26 The shrimp’s visit

A Lebbeus polaris shrimp rests on a branch of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa from the Trondheimsfjord (Norway).

Cold-water coral reefs are oases of biodiversity – not just in the North Atlantic, but also at many places along the continental margins between Norway and West Africa or between Nova Scotia (Canada) and the Gulf of Mexico. Most of the Lophelia reefs are located at depths of 200 to 400 metres. But the cool beauty has even been seen in waters over 3000 metres deep. Lophelia lives in close proximity to other coral species. Sponges and mussels grow between its branches. Squat lobsters and shrimps scuttle through this colourful forest and fish circle above them.

For images like this one, Solvin Zankl takes a special photo aquarium on his expeditions. This small tank helps him to portrait organisms under natural conditions, but control light and focus – as long as the swell allows …

Photo: Solvin Zankl