Before you ask – no. This isn’t another Netflix and Chill innuendo. Actually, it’s about another strange kind of relationship many of us still don’t understand. And unlike a one-night stand, you might want to stick around and read up on this quirky date idea.
Meet Dr. Alison Sweeney. She’s an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania with a PhD in Biology. And she’s here to discuss the biggest orgy in the world.

Still confused? Maybe disturbed? Don’t be. This is a lecture on the sex life of (who would have guessed it) coral.

Image from Pexels

Apparently warm ocean waters and full moons are just as romantic to coral reefs and fishes as they are to us, as the moonlit, tropical waters make the ideal conditions for underwater reproduction. However there’s more to this ambience than aesthetic appeal. Jamie Mooteb, a Physics major here at Saint Joseph’s University, is native to a little island called Yap out in the Pacific Ocean. She is hoping to study with Dr.Sweeney over the summer, and explained to me the studies behind the spectacular.

This diagram details the proximity of Yap and Palau.

“One of Yap’s neighboring islands is Palau,” she said, “which is a very popular diving spot. Dr. Sweeney was studying the clams there. Apparently there is a symbiotic relationship between the clams and the algae that acts kind of like solar energy or photosynthesis.”

She explained to me that Dr. Sweeney is interested in studying how clams receive and conserve energy, and that she discovered a fascinating adaptation in the lips of the clams, “a layer of tissue along the lengths of their mouths that seem to absorb light for energy.” These cells are called “iridocytes,” are mainly used for color as a mating call or warning to other creatures.

Sharks also make their homes in the tropical waters of the reefs. Image from Pexels

With such an ecosystem teeming with life, this is only a sample of the weird and interesting relationships  home to the reef.

You and your special someone can learn about this captivating underwater phenomenon at the Wagner Free Institute of Science. The lecture runs for an hour and a half, and is absolutely free!

So extend your Valentine’s Day celebration with some mystical undersea ambience this February 16th, before the opportunity swims away into the abyss.

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