Coral Reef Night Life Final Outline

This topic submitted by Will Geiger ( at 3:42 PM on 6/6/03.

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Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Ever since I did my first, and only night dive down in Grand Cayman for Freshman Spring Break, I have been interested in the completely different life on the coral reefs after sunset. It is amazing what one would miss if they only dove during the day. There are myriad of fish and species distinguished solely by night. I just took this topic, not knowing initially what exactly it was I wanted to concentrate on, and read and researched the environment by night on coral reefs.

I. Introducion
A. Rush Hour
1. Enchanted Braid
2. Changeover
a. Sleep/wake
b. Feed

II. Nocturnal Environment
A. Contrast day
1. Sun rays-angle
2. More available food
a. Predation peak
B. Behavior
1. Feeding
2. Mating

III. Fish Type
A. Diurnal
1. Defense Mechanisms
a. Triggerfish
b. Parrotfish
c. Wrasses
d. Others
B. Crepuscular
1. Description/light difference
a. Barracudas
b. Jacks
c. Lizardfish
d. Groupers
C. Nocturnal
1. Contrast diet
a. Carnivorous
b. Food availability
2. Fish
a. Dwarf Scorpionfish
b. Squirrelfish
c. Cardinalfish
d. Snappers
e. Drumfish
f. Soapfish
f. Grunts
g. Sweepers
h. Eels
3. Moon light
a. Effect on behavior
4. Mollusks
a. Octopus
5. Arthropods
a. Shrimp
b. Crab
c. Lobster


Wilson, Roberta and Wilson, James Q. Watching Fishes: Life and Behavior on Coral Reefs. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. 1985.

“Rush Hour on the Reef: The Best Approach to Snorkeling at Dusk.”

“Nocturnal Marine Predatory Fish.”

“Night Life of Cayman Brac.”

Ormond, Rupert F. G. Marine Biodiversity: Patterns and Processes. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Davidson, Osha Gray. The Enchanted Braid: Coming to Terms with Nature on the Coral Reef. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1998.

“Reef Romance: The Secret Night Life of Corals.”

Darwin, Charles. The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1897.

Cribb, A. B. and J. W. Plant Life of the Great Barrier Reef and Adjacent Shores. Queensland, Australia: University of Queensland Press, 1985.

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