Even though TISIRI is largely focused on man influenced marine habitats we are also very interested in natural reef systems. When possible, we visit such areas for comparison and observational purposes. The hope is that man influenced marine habitats, such as those created as a result of artificial reef deployments, mimic natural reefs systems as much as possible.
TISIRI investigated one such natural reef this past Sunday. This area, which is often referred to as live bottom, consisted of a 4 foot relief stone ledge in about 80 feet of water. Below are pictures from TISIRI's reef investigation. The visibility was far from ideal when these pictures were captured but the photos demonstrate the current condition of the reef fairly well.
As expected the natural ledge reef housed many of the familiar organisms encountered at artificial reef sites. This includes both the swimming animals as well as the encrusting life forms. Seabass and tomtates were the most plentiful fish species encountered but colorful fish such as damsels and wrasse were also present. The natural ledge reef appeared healthy and very similar to a mature artificial reef.