Cryptic animals in coral reefs


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Feb 17, 2018
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Los Angeles, CA
I thought this paper was really interesting.

Length–weight relationships to quantify biomass for motile coral reef cryptofauna

Basically, in ecology, it's nice to be able to figure out the weight of an animal without actually having to weigh it. Now, in aquarium terms, think about having to weigh a bristleworm or something like that - it's hard to weigh without hurting it, and really - it's hard just to find it. This paper describes the length-weight relationship formulas for a bunch of different cryptic reef animals, from bristleworms in the family Nereididae to the turban snails in Turbinidae all the way through to things like the Trapeziidae Acropora & Pocillopora crabs. This is really useful information - it means that in our tanks, and in future research, you only need an image that allows you to figure out the size of an animal to know (on average) it's weight.

I thought this was really interesting - one, I never knew so many types of animals live amongst the live branches of coral, and two - I hadn't heard of length-weight relationship formulas before. When we're trying to figure out the dose of a medication, sometimes it's useful to know what the weight of the animal might be. Rather than having to catch and weigh our fish out of water, we could measure them as they swim by and then just plug it into a formula to figure out about what they weigh. Pretty cool!

The paper isn't open access, so I'm linking a video about the paper as well.


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