Monday evening, December 12, 2016.
The researchers returned to the reef in July 2014, and began cataloging the invertebrate diversity still living among the skeletons. Their searching uncovered more than 2,500 living invertebrates from 40 different taxonomic groups, including reef urchins, brittle stars, hermit crabs, and snails. “It’s like when you find dead trees and they are covered in beetles and all of these interesting creatures,” Nelson says.
Both corals and trees have something in common, Nelson says: they’re foundation species that create three-dimensional habitats for other species. “They continue in that role even where they’re dead.”
To jump straight to John R. Platt’s story, follow the link to “There Is Life on a Dead Coral Reef” at Hakai Magazine.