Category Archives: Conservation

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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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‘Coral Therapy’ by Coral Morphologic

reefs.comCoralMorphologicDesignMiami 300x200 Coral Therapy by Coral MorphologicCoral Morphologic is at it again in this time premiering their new film in a custom designed room at DesignMiami/ 2014. They’ve taken it to the next level making this film viewable on the Oculus Rift lending a 360° virtual reality experience to visitors. The room alone would be something to experience, and I have to imagine the film they created is nothing short of amazing.… More:

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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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New Approach for MPA’s

With the lists of “threatened” and “endangered” coral species being increased every year, this paper sheds light onto a presumptuous problem guiding reef research. Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies want to take a proactive approach towards maintaining reef ecosystems, and steer away from the perceived threat of extinction, currently defined by a small geographic range and small numbers of a given species. But without truly knowing how many exist, and on what reef, the “extinction threat” approach has been antiquated by this paper.  “Extinction is the final endpoint, but coral reefs are in deep trouble long before we get to that point. We need to take action much earlier, the goal should be to maintain reefs that can support corals, fish and humans.” says Professor David Bellwood from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University. 141117111738 large New Approach for MPAs“Our findings call into question the growing practice of assessing extinction risk of coral reef species without knowing how many of them are out there,” says Professor Hughes. This is the first study to systematically count corals and reef fishes at a geographic scale.” says professor Terry Hughes of Coral CoE. With the ever-present fear of coral species being labeled as endangered or threatened, professor Bellwood concludes: “This paper calls for caution when identifying species at risk of extinction on coral reefs. It highlights the potential weaknesses in current approaches and offers an alternative approach where species are valued for the services they provide for both reefs and humans.” Read more hereMore:

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Researchers Study Virus Which May Be The Cause Of Starfish Wasting Syndrome

seastar Researchers Study Virus Which May Be The Cause Of Starfish Wasting SyndromeI’ve been sadly following the Starfish Wasting Syndrome since it started shocking researchers and scientists with alarming rates of starfish mutilation and deaths since 2013. Scientists first starting noticing the disease along the North American West Coast. The degenerating disease is devastating starfish populations and scientists couldn’t figure out why. Although the disease has been present sine the 1970′s, never have soo many starfish been affected at one time. When the disease affected starfish in aquariums, scientists were able to better understand the root. By analyzing the DNA of infected and healthy starfish of different species, scientists found the virus SSaDV was most usually present in both the healthy and unhealthy starfish.… More:

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Researchers Focus On Sand Shark Propagation

animals SandTigerShark slide2 web Researchers Focus On Sand Shark PropagationSand Tiger Sharks look fierce, they are the quintessential, stereotypical ‘man-eater shark’ with their jagged, razor sharp teeth protruding out of their mouth. Basically, the ticket item many aquarium visitors expect to see in exhibits.. As such, they are a popular exhibit animal in large public aquarium tanks. There are approximately 200 sand tiger sharks on exhibit in public aquariums and zoo’s in America. Although they look scary, they are relatively docile sharks that are easy to care for in captivity. However, Sand sharks in captivity do not breed easily, since the environment in captivity does not mimic the seasons and changes in the wild. Sand shark population in the wild is at low levels because of fishing nets and shark fin poaching, and the slow maturing reproduction in the species.… More:

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Taming The Wild Tuna

Greenpeace bluefin tuna Taming The Wild TunaGlobal appetite for Tuna has increased tremendously over the last few decades. As such, along with the rapid surge in consumption has also included alarming decline in wild tuna species. There was a time when farming of tuna was considered impossible. Luckily that is no longer the case. In 2012, farmed fish accounted for over 42 percent of total global output, nearly tripling since the 13.4 percent in 1990.The Pacific Blue Fin Tuna, weighing up to 900 lbs and traveling so fast they can cover crazy distances in short times, seems to defy the principle of farm raised fish.Blue Fin Tuna is known as ‘Porsche of the Sea’, for its ultra desired status.… More:

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