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Anemone Propagation

bubble tip
Propagating anemones can be easy and quite rewarding.  While many of these animals eventually split on their own, the process can be sped up with some careful cutting and tender loving care.  The group pictured above was grown from a single bubble tip anemone over the course of a few months.  I cut the large brood stock animal with a scalpel into 6 pizza-shaped slices, being careful to include a portion of the mouth, base, and pedal disc in each fragment, and all 6 survived and grew into healthy clones of the original.  Starting with a large specimen that is in optimal health and using a very sharp instrument is essential.  Once the cuts are made, the animals should be returned into the same aquarium the mother lived in to reduce shock, and after a few weeks the cut specimens begin to take a normal shape and accept feedings.  Feeding meaty foods such as mysis or table shrimp a couple times a week will optimize growth and maintain good health while the animals heal.  Some anemones fare better than others with this process and the captive grown RBTA seem to do the best. As your experience with propagating anemones increases, so will your success, and the reward is well worth the work.

The First Direct Observations of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Induced Changes to Earth’s Radiative Budget

Climate change and warming of sea surface temperatures are among the most oft-cited threats to coral reef ecosystems as they currently exist.

Despite the preponderance of scientific work on the issue, many, including even perhaps some in this hobby, deny most if not all of our current understanding of human contributions to global warming. That human contribution is primarily through an increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Since carbon dioxide absorbs and re-emits infrared radiation that would otherwise be lost from Earth to space, in order to maintain a radiative “balance”, or equilibrium, the surface temperature of the Earth must increase. Now, in principle this is not in the least bit controversial. Humans emit carbon dioxide, which has an extremely long residence time in the atmosphere, and the Earth is radiatively imbalanced until a corresponding increase in global mean temperature occurs.

Keeling Curve

However, reminiscent of tetra-ethyl lead and smoking-cancer linkage discussions of times past, many folks remain hard at work to maintain a public perception that correlation is not causation: essentially many  attempts at a “death by a thousand cuts” of logical fallacy. Unfortunately, the momentum of this misinformation lobby has gotten to the point where, to paraphrase Prof. Andrew Dessler’s reaction to the new findings discussed below, it has become necessary to provide something analogous to dropping a rock and watching it fall in order to demonstrate to audiences that gravity is real.

That rock dropped in a monumental way this week in the journal Nature.

Feldman et al. have used Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometry in both the Southern Great Plains and the Northern Slope of Alaska to explicitly detect the impact of rising carbon dioxide on the amount of longwave, infrared radiation that is returned to the Earth’s surface, instead of being lost into space. The instrument utilized is capable of measuring returning infrared radiation that is emitted by individual types of greenhouses gases. In other words, it is capable of distinguishing returning radiation of carbon dioxide from other well known greenhouse gas molecules such as methane and water vapor.

Extended Figure 1 from Feldman et al. [2015]

What was found is that from between 2000-2010, a highly significant trend of increasing carbon dioxide-emitted infrared radiation returned to Earth’s surface, from a 22 ppm increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Additionally, the energy changes documented are highly consistent with previous work estimating the radiative forcing of carbon dioxide. At the end of the day, this should all but silence any skepticism regarding our knowledge that an increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere also directly increases the amount of infrared, heat energy being returned to Earth’s surface.

To put it bluntly, there is now less supporting evidence of a direct, causative link between smoking and lung cancer than there is for the theory that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions leading to an increase in heat being returned to the Earth’s surface via the greenhouse effect. Let that sink in.

Reference: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature14240.html

Fincasters Episode 59: Keeping Rock Anemones

 Rock Anemones come from the Florida Keys in a huge variety of colors. They are easy to keep, fun to feed and add a lot of color at relatively low cost. In this Fincast John interviews an More: Fincasters Episode 59 Keeping Rock Anemones

Aquaponics Fast Becoming A Preferred Method of Cannabis Cultivation

Photo by Ryan Griffis. CC by

Photo by Ryan Griffis. CC by

 Aquaponics is pretty simple in concept. Imagine an aquarium that is plumbed into a hydroponic system; fish wastes are mineralized by microbes and ultimately utilized by the plants as nutrients. Technically speaking, even a mangrove propagule stuck in the back of an overflow box is aquaponic. The benefits of this type of cultivation are significant. A major attraction for some growers is the ease with which the highly intensive method can be practiced organically. The taste of aquaponic foods (unlike that of hydroponicially grown foods) is said to be as good as its soil grown counterpart. Because there is no soil, pests are far easier to prevent and control. Aquaponics also dramatically reduces MORE

Red Hind, Cleaner Fish, Epinephelus guttatus

Good morning from Curacao, how was your weekend out there?? We finally got a few little rain showers but to be honest it didn’t do much!! On my three hour mountain bike ride Sunday morning I was pretty shocked at how dry the island is looking, I hate the thought of another year of drought conditions! We found yet another bird (big pigeon) in need last night over at our neighbors house, it was just sitting on the steps and not moving very much. I watched for awhile from a distance and then towards dark went to check on him again and he was still there. I calmly walked up the steps, he didn’t move so I picked him up and took him home, he seems to have a bad foot or something, will take him to the vet on Wednesday MORE

Famed ‘Shark Lady’ Eugenie Clark Died Wednesday

eugenie Eugenie Clark passed away at 92 in Sarasota, Florida on Wednesday. Clark’s extensive research on sharks earned her the nickname ‘shark lady’. From 1950 onward, she worked to dispel the public’s fear and the myths surrounding sharks. Her achievements to the marine world were outstanding.eugenie She wrote dozens of articles for National Geographic. She discovered sleeping sharks in Mexico, which changed science view at the time that Sharks need to keep moving to stay alive. MORE

Reef Aquarium Hitchhikers: The Gall of These Parasitic Crabs!

Gall crab outside its burrow in Cyphastrea serailia (Photo credit: Van der Meij)We have all heard the oft-repeated warning to “dip before you trip.” We are told by many sources online to dip any corals we receive in order to eliminate pests. Most of the time, pests come in the form of hitchhiking nudibranchs that can mow down zoas and other soft coral colonies. Then you have the flatworm family, which is so broad that it’s hard to single out a species unless you have a microscope. There are also larger hitchhiking pests we can see without the use of a scientific lab. For example, there are the beautiful Aiptasia and majano anemones that will sting your newfound friends to no end. But I’d like to talk about an interesting group of hitchhikers in the crab family, and one nasty one in particular: the gall crab.Gall crabs are largely unknown to many an untrained eye and reefer, as they are not as abundant in reef systems as other hitchhiking crabs, such as gorillas, emeralds, or decorator crabs. The problem with these crabs is they are parasitic to corals, especially hard corals like Trachyphyllia (brain coral) and members of the Faviidae family, such as Platygyra daedalea MORE

Taking a look in the mirror…

Obama family arrives at US Capitol prior to inauguration swear-in“If you’re looking for someone to blame, you need only look in the mirror.” It’s a common slogan, used to illustrate the reality that we all take part in many of the problems that exist in the world today. Our gluttonous consumption of fossil fuels, seemingly insatiable appetite for seafood and use of petrol products such as plastic, have pushed the environment into a state of fast decline. Here in Maryland many home owners stand in stark opposition to hydraulic fracking, but like an addict seeking a fix, we continue to fill massive tanks full of liquid propane, natural gas and oil – so that our homes can remain a comfortable 70 degrees during winter, without the extended effort of maintaining a fire (which would also release hydrocarbons into the atmosphere). Some become offended at the thought that they play a role in environmental decline, others accept this reality and hope that small changes may contribute to a sea change of thought and practice. In many ways, simply being a human being in the modern world, guarantees that a footprint of some form will be left upon the Earth. Many of us try to balance that scale by contributing more good to the world around us, than bad. As we face ESA regulations, a reality that has sent the marine aquarium industry into an uproar, how does the statement above factor into the events that have led here. There are many factors leading up to possible no-take, no-keep regulations. One being that the endangered species act is being used as a tool to combat climate change. Without adequate measures to curb and control climate change, organizations like the Center for Biodiversity are pointing at individual species to be preserved, when a changing climate is the primary stressor placed upon them. Are individual aquarists in some way responsible for our current predicament?  MORE

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