish for fishers and means white meat fo society.
There are other sea animals trying to find sea shells. The Hermit Crab (Dardanus calidus).
A Hermit Crab born without a shell. It finds a small sea shell and takes it on its back to get protected from the predators. If it cannot find a sea shell for itself, it cannot live much more.
When the Hermit Crab grows, it releases the small sea shell and tries to find a bigger one.
To be able to protect animals like the Hermit Crab, these -even dead- sea shells should remain underwater.
Last but not least, these dead sea shells must stay underwater because they belong there. I wouldn’t like to see two sharks digging a grave and take human skeletons to take them underwater, would you ?!?!?!?! Doesn’t it even sound scary?
Please think again! And tell people about it.
Stop This Commerce
I’m sure you have seen some touristic shops that sell sea shells and such. These shells are also getting sold for aquariums.
Sea shells and the underwater animals should go back to underwater. Today, I have visited one of my friends house and seen a really good, pink sea shell. It was possibly an old coral, which is unique. My friend is an aquairum maniac and using this great undertwater piece for decoration.
I have convinced her that this unique shell should stay underwater and promised that I’ll take a snapshot of this shell while relaesing it to the sea floor. I got it now, waiting to take with me in my first upcoming dive. This piece will host beautiful fish and help’em reproduce.
Do the same, convince your friends not tu buy these first. Then take these shells back to underwater. Think how the underwater world would flourish if all the sea shells on the land would go back to undertwater again!
Result of Consciousness in Diving
Right now, you know something about underwater ecology and why you should care about it. Help save our seas (SOS) and tell your fellow divers, buddies, colleagues, teachers and everyone that you interact about this.
Everything starts with individuals. Think about me. I have written an article like this. And if you are reading these last sentences, you are caring about it. This means that you’ll share these info with the others, them with others, so and so forth…
Together, we can make a difference. Thank for reading and sharing in advance.
If you are interested, i advise you to read the article “Sea Anemones and Anemoneﬁshes: A Symbiotic Relationship“, written by Alicia Opala.
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