Diving into the turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea, you are immediately drawn to the kaleidoscope of colors of the coral reef. The Corals look like brightly colored trees beneath the sea. Thus, from afar it looks like a wild garden of rock-shaped plants growing all around each other, gently blowing with the currents. The beautiful creatures of the sea swimming through the corals makes an amazing view through your snorkeling masks.
Corals may look like plants but they’re actually living animals and are also relatives to jellyfish! Belizeans like to call them ‘live rock’. Corals can feed with their tentacles and stinging cells but they get most of their energy from the symbiotic algae (zooxanthellae) that live inside them. The mutual symbiotic relationship between them is that the algae photosynthesize, like all plants, creating energy from sunlight that the corals then harness for growth. The coral provides a safe place for the algae while the algae gives the corals beautiful colors.
Fun fact! It was Dr. Robert Trench, a Belizean scientist was one of the first to reveal the secrets of the symbiotic relationship.