We are in Belize again, at the remote Carrie Bow Cay research station run by the Smithsonian Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program. The main purpose of this trip is to conduct out biannual monitoring of the CBC reef to check on the status of the corals, fishes, and other reef denizens. Of course, we never have just one project going on, so stay tuned for updates on other projects coming soon to this blog! :-) [Read posts from the 2010 and 2011 Belize Expeditions]
One of the things that we check for is growth and for the size of various organisms--size is, for most reef organisms, proportional to age. Of course we all like to see large, thriving corals that have been growing for decades. We also love to see large fishes--a mark of a healthy and and reproductive population. But we also love to see babies! Babies indicate new life--new growth--and the future of reef health. Plus, babies are just darn cute, as everyone knows.
Here are a few of our favorite babies from this trip so far:
We wonder, what will these young ones be when they grow up? What will their homes look like? Will they rise to their fullest potential? These little ones have already come so far. They've survived their larval stage, and have successfully recruited to the reef. They have avoided predation and competition in order to get as large as we see them. But, they will have a long way to go. Stay tuned for adult versions of these organisms, which we will post later on, to show you what these babies will hopefully become.