Category Archives: Fish

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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:

Long Island Collecting Log: An abundance of butterflies

ButterflyBucket
For me, one of the most interesting things about the appearance of the tropical strays on Long Island, is the sheer abundance of some of the species. The spotfin butterflyfish, Chaetodon ocellatus is a great example. I have lived in the Caribbean and I’ve spent a fair amount of time diving on Florida’s reefs. Although I probably encountered spotfin butterflies on the majority of dives within their native range, It was uncommon for me to see more than one or two at a time, and on any given dive, the total number rarely, if ever, got out of the single digits.… 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:

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:

Long Island Collecting Log: Brush with a stargazer

  Last week, after a successful seining trip in Shinnecock Bay, I lugged my dive gear out to the inlet to see if I could spot any tropical fishes among the rocks of the jetty. Although I didn’t encounter anything I would consider tropical, and the water was cold enough to give me brain freeze, I was treated to some pretty awesome sights. One of the highlights was this unusual sighting of a northern stargazer (Astroscopus guttatus) out for a swim.… More:

One Tough Goldfish

goldfish-800x351 Here’s a story of feeder goldfish that beat the odds. Seven years ago, at Shima Marineland in Japan, a small goldfish was thrown into a tank, intended as food for a hungry Arapaima. In case you didn’t know it, Arapaima are among the world’s largest freshwater fish, growing over 10 feet long and weighing over 400 pounds. The little goldfish managed to escape the hungry mouth of the Arapaima and ended up in the aquariums filter system. Where it lived for seven years eating detritus and other bits. During a recent filter cleaning, an aquarist was shocked to find the goldfish, now ten inches long, alive and well in the filter. The fish showed no signs of injury, however, it was a little pale, due to the years living in darkness. Now the goldish has turned into a bit of a celebrity and has its own display tank in the aquarium. MOREMore:

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

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