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Fall in Love with Marine Ecology

October 15, 2012

In order to demonstrate their newly discovered knowledge of marine species (the good, the bad, and the attractive…) Marine Ecology students have been creating original “Match.com” profiles for local marine life.  Check out these hot new profiles and ask yourself: who would you rather spend an evening with? The generous and independent Encrusting Fan Leaf Algea, the fancy dancing Pederson Cleaner Shrimp, or the overbearing Lionfish?

Encrusting Fan Leaf Algae Profile by Hope Logan:

Don’t be deceived by my phylum, a very attractive algae. I have large, round leaves a little  smaller than your hand. My pad is awesome, I live on coral reefs so there’s a ton of sunlight because I need it to live. But thats just about the only thing I need, I’m not a needy organism at all. In fact, I’m very self sufficient. So I don’t need to rely on anyone to bring home the bacon, I got it. Just gimme some some sunlight to photosynthesize with and I’m good, because I’m an autotroph. I provide well for myself, but, I’m a sensitive guy and I also like to give back to the whole community around me.  By fixing carbon into oxygen, I produce not only enough food for me, but also oxygen and nutrients for all the organisms on the reef around me. Because of this, they call me a Primary Producer, you see, I’m an important guy on the reef. I feed a lot of juveniles, beautiful fish, and everyone else who needs to be fed. I’m so generous I even feed those ugly Fuzzy Chitons. I make the reef a better place, and without me, the reef would not have the biodiversity that it has. I know my place and have found my niche. I fulfill my role on the reef and am confident in it. This is because I evolved and out-competed any other species that are like me so I’m one of a kind, I’m unique. If you date me, you can depend on me to be comfortable with who I am and not change.

But, I have to be honest, I’m a little power-hungry. If not enough species are eating me and can take over the reef, I will. I’m a great species. Go big or go home. Coral hates me when I do this though, because it covers him and interfering with his dumb Zooanthellae that work for him because he’s a heterotroph and isn’t as self-sufficient as me. But as big an alpha as I am on the reef, I’m still a normal algae and don’t have control over abiotic factors. I need a solid substrate to grow on, and water that’s deep enough so waves don’t crush the reef I live on. Also, coastal development can stir up sedimentation and cause it to cover me. With sedimentation covering me, I no longer have access to sunlight and can’t photosynthesize and I die.

So you should date me because I’m self sufficient, generous, but am still a regular algae. What more could you ask for?

Lionfish Profile by Connor Konynenbelt:

Whats up! My name is Pterosis Volitans, or lionfish. All of my friends just call me Lion. The problem is that I don’t have many friends because everybody seems to be annoyed by my presence. They all call me this weird word called “invasive.” It is super mean and it hurts my feelings. I came here hoping to find somebody that wouldn’t be annoyed with me. I am quite new to the Bahamas, I have only been here since 2004! Many humans and fish have been trying to get me to leave but a lot of them are scared of me because of my venomous spine. One prick and I can send a human straight to the hospital so they don’t want to mess with me. There are no fish that really eat me, except for one tragic day. In 2006, a big grouper snuck up on my best friend and ate him. It was by far the saddest day of my life. The worst part about it was that it made those humans really happy. They said that they hoped grouper would be a natural biocontrol of my species. Enough about my background, lets talk about what I do in my spare time! I am a very big hunter. I am a cerpuscular hunter which means that I hunt at dawn or at dusk. But I much rather prefer to hunt at dusk. I have a very specific way of hunting and it is very effective. I am able to exert a current which pushes my prey back into a corner then I am able to attack it for a nice meal. Since I hunt so much I have a very large appetite. When I eat a lot my stomach can grow up to 30 times its size when it is empty and I won’t have to eat for about 3 months! I consider myself lucky because I am super lazy and this way I don’t have to hunt everyday like a lot of other fish do. I am not a very picky eater, I eat just about anything that I can get my hands on. There is another thing that I have to tell you. I just got out of a rough relationship with another lionfish. We had about 1 million kids together over the span of a year. It is crazy that females can lay about 1 million eggs in a year. The last thing I want to leave you with is that even though most people think I am annoying, I think you could learn to love me and we could have a great relationship together. Cya later.

Pederson Cleaner Shrimp Profile by Hadley Edie:

Greetings! My name is Peder Son, and I am a Pederson Cleaner Shrimp! Here are some details about myself, and hopefully we can set something up!

You’re probably wondering where I’m from- I live in the tropics! I love warm and clear water and lived on coral reefs all my life. I’m from the Caribbean Bahamas, but I may also be spotted in Southern Florida. Some say that I’m “common”, but I definitely think that I’m one of a kind. Generalizations like that bother me because although I have lots of siblings, cousins, and other shrimp that look just like me I’m definitely an original! I do love my family (the names Periclimenes pedersoni if you want to research me), and I have lots of other relations too (most of the other cleaning shrimp)! Now for some details about my appearance… (I know this is what you’ll really be looking at)! I’m a pretty small dude with a tiny transparent body and legs, with super cool purple spots all over! Don’t worry though- what I lack in size I make up for in character. I also have two long, white antennae that I’ve been told look like hair- very pretty. If I’m pregnant you’ll see rows of pink eggs attached to my belly, because I’m a very responsible parent and like to keep my unborn babies close to me. I have a ton of hobbies, including hanging out on the reef, cleaning, and eating. I love to hang out with my best friends, most of whom are sea anemones. Some of my favorites are Corkscrew Cate, Branching Brady, Giant George, Ringed Ryan, and Knobby Kelly. We have a lot of fun together, but they always want me to help them clean themselves (they’re very messy). I don’t mind though because I’m such a good friend. I love to eat damaged tissues and parasites I find on my friends, so it’s actually a real win-win situation!! If you want to go out to dinner let me know because I know all the best anemones to take you to for the best food!  Another one of my hobbies is dancing- I like to wave my antennae around. It’s really funny because when I do that fish sometimes come and then my friends the anemones eat them! Dancing is a way that I like to communicate with my friends, and we always have a good time doing that. I’m also super outgoing, even towards new and scary things like divers, so don’t worry about there being any awkward lulls in the conversation, I’m not shy! So basically I’m a very fun person and I would love to take you out on a date! My ideal date would be dinner and then dancing at the reef ball, but I’m also open to any suggestions! Hit me up at peder.son@reef.net! Thanks!

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 15, 2012 2:45 pm

    These were very creative and fun to read! Keep up the good work.

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