Virtual Dive in Emily’s Pinnacles, Bermuda

Emily’s Pinnacles are impressive hard coral formations found in Bermuda and provide the building blocks for the reef. Darwin classified three main types of reefs – barrier reefs, fringing reefs and atolls, with others being patch reef and pinnacle reefs. A pinnacle reef occur when a patch reef occurs at an open shelf, rather than at an atoll.

Here, Google have partnered with The Catlin Seaview Survey, a major scientific study of the world’s reefs, to make these amazing images available to millions of people through the Street View feature of Google Maps. The Catlin Seaview Survey used a specially designed underwater camera, the SVII, to capture these photos.  For further views please see the Google Street view Ocean gallery. For more information about the Catlin Seaview Survey please view their website. Explore it here, with brain corals below:

Brain coral is a common name given to corals in the family Faviidae so called due to their generally spheroid shape and grooved surface which resembles a brain. Each head of coral is formed by a colony of genetically identical polyps which secrete a hard skeleton of calcium carbonate; this makes them important coral reef builders like other stony corals in the order Scleractinia. The corals reefs of Bermuda have been especially vulnerable to coral bleaching. Bleaching occurs when the conditions necessary to sustain the coral’s zooxanthellae cannot be maintained and is a generalized stress response of corals.

References

Morelock J, 2005, Reef Types, Personal Webpage

More on pinnacle reef formation near patch reefs and mounds can be found here: SEPM Strata: Carbonate Facies

Wikipedia- “Brain Coral” and “Coral Bleaching

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