It’s not often we get to hear Robert “Snorkel Bob” Wintner speak, and taking a look at this video from Coral Magazine, we can see why. He spends a few minutes discussing his love affair with chickens, which we find a bit odd, but eventually turns it into a comparison with yellow tangs. Bob describes the useful nature of yellow tangs and how they graze on algae on the reefs. Despite us agreeing with him about how useful yellow tangs are in the general sense, he hits that epic facepalm moment around the one-minute mark. Snorkel Bob states, “…algae is a natural phenomenon. It grows from inside the coral to the outside. Coralline algae is what keeps the coral alive, and if it’s not trimmed it will suffocate the coral.” Sorry to say this Bob, but you aren’t even close to being right in this statement. Algae does grow inside corals; it is called Zooxanthellae and it forms a symbiotic relationship with the coral. Perhaps this is what you were talking about, we’ll never know, but let’s continue on anyways. Regarding coralline algae, it doesn’t keep coral alive, nor will it suffocate a coral. This algae grows in a crustose manner, meaning it adheres to the rocks for the most part and is not consumed by tangs. Also, how does an algae such as coralline keep corals alive but also kills it? There are so many things wrong with what Snorkel Bob is saying, and it just goes to show you how much of a grip guys like him have on what’s actually going on.
In closing, we do have a suggestion for Mr. Wintner. Just leave the science behind marine fisheries to the experts and you just run along with your snorkel and fins to the nearest tourist hotspot where you can peddle your amazing diving equipment (it’s a shame how the typed word fails to convey sarcasm).