The biodiversity of our ocean is amazing. Even just from a one hour video clip capturing a single coral head in the lagoon, our team discovered a wide variety of species. The species could be classified into broader groups like wrasse, sturgeon fish, butterfly fish, and angel fish, and then put into smaller subgroups. Some of the fish had more generic appearances, such as the Lined Bristletooth and Brushtail Tang, and it was easy to get them confused with one another. Others were more easily recognizable, like the Moorish Idol and Porcupine Fish. The most common species we saw were the Lined Bristletooth and Brushtail Tang. They tended to stay closer to the camera, so we were able to get more up close shots of them. Other species like the Dark Surgeonfish stayed farther away from the reef.
It’s easy to recognize that the ocean is full of biodiversity, but actually filming and counting species really makes you appreciate that on another level. Our class now has a greater understanding of our local species of reef fish and how unique they are from one another. I was surprised at the number of species caught in the scope of our camera alone, and I am looking forward to identifying these same species on our next snorkeling trip.