Discoveries
06.18.2016

Lens of Time: Corals in Motion

Corals occupy their own time dimension, but if given enough time, they reveal a surprising array of behaviors that give them an edge deep below the ocean's surface.

Viewed from the human perspective and in the timeframe of our active daily lives, corals look like little more than underwater landscape—a kind of passive ocean decoration. Most people don’t think of corals as organisms. But they are indeed animals—dynamic colonies of creatures with distinctive, complex, and highly active lives. Among the thousands of known coral species, there’s a tremendous range of diverse behaviors, from locomotion and reproduction to territorial aggression. But because these activities often occur too slowly for us to see in real time—not to mention underwater, where even an observant scuba diver’s time is limited—most have never been documented or studied, especially along the ocean’s deepest reefs. Scientists are now using time-lapse photography to lift the veil on these mysterious creatures, hoping to gain a new level of understanding that will foster greater interest in corals and, by extension, better coral stewardship and conservation.

Spine Films

Spine Films is a San Francisco Bay Area production company specializing in international science, nature, environment, and arts media. They search for stories that provide opportunities to find the magical in the mundane, and that celebrate the beautiful intricacy of our Universe. You can find their films and stories on PBS, Discovery Networks, National Geographic and on websites and broadcast stations around the world.

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