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

Cold Water Coral Fusion Documented for First Time

For the first time ever researchers from Scotland and Germany have documented fusion of coral skeletons in cold water coral known as Lophelia pertusa. “Normally it is very hard to see where one coral ends and another begins. But on our dives with JAGO, we were able to find reefs where orange and white types of the coral fused together,” says Dr. Sebastian Hennige of the Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh. “Coming from a tropical coral research background, seeing coral fusing like this instantly grabbed my attention, so we were able to successfully sample some corals for genetic and skeletal tests to prove that fusion happens between different individuals,” added Dr. Hennige. 141030102852 large Cold Water Coral Fusion Documented for First TimeThrough analysis the team was able to determine that this particular type of coral can recognize itself on a species level, fusing together to form the reef, as opposed to batteling for territory like their tropical counterparts. The response of fusion is counterintuitive to what researchers know about tropical species of coral that behave much more aggressively towards invading colonies. “Cold-water corals build their reefs in the dark and are not supported like this. But they seem to have found another way to attain stability,” explains Dr. Armin Form, a marine biologist at GEOMAR and co-author of the paper. “Either the corals actually fuse and form a joint stock, or a branch grows over another one without interference.” Dr. Form: “Given this plasticity [of Lophelia pertusa], we hope that the coral will be able to cope with future climate changes. But we are not sure if they can keep track with the rapid environmental changes we are already experiencing.” Read more here!More:

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Reef Building Corals Responding to Acidification

An international team led by the James Cook University CoralCoE has provided some promising news for corals dealing with rising levels of acidification. “Our aim was to explore the effect of a more acidic ocean on every gene in the coral genome,” adds lead author Dr Aurelie Moya, a molecular ecologist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook. Staghorn corals are known to be the number one reef building species of reefs worldwide and researchers gathered fragments of wild colonies collected from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and subjected them to elevated levels of Co2 in the lab.141203111222 large Reef Building Corals Responding to Acidification  “We found that, whereas 3 days of exposure to high CO2 disrupts formation of the coral skeleton, within nine days the baby corals had re-adjusted their gene expression to pre-exposure levels. Longer exposure seems to be less detrimental to coral health than we had assumed based on shorter-term studies,” states Dr Aurelie Moya, a molecular ecologist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook. “We saw that within a few days juvenile coral adapted to CO2 levels double those experienced today with no obvious disruption to its life processes,” adds study co-author, Professor David Miller, who heads up the molecular biology group at CoralCoE. Read more here!

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Reef Shark Resists Climate Change

In more promising news about climate change, one species of reef shark can exhibit a physiological adjustment to the rise in CO2 levels associated with ocean acidification. The epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) has been studied before exhibiting a tolerance to low levels of oxygen in the water (hypoxia) and this discovery adds to the resilience of yet another reef inhabitant. 141015101539 large Reef Shark Resists Climate ChangeDr. Jodie Rummer, co-author on the paper says, “Investigating animals that are already experiencing challenging conditions in their environment may help us understand which species will fare well under future climate change conditions. Although the epaulette shark is not an apex predator, it plays an important role in balancing food webs and the overall health of coral reef ecosystems. The next obvious step is to examine predator species that live in the open ocean, as they may be more susceptible to future ocean acidification conditions.” Read more here!More:

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One Coral May Benefit from Climate Change

In another positive spin on climate change, researchers from North­eastern University’s Marine Sci­ence Center and the Uni­ver­sity of North Car­olina at Chapel Hill have discovered one species of coral that can actually benefit from a rise in ocean acidification. The amount of change that would typ­i­cally occur in about 10 mil­lion years is being con­densed into a 300-​​year period,” Co-author and associate professor at Northeastern Justin Ries says. “It’s not the just the mag­ni­tude of the change that mat­ters to the organ­isms, but how quickly it is occurring.” siderastrea siderea01 One Coral May Benefit from Climate Change Sideras­trea siderea courtesy of coralpedia.bio.warwick.ac.ukThe study showed that this species of coral (Sideras­trea siderea) exhib­ited a peaked or par­a­bolic response to both warming and acid­i­fi­ca­tion, that is, mod­erate acid­i­fi­ca­tion and warming actu­ally enhanced coral cal­ci­fi­ca­tion, with only extreme warming and acid­i­fi­ca­tion neg­a­tively impacting the corals. This was sur­prising given that most studies have shown that corals exhibit a more neg­a­tive response to even mod­erate acidification. Ries added. Acid­i­fi­ca­tion of the sur­rounding sea­water is cer­tainly impor­tant for marine organ­isms, but what is equally as impor­tant — per­haps even more impor­tant — is how the chem­istry of their internal cal­ci­fying fluid responds to these changes in sea­water chem­istry.” Read more here!More:

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Caribbean Gorgonians Lend Insight into Coral Bleaching

Along with an international team, researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science simulated the impacts of elevated CO2 levels (and associated decrease in PH aka ocean acidification) on the calcification rates of Eunica fusca, a species of soft coral known as gorgonians. 141208145751 large Caribbean Gorgonians Lend Insight into Coral Bleaching
Ranging through the Caribbean from the Gulf of Mexico, to the Bahamas, frags of Eunica fusca were collected and subjected to mid and high levels of CO2 concentration allowing researchers to “suggest that gorgonian coral may be more resilient than other reef-dwelling species to the ocean acidification changes that are expected to occur in the oceans as a result of climate change,” said Chris Langdon, UM Rosenstiel Professor and Director of the Coral Reefs and Climate Change Laboratory. “These findings will allow us to better predict the future composition of coral reef communities under the current “business-as-usual scenario” added Professor Langdon. Read more here!
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Pod of Sperm Whales Found Beached

A mystery is unfolding on the shores of Ardrossan, Australia where a pod of seven Sperm Whales was found beached this Monday. Something of a rare occurrence, the beaching of whales rarely has any explanation and this case is no different. Dr. Deborah Kelly, an animal welfare managing the case stated “I haven’t seen a marine event like this in South Australia since the mass stranding of 58 dolphins at Nepean Bay in the 1990s.” The Department of Environment is considering options for removal of the carcasses adding “It’s a very big logistical task.” Read more and check out the video hereSeven dead whales Pod of Sperm Whales Found BeachedMore:

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CT Coral Scans Highlight Ocean Acidification

Research from the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), based at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa (UHM), has highlighted another damaging effect of rising ocean acidity. “It was surprising to discover that small-scale changes in the environment can influence ecosystem-level reef processes,” said Nyssa Silbiger, lead author of the study and doctoral candidate at HIMB. “We saw changes in pH on the order of meters and those small pH changes drove the patterns in reef accretion-erosion.” The noted increase in erosion has scientists battling two fronts in the understanding of the accretion vs erosion balance of reefs. Read more here.141124180121 large CT Coral Scans Highlight Ocean AcidificationMore:

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Neptunes Cove Boasts Rainbow Carpet Nem

RainbowCarpetAnemone14b1 Neptunes Cove Boasts Rainbow Carpet Nem
Lately we have seen a surge in our hobby through avenues such as facebook and instagram. Communities within mediums like facebook are growing, and pages are created with their own regional attachments and colorful groups of people. Instagram is showcasing the latest and greatest coral imported through an instant feed, and the days of sifting through page after page to view comments or pictures are quickly disappearing. Everyday it seems the newest, biggest and baddest, coral hits the market and its no wonder why vendors are gravitating towards these mediums. With that said Im going to my best to bring you the latest and greatest in the “For Sale” worlds slowly being crafted here on the internet. For our first showcase were featuring a “Rainbow Carpet Anemone” from the retailer Neptune’s Cove. This thing is one of the most righteous nems ever imported and I can only imagine how it gleamed in person. Enjoy the eye candy because this beautiful specimen sold promptly for $1600 shipped.… More:

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