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Reefer is a term commonly used to refer to any aquatic plant species that makes up a reef. An established reef will often have many kinds of fish and shellfish finding shelter or camouflage from them. When an area is first occupied by a reefer, nearby lifeforms usually begin to experiment with the plant before the entire reef makes itself present. Those who find the conditions pleasing usually frequent the reef and eventually take permanent residence in it. The vast majority of reef life use the reefers beneficially, but there is a potential for misuse. Misuse occurs when the necessity for shelter is deemed higher than the necessity for eating or swimming and can have negative effects.
Reefers are very diverse, some characteristics can be seen in all types of reefer. Reefers provide shelter to nearby aquatic life. The heightened sense of security can result in the aforementioned life to become lazy and unmotivated although it is still difficult to find food within the reef. This often brings about an increase in hunger for reef-life who care not to venture away form the reefer.
Some reefer can be shiny or partially reflective, and in conjunction with refracted sunlight from the water's surface and shadows, reefer can offer an experience similar to that of a fun house mirror. This hallucinogenic effect only occurs when high amounts of reefers are in a tight, poorly lit location.
Despite bouts of hunger and laziness, reefers do have a very positive impact on the aquatic environment. When a fish is in danger, it is always best to find a bit of reefer to help escape from the troubles of reality. The protection a reefer has to offer can be short-lived, as the plant is often dug up and sold by its cultivators, but while it lasts, the security can bestow a sense of euphoria upon whoever finds it.
Stages of Introduction
An instance of a new reef is fairly rare due to the large amount of time and effort it takes for new reefers to form in a foreign area. Reefers can grow slowly and die easily in an area with conditions that do not mirror those of a reef. This is why reefers can occupy an area for a short period of time, almost forming a full reef, but then slowly fade back out. This is usually referred to as a reefer phase. It is not uncommon for a newly formed layer of ocean floor to go through a reefer phase, where it is less common for a more established piece of land that has matured over time.
Stage One: Experimentation
This is when a region starts to grow one to a few reefers. The reefers are usually small due to unfavorable conditions and die out quickly is well. New ones replace them intermittently but total reefer levels usually grow by the end of this stage. Very often this stage is just part of a reefer phase as it is difficult for the plants to grow faster than they are dying out.
Stage Two: Recreation
During this stage, surrounding life explores the newly forming reem more frequently than before. There is not a sufficient level of protection to defend against many predators, but it is possible for a few fish to begin living within the minimal shelters that are provided. The small amount of animal life that exists here give the sand many nutrients that are important to the growth of more reefers. This re-creation of conditions present in a well established reef gives this stage its name.
Stage Three: Dependence
This is when reefers such as coral begin to appear. Coral is very selective on where it can live, so creation of reef conditions must occur before this stage. During this stage, fish live within the coral's complex structure where they are safe from predators. The fish become dependent when they are no longer safe without the protection of the reefers, due to predators or other detrimental ecological agents (DEA). Non-predatory DEA include non-reef fish who will oppress the inhabitants of said reef for their dependence despite the fact that it does not harm them in any way.
Stage Four: Addition/Addiction
The reef is already well established, and is it very rare for a reef that reaches this level to be part of a phase. This reef is usually a permanent part of the ocean until the land it resides on returns to a trench or becomes polluted. This stage is usually referred to as addition because it is established enough to grow without putting the surrounding areas through all four stages. The reef begins to affect all of the ecosystems around it. The growing reef will expand naturally because the area very close to it will closely resemble its characteristics. The addition of new territory to the reef gives it its name, however it is also referred to as addiction because this is the point in which a reef cannot become more dense; it just can't get enough of its reefer in the remaining space for further growth. The addiction reference is considered to be demeaning to reef-life who prefer the term addition.
While declination of a phase occurs more commonly in the early stages of introduction, they can happen during the dependence stage and beyond as well. At this point there are a number of effects caused when the reef withdraws from the area. Reefer withdrawal has no physical effects on the area other than the fact that it is no longer present. Instead, the effects are seen in the behavior of the reefs inhabitants. The growing scarcity of an available shelter results in paranoia of the fish who fear they could be caught by a predator or other DEA.
- A reef usually has one type of reefer as its main constituent. Each reef has 'its own reefer' which is most common but others can still be present.
- Coral is the false reefer because it is not actually a plant, but a fungi. Any alleged 'coral reef' is not actually a reef at all unless it contains other plant reefers.
- Cannibis culture has a legend of a reef made entirely of marijuana, but a reefer-cannabis connection is incomprehensible and is usually considered to be no more than a fabrication as there is no record of cannabis serving as a secondary reefer.