Category Archives: Conservation

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NEW Fish ID App

credit: reef.org

credit: reef.org

Chelsea Harms Tuohy and Evan Tuohy are building an exciting new Caribbean fish id and survey app for iPad and Android tablets. They realized that during the first few dives, students find it difficult to differentiate between species, and so often miss out on many other fish, resulting in inaccurate counts and a lot of frustration. This app will include a “Reference Mode” which provides information about each species, and a “Survey Mode” which uses fish illustrations to identify species. The software will also keep a count of the species observed per study and provide a report. The name and final product are scheduled to be released in late 2015. The grad students are currently looking for funding for this project, and plan to run a pilot with universities and environmental institutions.  To find out how you can get involved, visit www.experiment.com/fishidMore:

Deepwater Coral Reef Discovered off Coast of Ireland

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The deep sea biome is said to be less understood and less explored than the Moon. Nearly any serious expedition into deep sea ecosystems reveals new species, or even entirely new habitats. Often, these notoriously slow-growing biological communities are thought to be extraordinary simply on the basis of their size and structural complexity. Such was the case with the discovery of a large, coldwater coral reef off of the Irish coast. While scanning the seafloor along the route of the… More:

Irish Team ROV Images New Coldwater ‘Reef’

A new coldwater coral habitat has been discovered on a submerged cliff face almost 1km below the sea surface by Irish marine scientists. Operating at around 300km off the Kerry coastline, the research team onboard the Marine Institute’s research vessel MV Celtic Explorer were mapping some previously unconfirmed reefs on the edge of the Porcupine Bank canyon, using the Holland I remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Initially capturing images of a ‘blizzard’ of organic-rich particles flushing down the canyon, the ROV then moved closer to reveal a vertical cliff face habitat carpeted by coldwater coral and other marine life, including sponges, crabs and fish. University College Cork (UCC) scientist Prof Andy Wheeler explains, “The Porcupine Bank has 500km of cliff habitat at this water depth. Corals were found between 900 and 700 metres water depth,” This could double the amount of coral habitat already believed to be in the area, which is a designated special area of conservation. University of Ulster scientist Dr Chris McGonigle noted that the quality of data which the State’s research vessel and its ROV can collect is “phenomenal”.

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:

Long Island Collecting Log: The next wave has arrived

Spotfin and tangsLast week I reported on the arrival of the first tropical fishes of the year to appear in Long Island waters after a seining trip at Fire Island inlet turned up a filefish, groupers, and northern sennets. This week I am happy to announce that the next wave has arrived.… More:

MASNA 2015 Membership Drive – special prize!

The largest non-profit organization of marine aquarium hobbyists and clubs has begun its 2015 membership drive.  Every individual or family that joins during the month of June will be entered into a drawing to win a TUNZE  Universal Osmolator model 3155, which has been generously donated by the world-renowned company. tunze osmolatorIn addition, $5 of each new and renewed membership will go towards the Gary Meadows Reef Fund.  MASNA scholarship applications are due by June 19 – http://masna.org/masna-programs/scholarship-program/ . So join or renew today; help encourage the ethical and true growth of the marine aquarium hobby, support captive breeding and propagation efforts, and maybe even win a TUNZE Osmolator! For more information, go to : http://masna.org/More:

New Symbiont Invades Caribbean Coral Reefs

A non-native symbiont to live coral (Symbiodinium trenchii) is slowly invading the Caribbean reefs making it harder for corals to calcify, yet protecting against the warmer waters created by climate change. This non-native micro-algae hails from the Indo-Pacific but its presence on Caribbean reefs is a bit of a conundrum as “the results raise a potentially contentious issue about whether this invasion is relatively good or bad for the long-term productivity of reef corals in the Atlantic Ocean and the ecosystems they support,” said Todd LaJeunesse, associate professor of biology, Penn State. 150601172829_1_900x600The presence of a new species of symbiont in Caribbean waters has researchers wondering when the introduction first occurred: “We found that the Caribbean population of S. trenchii contains very little genetic diversity and is highly inbred,” said Tye Pettay postdoctoral fellow at the University of Delaware. “In contrast, S. trenchii in the Indian and Pacific oceans is extremely diverse and contains far more genetic diversity on a single reef the size of a football field than it does in the entire Caribbean Sea. Our evidence indicates that the introduction of S. trenchii to the Caribbean was relatively recent. There has been no time for it to evolve any novel genetic diversity.” Read more here!… More:

Genetic Diversity within Coral Colonies

A surprising conclusion was made by the Ruhr-Universität of Germany regarding the genetic diversity within a coral colony. Researchers found that genetically diverse polyps where living harmoniously within the same coral structure by studying five different species of coral and over 222 coral colonies. “However, this doesn’t mean we should expect that this variability can compensate for corals dying worldwide due to climate change,” says Maximilian Schweinsberg from the Department of Animal Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity at Ruhr-Universität. 150610093000_1_540x360“The ongoing climate change and the environmental change resulting thereof have an increasingly severe impact on coral reefs,” explains Schweinsberg. Biologists were able to find that within stony reef-building corals genetically diverse coral polyps can actually assist lesser adapted polyps in growth and metabolism activities, adding to their adaptability and possibly aiding in their survival rates. Read more here!… More:

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