Category Archives: Corals

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Palythoas with Two Mouths

tiny edited 2 Palythoas with Two Mouths
For most of us who have kept Palythoa, we know they can grow at awesome speeds. Normally, they produce babies at the foot or the base of the animal, but I have occasionally marveled at a rare occurrence of the polyps splitting in two, right through the mouth of the polyp. These polyps will have two mouths for quite some time before splitting into two completely separate polyps. The last one I observed in my tank took about 8 months to completely divide. During that time, growth on the colony as a whole slowed. Could this be a sign of a slower discarded method of reproduction? I’m not really sure, but this process is one that I keep an eye on every time I spot it happening in my tank.… More:

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Reef Aquarium Tridacna Clams – maxima, crocea, squamosa, and gigas

Reef Aquarium Tridacna Clams – maxima, crocea, squamosa, and gigas Overview of Reef Aquarium Tridacna Clams – maxima, crocea, squamosa, and gigas Giant clams of the Genus Tridacna are a popular mollusk in reef aquariums. Check out http://www.tidalgardens.com ... From: tidalgardens Views: 0 0 ratingsTime: 06:41 More in Pets & Animals
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Deep Sea Stars, Linckia sp. Echinoderms

Good afternoon one and all, sorry about the late post but I have been in the deep-water labs all morning photographing a bunch of new specimens found by the Smithsonian Institution on their submersible dive yesterday. I spent the morning shooting a juvenile four inch toadfish found at around 800 feet, a beautiful hermit crab, two more slit-shells and this giant 12 inch tall sea star you see above. We think this is a Linckia sp. but until we know for sure I will just say “don’t quote me on that”. Unlike brittle stars that are so fragile and can move so fast, this sea star is hard and moves super slow
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Reef Threads Podcast #210


A fun photo from the Captive Aquatic Ecosystems website

This week our guest is Ben Johnson, owner of Captive Aquatic Ecosystems in Houston. Ben fills the show with stories about how he got into this hobby and started his aquarium setup/maintenance business. We hope you enjoy this look into another aspect of the hobby. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Ben’s Website
Captive Aquatic Ecosystems

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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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Picture of the Week, Glowing Zoanthid Colony

We don’t know what they’re called, and frankly, we don’t care what they’re called. These are some amazing zoanthids, regardless of their given trade name, and their colors are popping right out of the screen. We spied this awesome colony at a local frag swap, hypnotizing us under the blue glow of one of the vendors at the show. The coral features some sharply contrasting colors, including a neon green mouth surrounded by a dark center, a neon pink ring, another dark section, and tentacles tipped in neon green. The alternating colors, coupled with the utter vibrancy of the neons make this a nice piece of eye candy.
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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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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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