While the curriculum concerning the Maldives’ (many) islands and (few) land-dwelling animals is close to complete, researchers of the reef are far from graduation.
Estimates of the numbers of fish species in the archipelago may have surpassed 2000.
This seminar of schooling bannerfish – one of 129 known types of butterfly fish – live locally, they explained, feeding on the coral polyps.
They are themselves not considered endangered, although gangs of roving moray eels and groupers mean that they stay inside (caves and crevices) after dark.
Unfortunately, they were unable to provide information about the wider area as they tend to stay close to their own coral head.
The lessons on the islands are more or less done, but school is still in session on the reef.