Symbiosis Underwater

Symbiosis Underwater

Symbiosis underwater describes where two species live in close contact with one another, often resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship. The ocean is home to a huge array of fascinating symbiotic relationships and here on Koh Tao, we can observe many examples when we go scuba diving. This is the first installment in a series exhibiting some of our favorite examples of symbiosis underwater.


Part 1 will start at the very bottom and consider perhaps the most ubiquitous example of symbiosis in the ocean: the coral reef structure itself.


Coral is one of the ocean’s most fantastic wonders and is therefore one of the main reasons that many people decide to take up scuba diving and enroll in the beginner Open Water Course. The optimal temperature for coral growth is between 23 and 29 °C.  This makes the conditions here on Koh Tao perfect for scuba diving as the water is warm all year round. Many people widely believe that coral is just a rocky structure but actually, it is an elaborate exoskeletal structure made by tiny animals called polyps. These animals are stationary in nature and although they can capture passing plankton to eat.  They mostly rely on the food produced for them by photosynthesizing algae called zooxanthellae growing in their tissues.

An example of symbiosis underwater
Different corals at Twins

This is often what gives the coral the vibrant colors displayed and it is the sickness of the polyps and subsequent loss of these algae that results in the detrimental effect known as coral bleaching. A lot of the corals on Koh Tao are brown, different from the colours in other seas and oceans. In return, the coral polyps provide the algae with a protected environment and the compounds that they need for photosynthesis.  The corals are turning carbon dioxide in the ocean into the oxygen that we need to breathe.  They are responsible for generating more than 50% of the oxygen in the world’s atmosphere.  Making this mutualistic symbiotic relationship one of the most important in the world!

Koh Tao diving marine life
A nudibranch on corals

Hopefully reading about symbiosis underwater has inspired you to try scuba diving in just one day or embark on the open water course and get your scuba diving certification on Koh Tao soon!  Being an island we can dive all year round so you can always have a dive holiday here.

How Do I Sign Up For Diving On Koh Tao?

Contact us 🙂 Easy.  If you are interested in Koh Tao diving contact us or you can find out more about the diving we offer by clicking on the links below or follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see what we have been up to.  We also have accommodation available for different budgets. From AC dorm beds to private bungalows with fans or AC.  Please ask for more information or contact Pranee Bungalows directly.

Learning to put your equipment together is part of your diving course
Students assembling their equipment before diving

Want To Know More About Koh Tao Diving?

Use the links below or search the website, we have specialty courses as well as recreational courses plus professional-level training.

Open Water Course
Advanced Course
Fun Dives

Koh Tao diving has a variety of marine life, including pufferfish
A group of Koh Tao scuba divers watching a pufferfish

How do I get to Koh Tao?

When is the best time to dive on Koh Tao?

What else can I do on Koh Tao?

There is also an ever-expanding range of online ecology courses available that can all be done via the MySSI app.

Find out more about the SSI diver training agency here: Dive SSI

Koh Tao diving has a lot to see
Koh Tao has a diverse array of marine life and many examples of symbiosis underwater
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