We don’t usually think of corals as particularly active creatures. Though they eat, grow, and reproduce like any animal, the marine invertebrates move very slowly. Daniel Stoupin, a photographer and Ph.D. student studying marine biology, shows the livelier side of “slow” marine animals in a stunning time lapse. Watch as all manner of vibrantly colored sponges and corals pulse and grow, extending flower-like polyps out into the world to find food and extracting themselves from everyday bits of sand and sediment that fall upon them.
Seen up-close, most of these creatures look positively otherworldly. “Corals and sponges are very mobile creatures, but their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to ours and requires time lapses to be seen,” Stoupin writes of the video. He shot 150,000 photos in order to put together the less-than-four-minute video, with every frame consisting of between three and 12 shots. “These animals build coral reefs and play crucial roles in the biosphere, yet we know almost nothing about their daily lives.”