Expedition update: St Crispins Reef

St. Crispin’s reef structure was not a typical slope but consisted of several shallow sandy channels that reticulated around numerous coral mounds. This unique make-up may be due to the shelter from weather it obtains from larger nearby reefs. Apart from the reef structure, soft corals and turf algae mostly dominated the benthic reef life. There were also some large tabulate and encrusting colonies of hard coral. Unlike hard corals, soft corals do not consist of a solid calcium carbonate skeleton; therefore they are not referred to as reef builders. This was especially clear at the northern flank, where the reef complexity above 10m was minimal; the reef resembled a meadow rather than a forest. This influences the local fish life; the majority of the fish we witnessed were small enough to get amongst the soft corals, while the few schools of large fish seen were congregated around random crevices in the reef.