1. Coral


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XIENTIFICA SOS is a great platform for kicking off scientific conversations and inspiring young people. These posts aim to link the scientific ideas and concepts from my novel to other amazing content on the web to bring more depth and new ways to bring them to life!

The coral reef was amazing. It was just like a rainforest – but underwater. It was the home of more fish than you could count. And it was the habitat of many other animals too: sea-urchins, jellyfish, starfish, squid, octopus.

Once when I was swimming out by the reef, I turned a corner and there it was – two huge eyes looking at me! It was of course an alien sent on a mission to seek me out and destroy me. Well, that was my initial reaction. ‘Alien attack,’ I screamed. But it came out as ‘Blabplibplm blabplab,’. The salty water that I swallowed almost choked me. However it did bring me back to my senses. What I was actually staring at was a cute looking baby octopus – who I later nicknamed ‘Goggles’.

We loved exploring the reef. Its branches twisted and turned upwards towards the light. Some were like Christmas trees; sharp and pointed. Others were flat like large hands catching sunshine.

Luke knew quite a lot about coral. He told me that the branches are built by tiny sea creatures. These creatures he said, turn seawater into that white, crunchy stuff that you find at the bottom of a kettle – ‘limestone’ I think he called it. He said that the creatures cover themselves in this limestone and then they die! And that’s how the coral branches grow bigger and bigger. Most of the coral is dead and is a bit like the wood inside a tree trunk. It’s only the outside of the coral – its skin – that is alive.

Xientifica SOS page 71 

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XIENTIFICA SOS is a great platform for kicking off scientific conversations and inspiring young people. If you can link to my site from yours – that would be wonderful – thanks Daniel.