Last week, this photo I made in Kona, Hawai’i won the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s World Ocean Day Photo Contest on Flickr, themed “One Ocean, One Climate, One Future”.
This endangered Green Sea Turtle is being cleaned by Yellow Tangs and Gold-ring Surgeonfish. This symbiotic behavior keeps the turtles free of algae and parasites while providing a food source for the fish.
It’s a delicate balance, easily upset by something as seemingly innocuous as feeding the fish while snorkeling. This disrupts their normal behavior by making the fish more dependent on humans than the turtles or some other natural food source.
The turtles face threats such as the harvest of their eggs, and being tangled in nets and other fishing gear, causing them to drown.