Category Archives: Corals

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Coral Letters

coral lettersTwo years ago, Barry and Aimee Brown began photographing “hidden” letters in the brain coral colonies around Curacao, the Caribbean island where they live. Their hunt, which sometimes took them as deep as 100 feet, gave them an even better understanding of the devastation shallow-growing brain coral have experienced from bleaching and recent strong storms. You can download the full set of letters for free here as a zip file. The photographers only ask that you give them credit and that you don’t use the work commercially.… More:

Mapping the Intrinsic Risk of Marine Species

The Journal of Science recently published a paper from the University of California at Berkeley where fossils were studied to help predict which marine species were now at the greatest risk for extinction.”Marine species are under threat from human impacts, but knowledge of their vulnerabilities is limited,” says study co-author, Professor John Pandolfi from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at the University of Queensland. Using fossils to better understand the inherent risk some species have to coastal threats such as human presence, the team was able to map the extinction patterns of marine species. 150430144955_1_540x360“We used these estimates to map natural extinction risk in modern oceans, and compare it with recent human pressures on the ocean such as fishing, and climate change to identify the areas most at risk,” says Professor Pandolfi. Protecting modern species from extinction is the number one goal yet some species have an intrinsic rick of extinction so the teams goal “was to diagnose which species are vulnerable in the modern world, using the past as a guide” says study lead author, Assistant Professor Seth Finnegan from the University of California Berkeley. “We believe the past can inform the way we plan our conservation efforts. However there is a lot more work that needs to be done to understand the causes underlying these patterns and their policy implications,” says Asst. Professor, Seth Finnegan Read more here!… More:

Chromis Make Gender Adjustments to Combat Global Warming

A new study from the University of Sydney Australia has found that the Spiny Chromis reef fish can manipulate the gender of their offspring to combat the gender bias created by increasing ocean temperatures. “The research findings are significant because global warming poses a threat to species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), such as reptiles and fish, potentially skewing the sex-ratio of offspring and, consequently, breeding individuals in a population,”said lead author and UTS Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Jennifer Donelson. “A reduction in the proportion of females in the population could be especially damaging because population growth rate is often constrained by female fertility.” A-poly-rubble-copy_0The understanding of how prenatal gender adjustments can be made is a bit of a mystery to scientists but the findings certainly add to the hope that ecosystems will adapt to the changes occurring all over the globe. “Just precisely how our study species, the Spiny Chromis coral reef fish, engineer these amazing adjustments is unknown and is something we are now investigating. What we do know however is that oceans are warming and emerging research is showing the importance of transgenerational plasticity in reducing the negative impacts of climate change on species with TSD.” Read more here!… More:

The Return of Fish Aid in Reef Recovery

Overfishing is one key impact to the decline of coral reefs worldwide and a new study performed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, James Cook University, and The Australian Institute of Marine Science shows just how important fish are to the recovery of areas affected by coastal threats such as overfishing. “Reef fish play a range of important roles in the functioning of coral reef ecosystems, for example by grazing algae and controlling coral-eating invertebrates, that help to maintain the ecosystem as a whole,” said coauthor Nick Graham of James Cook University. 150408131333_1_900x600“By linking fisheries to ecology, we can now make informed statements about ecosystem function at a given level of fish biomass.” Coastal threats such as overfishing have long been adapted to antiquated techniques so the results of this study will improve efficiency for both reef and fishermen. “The finding that gear restrictions, species selection or local customs can also contribute to fish population recovery is compelling. It demonstrates that managers can use a range of different management strategies in areas where it may not be culturally feasible to establish permanent marine reserves,” said coauthor Stacy Jupiter, WCS Melanesia Program Director. Check out the key findings here!… More:

Joe’s Milka Stylo Insta-Colony

A beautiful combination of colorful SPS in Joe Yaiullo's 20,000 gallon aquarium

A beautiful combination of colorful SPS in Joe Yaiullo’s 20,000 gallon aquarium

 It’s easy to get lost for hours just staring into Joe Yaiullo’s massive aquarium. One new addition to the tank is a very large Purple Milka Stylophora Colony. It would be easy to think that the green and purple colonies have been growing there for the same length of time. But in actuality,  the green Stylo had been growing there for years, while the Milka has only been in place for barely more than a year. … More:

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:

Mating Pair Slender Filefish

Good morning from Curacao! Sorry for the lack of blogs these past few days but we had another three day weekend due to another holiday and I was no where near my computer. Yesterday was “Kings Day”, one of the biggest holidays of the year, and NO Curacao does not have a King but the Netherlands does. Kings Day is the Kings birthday and is celebrated with everyone wearing orange, (the Netherlands national colors), wild non-stop parties and live events all day long, I stayed home! I have two Slender Filefish for you all today in their pre-mating mode

Reefing from Afar, Part 4: The Wong Solution

The last article discussed some of the quick and simple ways to take care of your reef while being away for just a short period of time. Due to my work responsibilities, which require travel around the world for two- to three-week periods at a time, I need as much automation as possible and confidence in the solutions I choose.Here’s a high level overview of my system. I currently have a 365-gallon system made up of three display tanks (125 reef ready, 90 reef ready, 80 reef ready rimless), a 40 breeder refugium, and an All-Glass Megaflow 4 sump. Goals I have been in the hobby for over 25 years, and starting in 2006, I decided I wanted to tackle hard corals more. I worked in an LFS growing up and read every book that existed at the time. Before long, I realized it is very difficult to have a truly successful “mixed” reef and to satisfy every requirement for softies, LPS, SPS, and fish all in a single tank.

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