Author Archives: Matthew Stansbery

Matthew Stansbery

About Matthew Stansbery

With 12+ years of experience, from import to export and everything in between, I have the pleasure of calling this hobby my own.
Latest Posts

Deepwater Pigments of The Red Sea

Together with an international team of researchers, divers from the University of Southampton, UK, Tel Aviv University and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences (IUI), Israel have found a colorful range of pigments in coral more than 50 meters below the surface of Red Sea reefs. Since only blue wavelengths from the sun reach coral at depths past 50 meters, the team was surprised to find specimens exhibiting pigments such as red and yellow. Jörg Wiedenmann, Professor of Biological Oceanography and head of the University of Southampton’s Coral Reef Laboratory, explains: “These fluorescent pigments are proteins. When they are illuminated with blue or ultraviolet light, they give back light of longer wavelengths, such as reds or greens.” 150624143152_1_900x600Dr Cecilia D’Angelo, Senior Research Fellow at Southampton sees a future for coral pigment use in industries such as biomedical adding: “We found, however, that some of the pigments of these corals require violet light to switch from their nascent green color to the red hue of the mature pigment. This is a particularly interesting property to develop markers for advanced microscopic imaging applications. Their optical properties potentially make them important tools for biomedical imaging applications, as their fluorescent glow can be used to highlight living cells or cellular structures of interest under the microscope. They could also be applied to track cancer cells or as tools to screen for new drugs.” Read more here!  … More:

Spawning Frequency Regulates Reef Diversity

Reachers from Miami’s University of Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science have been simulating and studying reproductive strategies of three reef species to better understand the relationship between larvae dispersal and diversity within reefs. The universities own Connectivity Modeling System was used to track larval movements in a simulated reef environment of the Caribbean sea plume (Anthiellogorgia elisebeathae), the bicolor damselfish (Stegastes partitus) and the Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus).   new_study_shows_425“We found that the rate at which a species spawn drives the relatedness between distant populations,” said Claire Paris, associate professor of ocean sciences at UM. “Therefore more frequent spawning is more likely to stabilize the connectivity network.” “There is tremendous variability in how often reef animals reproduce and release eggs and larvae, yet they all find their way to coral reefs,” said Andrew Kough, UM Rosenstiel School alumnus and lead author of the study. “Our study explored how changes in reproductive frequency shape an animal’s connectivity network.” Read more here!… More:

54 Stingrays Die at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo

Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo is trying to figure out what may have caused a drop in oxygen that killed four Southern stingrays and 50 Cownose stingrays last Friday. Emergency notifications from the system that monitors oxygen and ozone levels went out around 1:45pm on Friday and a manager was onsite within minutes. The rays were located in a shallow touch pond style pool so immediate efforts were made to increase the oxygen levels with the use of oxygen pumps and submersible air lines. The senior vice president of animal programs for the Chicago Zoological Society that operates the zoo comments: “We are devastated by the tragic loss of these animals. Our staff did everything possible to try and save the animals, but the situation could not be reversed.” chi-ct-cownose-ray-photo-20150712Each stingray loss on Friday was bred in captivity yet the exhibit has encountered equipment failures in the past resulting in the loss of rays. “We had a malfunction of a different type back in 2008. It was a water temperature increase, and the exhibit temperature increased by about 10 degrees, and we lost about 16 stingrays in that,” added spokeswoman Sondra Katzen. Read more here.… More:

Mapping the Intrinsic Risk of Marine Species

The Journal of Science recently published a paper from the University of California at Berkeley where fossils were studied to help predict which marine species were now at the greatest risk for extinction.”Marine species are under threat from human impacts, but knowledge of their vulnerabilities is limited,” says study co-author, Professor John Pandolfi from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at the University of Queensland. Using fossils to better understand the inherent risk some species have to coastal threats such as human presence, the team was able to map the extinction patterns of marine species. 150430144955_1_540x360“We used these estimates to map natural extinction risk in modern oceans, and compare it with recent human pressures on the ocean such as fishing, and climate change to identify the areas most at risk,” says Professor Pandolfi. Protecting modern species from extinction is the number one goal yet some species have an intrinsic risk of extinction so the teams goal “was to diagnose which species are vulnerable in the modern world, using the past as a guide” says study lead author, Assistant Professor Seth Finnegan from the University of California Berkeley. “We believe the past can inform the way we plan our conservation efforts. However there is a lot more work that needs to be done to understand the causes underlying these patterns and their policy implications,” says Asst. Professor, Seth Finnegan Read more here!… More:

Chromis Make Gender Adjustments to Combat Global Warming

A new study from the University of Sydney Australia has found that the Spiny Chromis reef fish can manipulate the gender of their offspring to combat the gender bias created by increasing ocean temperatures. “The research findings are significant because global warming poses a threat to species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), such as reptiles and fish, potentially skewing the sex-ratio of offspring and, consequently, breeding individuals in a population,”said lead author and UTS Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Jennifer Donelson. “A reduction in the proportion of females in the population could be especially damaging because population growth rate is often constrained by female fertility.” A-poly-rubble-copy_0The understanding of how prenatal gender adjustments can be made is a bit of a mystery to scientists but the findings certainly add to the hope that ecosystems will adapt to the changes occurring all over the globe. “Just precisely how our study species, the Spiny Chromis coral reef fish, engineer these amazing adjustments is unknown and is something we are now investigating. What we do know however is that oceans are warming and emerging research is showing the importance of transgenerational plasticity in reducing the negative impacts of climate change on species with TSD.” Read more here!… More:

The Return of Fish Aid in Reef Recovery

Overfishing is one key impact to the decline of coral reefs worldwide and a new study performed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, James Cook University, and The Australian Institute of Marine Science shows just how important fish are to the recovery of areas affected by coastal threats such as overfishing. “Reef fish play a range of important roles in the functioning of coral reef ecosystems, for example by grazing algae and controlling coral-eating invertebrates, that help to maintain the ecosystem as a whole,” said coauthor Nick Graham of James Cook University. 150408131333_1_900x600“By linking fisheries to ecology, we can now make informed statements about ecosystem function at a given level of fish biomass.” Coastal threats such as overfishing have long been adapted to antiquated techniques so the results of this study will improve efficiency for both reef and fishermen. “The finding that gear restrictions, species selection or local customs can also contribute to fish population recovery is compelling. It demonstrates that managers can use a range of different management strategies in areas where it may not be culturally feasible to establish permanent marine reserves,” said coauthor Stacy Jupiter, WCS Melanesia Program Director. Check out the key findings here!… More:

Coastal Activities Making it Harder for Fish to Breathe

New research out of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University finds that the impacts of human activities like dredging are making it harder for fish to breathe, and are likely increasing the rates of gill disease amongst coastal reef fish. “Fish gills are in direct contact with their environment and are the first line of defense in the animal’s immune response, which makes them the perfect place to look for damage associated with sediment,” adds co-author of the study Dr Jodie Rummer. 150616093642_1_900x600“Suspended sediments result from flood plumes, coastal agricultural and industrial development and from dredging operations and are increasing in coastal waters worldwide,” says co-author, Dr Amelia Wenger. The study simulated sediment accumulation in the lab and subjected clown fish larvae to increased levels, and what they found might be some what of a duality. “The gills in sediment-exposed larval clownfish fish were congested, exhibiting twice as much mucous of what could be found in clean-water exposed fish,” says study lead author, PhD Student Sybille Hess. Yet Rummer added that”Sediment-exposed fish also increased the number of protective cells on their gills, presumably safeguarding the delicate tissue from the damage that sediment particles could cause.” The findings could mean fish are adapting to the elevated levels of sediment but they most definitely underscore the increased need for awareness as it relates to coastal impacts like dredging and agricultural runoff. Read more here.… More:

Football Takes a Hit from The Mantis Shrimp

Researchers from the University of Riverside are studying the internal bone structure of Mantis Shrimp in an effort to reduce the damaging effects of head trauma associated with American Football. Within the dactyl forearms of the Mantis a spiral structure of bone material called chitin is specific, and this formation allows for the buffering of damaging elastic waves such as shear waves, through its forearms. “This is a novel concept,” said David Kisailus, the Winston Chung Endowed Professor in Energy Innovation at UC Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering. 150617144502_1_540x360Researchers will attempt to apply the architecture of mantis shrimp arms to products such as football helmets and body pads: “It implies that we can make composite materials able to filter certain stress waves that would otherwise damage the material.” “The smasher mantis shrimp will hit many times per day. It is amazing,” said Pablo Zavattieri, an associate professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and a University Faculty Scholar at Purdue University. Read more here!  … More:

Reefs.com is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.