Science | July 31, 2016 4:00 am

Previous Unseen Behavior in Coral Reefs Filmed for the First Time

Coral reefs can stretch for thousands of miles, making it all the more amazing that they are built by coral polyps just millimeters in size. We can at last take a close look at them thanks to the University of California San Diego’s Andrew Mullen and Tali Treibitz. They created the Benthic Underwater Microscope (BUM), and it lets divers zoom in on wild corals for the first time.

Among the behaviors they have discovered: kissing corals. Polyps occasionally lean over and press their mouths together. (It is believed that they’re exchanging food or nutrients.)

“We can really start to see the fine-scale detail and the behavior of individual polyps,” declares Mullen.

Read more about their discoveries here, or watch the video below.