We have this thing for pictures and video of natural reef settings which tells us something tangilbe about how corals and reef formations can appear in the wild. Take for instance this assembly of Lobophyllia brain corals, a very popular genus in the reef aquarium hobby, which was taken in Palau; not only do we get to see what corals co-occur with Lobos, but we can also see the relative distribution of sizes and colors as well as some mechanical damage here and there which is totally normal for wild colonies of coral.
Not only can we see the how a natural assemblage of Palau Lobophyllia looks like, we can also see what other corals co-occur in the same part of the reef. In this frame alone we can see Goniastrea, Favites, Montipora and one specimen of Fungia tucked into the reef for good measure. Although this reef formation is almost completely covered with stony coral, this is the exception when it comes to many natural reefs where soft corals and algaes may also be present. Consider this image the next time you’re eyeballing an LPS reef and big thanks to Adele Simula for letting us share her eye-opening photograph.