Matthew Stansbery, Author at Reefs.com

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

Reef Sediment Studied to Create Record of Diversity

rsmas-coral-340x680Researchers from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science have analyzed sediment of deep water reefs ranging from 30-150 meters, in an effort to create a record of ancient biodiversity. Delving into the gunk lead researcher David Weinstein and his team analyzed the sediment of “mesophotic“ coral reef ecosystems, reefs that lack the high levels of light exposure that tropical reefs experience. “Understanding how these important marine ecosystems that we rely on for food and medicines evolved in the past gives us new insight into how to protect them in the future,” said UM Rosenstiel School alumnus and lead author of the study David Weinstein. “The results of this study provide the first analog to understanding how habitat biodiversity in these systems has evolved since the first reef-building ancient ancestors of modern corals.” The research team collected at four different sites including the St. Thomas, U.S.Virgin Islands, as well as two shallower water reef sites and their findings have suggested light tolerant corals and reefs evolved from much deeper, less exposed environments. “The mesophotic reefs of the Virgin Islands are especially vibrant and may contribute to the recovery of shallow reef systems after disturbance,” said Tyler Smith, coauthor of the study and associate research professor at the University of the Virgin Islands.… More:

Synthetic Coral Could Cleanse Oceans

coralPublished earlier this year in the Journal of Colloid a new study from researchers at Anhui Jianzhu University in China has explained how they have adapted coral like structures into nanotechnology that removes mercury from water. Using aluminum oxide Dr. Xianbiao Wang and his scientists have developed nanoplates capable of removing 2.5 times more mercury than traditional nanoparticles designed to achieve the same result. “Adsorption is an easy way to remove pollutants from water, so developing new products that can do this is a big challenge in environmental remediation,” said Dr. Xianbiao Wang, an author from Anhui Jianzhu University. “The chemical and physical structure of such products is very important, it is interesting to design and fabricate adsorbents with different structures to see how they behave. In particular, materials that mimic biological adsorbents like coral have potentially huge applications.”… More:

Central Pacific Reefs Battered by El Nino

151201101504_1_900x600Researchers at the Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences have painted a grim picture for the current status of Pacific ocean reefs. El Nino events are especially high this year and the waters surrounding many reefs are heating up quicker and more extensively than scientist had hoped.
“This El Niño event is driving one of the three largest global scale bleaching events on record,” said Kim Cobb, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Science. “Ocean temperatures exceeded the threshold for healthy corals back in the summer, and are continuing to warm. Bleaching occurs when temperatures exceed a threshold that is function of the amount of warming, as well as the length of time at that temperature.”… More:

Creating Super Coral

Scientists from Hawaii’s Institute for Marine Biology on Coconut Island are tinkering with evolution in an attempt to create “super coral” capable of withstanding the increasing temperatures and acidity of our oceans. When the report was released NOAA coral reef watch coordinator Mark Eakin said “We may be looking at losing somewhere in the range of 10 to 20 percent of the coral reefs this year. Hawaii is getting hit with the worst coral bleaching they have ever seen.” Bleaching events, where coral expel their symbiotic algae, have “intensified and got much more serious,” said Ruth Gates, director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. “Where they once looked for the bleached coral among the healthy, her team is now “looking for the healthy individuals in a sea of pale corals.”  Video courtesy of AP.… More:

WWF Reports on the Status of Our Oceans

On the heels of international climate talks in Paris, the World Wildlife Fund has released a startling review of the status of our oceans titled “Living Blue Planet Report.” The WWF and the Zoological Society of London releases a bi-annual report that details the state of our planets “health” or homeostatic condition, but this report, released just a couple of months ago, has an amplified message, explaining how we as a species have mismanaged our oceans to the extent of imminent collapse. “When I wrote the foreword to the 2014 edition of WWF’s Living Planet Report, I said it was not for the faint-hearted. This edition – a deep dive into the health of marine species and the habitats on which they depend – is equally if not more sobering” explains Marco Lambertini Director General at WWF International.150917095044_1_900x600 Although the report tells a grim tale of our current state, it also spends much time offering solutions and reinforcing our innate ability to create change. “The good news is there are abundant opportunities to reverse these trends,” said Brad Ack, senior vice president for oceans at WWF. “Stopping black market fishing, protecting coral reefs, mangroves and other critical ocean habitats, and striking a deal in Paris to slash carbon pollution are all good for the ocean, the economy, and people. Now is the time for the US and other world players to lead on these important opportunities.” Please follow this link to view the ENTIRE REPORT FOR FREE but if you don’t have time to read the entire study, please review these stunning statements written at the beginning of the paper:… More:

The Candy Shop Presents a Rare Euphyllia

dscf0989-2 Over the years, one type of coral has become a staple in many aquaria, lending a flowing presence and a surprising array of color, but it is a rare occasion two species of the same genus combine to create a truly unique specimen. Hailing from Indonesian waters, and known affectionately in the hobby as a “Frammer,” the distinctive combination of both Euphyllia divisa and Euphyllia ancora offer owners both the nodular protrusions of a frogspawn and the beveled tentacles of a “hammer” (ancora) Euphyllia.… More:

Algae Saves Coral from Crown of Thorns

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A paper published recently has shed some light into the battle against the Crown of Thorns sea star. “You don’t have to see the crown-of-thorns to know they have been on the reef. You can see where they have been because they leave trails of bleached white coral. All they leave behind are the coral skeletons,” says Cody Clements, a Georgia Tech graduate student in Hay’s lab and the paper’s lead author. The Crown of Thorns has been a thorn in the side of reef management for quite some time now, and methods to eradicate the menace have been largely unsuccessful, but this two-year study will allow management teams to incorporate the roles of seaweed into their plans to battle the onslaught of these sea stars.… More:

Sunscreen and Its Effects Upon Coral Reefs

A team of international researchers including professor and diver John Fauth from the University of Southern Florida have battled the sun in a study where they measured the devestating effects of a compound found in commercial Sunscreen, upon coral reefs. “The use of oxybenzone-containing products  needs to be seriously deliberated in islands and areas where coral reef conservation is a critical issue,” Downs said. “We have lost at least 80 percent of the coral reefs in the Caribbean. Any small effort to reduce oxybenzone pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer, or that a degraded area recovers. Everyone wants to build coral nurseries for reef restoration, but this will achieve little if the factors that originally killed off the reef remain or intensify in the environment.”  john-fauth2-548x365Laboratory experiments that exposed coral larvae and cells to increased saturated levels of oxybenzone and conclude both genetic and physical damage was done to both. Larvae exposed to levels similar to those detected in samples collected around reefs were were trapped in their own skeletons, unable to disperse into the water column. The DNA of coral cells was also inhibited or completely destroyed by Oxybenzone causing an an increase in bleaching frequency in seven different types of coral. The team concluded that: “Oxybenzone poses a hazard to coral reef conservation, and threatens the resiliency of coral reefs to climate change.” And that instead of lathering up the lotion we should “Wear rash guards or scuba wetsuits and skip all the hygienic products when you go diving,” added Fauth. “If we could do it for a week at a time, people can certainly forgo it for a few hours to help protect these reefs for our children and their children to see.” Read the abstract and purchase the paper here!… More:


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