Category Archives: Invertebrates

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BP Oil Spill Continues to Destroy Marine Life

The deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill of 2010 has largely been written off by the media and its perpetrators as “dissipated” or “contained,” yet the affects of releasing millions of gallons of oil into the sea are still wide reaching, says a team of researchers from Penn State University. Charles Fisher, professor of biology at Penn State University framed the issue stating: “The footprint of the impact of the spill on coral communities is both deeper and wider than previous data indicated. “This study very clearly shows that multiple coral communities, up to 22 kilometers from the spill site and at depths over 1800 meters, were impacted by the spill.” Using a remote operated vehicle (ROV) Fisher and his team were able to capture high resolution photo’s of coral communities, finding that the oil had affected marine life further than one had expected from the spill site. tfisher mc297 2 7 2014 BP Oil Spill Continues to Destroy Marine Life “We were looking for coral communities at depths of over 1000 meters that are often smaller than the size of a tennis court,” added Fisher.“We needed high-resolution images of the coral colonies that are scattered across these communities and that range in size from a small houseplant to a small shrub. With the cameras on board the ROV we were able to collect beautiful, high-resolution images of the corals,” said Fisher. “When we compared these images with our example of known oil damage, all the signs were present providing clear evidence in two of the newly discovered coral communities of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.” Read more here.  … More:

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Drifters: A look at some Sargassum invertebrates

P8080036sm Drifters: A look at some Sargassum invertebrates With a huge mass of Gulf Stream water much closer to shore than usual, we’ve had a rare opportunity here in New York to examine Sargassum communities.… More:

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Too Cute! Baby Octopus Edition

IMG 8201sm Too Cute! Baby Octopus Edition I found this tiny octopus last week, clinging to a piece of sargassum weed 20 miles off the coast of Long Island, NY.… More:

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Boat Noise a Culprit for Decline of Sea Hare

Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter and the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE) CRIOBE in France have long understood that artificial marine noise can affect the ecology of marine life, but they now understand that propeller noise from boats can also affect change in the life cycle of one of the most important reef inhabitants. Lead author Sophie Nedelec, a PhD researcher at the University of Bristol and EPHE had this to offer: “Traffic noise is now one of the most widespread global pollutants. If the reproductive output of vulnerable species is reduced, we could be changing communities and losing vital ecological functions. This species is particularly important because it eats a toxic alga that affects recruitment of fish to coral reefs.” 

seahare article Boat Noise a Culprit for Decline of Sea Hare

Researchers found that when exposed to anthropogenic noises throughout gestation, some of the Stylocheilus striates eggs studied for this experiment were found to be underdeveloped and in some cases actually perished as a result. Co-author, Dr Steve Simpson, a marine biologist and senior lecturer at the University of Exeter, said: “Boat noise may cause stress or physically disrupt cells during development, affecting chances of survival. Since one in five people in the world rely on marine animals as a major source of protein, regulating traffic noise in important fisheries areas could help marine communities and the people that depend on them.” Read more here.More:

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Genicanthus lamarck: An Elegant, Reef-Safe Angelfish

lamarcks1 Genicanthus lamarck: An Elegant, Reef Safe AngelfishOwing to the natural tendency of many species to nip at or outright consume sessile invertebrates, angelfishes are often of dubious suitability when it comes to their inclusion in reef aquariums. However, at least one angelfish—Lamarck’s angel (Genicanthus lamarck)—is generally very well behaved in reef systems and quite attractive to boot. Physical traits G. lamarck reaches about 9 inches in total length and possesses the lyre-shaped tail typical of its genus (the common name “swallow-tail angels” is often ascribed to Genicanthus species). While not the most chromatically gifted of the angels, it’s quite attractively patterned nonetheless. Also, adults of this species exhibit sexual dichromatism—distinct color differences between the sexes. Female Lamarck’s AngelfishBoth genders are grayish-white overall with black, horizontal stripes on their flanks; a black band running just below the top edge of the dorsal fin; and small black dots on the tail, anal fin, and rear of the dorsal fin. However, they differ in that the black dorsal band and the top horizontal stripe are much more pronounced on the female, the female has black on the top and bottom edges of the tail while the male does not, and the male’s pelvic fins are black while the female’s are grayish-white. Feeding Unlike most other angels, G More: Genicanthus lamarck: An Elegant, Reef-Safe AngelfishMore:

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Rare Two-Faced Chimera Maxima Clam at Pacific East Aquaculture

 Once in a blue moon do you get to see a Maxima with coloration like this. Pacific East Aquacultures Two-Faced Maxima is a one in a million clam for sure. This wild specimen is from French Polynesia. I’ve seen only a handful on the wholesale side. AquaNerd covered PAE’s last showstopper Two-Faced Maxima. Of the rare Two-Faced Maxima’s, ReefKoi’s had to been my favorite.… More:

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Marine Aquarium Contingencies I Never Anticipated

harmful algal bloom1 Marine Aquarium Contingencies I Never AnticipatedIf you’ve been watching the news lately, you may have heard about the massive Microcystis algae outbreak that is currently affecting the western basin of Lake Erie and, from this past Friday until around 9:30 this morning, rendered the tap water in Toledo, Ohio and many surrounding communities unsafe to drink. Toledo just happens to be home to yours truly, and “Caribbean Chris” just happens to live in one of those surrounding communities. My wife and I first learned of this most unusual water emergency at the tail end of our vacation in Florida. Our teenage son and daughter, who are now way too old and cool to travel with Mom and Dad, broke the news via text message. My first thought was, “Thank heaven we’ve stockpiled plenty of clean drinking water that the kids can use (I guess you could say we’re preppers of a sort—though not the wild-eyed, catapult-building, planning-for-Armageddon type). My second thought was, “Hmm, I wonder what this means for my aquariums.” The same question occurred to Chris. So many questions, so few answers Is microcystin (the toxin produced by Microcystis) harmful to marine fish and/or invertebrates? More: Marine Aquarium Contingencies I Never AnticipatedMore:

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Drones Used to Combat Illegal Fishing in Belize

On the forefront of technological reef research the country of Belize has assigned drones to combat illegal fishing throughout marine protected areas, in what may be the first use of drones for conservation. “Belize has been a leader in the establishment of marine protected areas, including the world-famous Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, but fishing regulations are difficult to enforce on the open sea,” said Julio Maaz, Communities Fisheries Coordinator for WCS’s Marine Program in Belize. “Drones offer a means of improving the rate of detection of illegal activities at a fraction of the cost required for patrol vessels.” 140722152432 large Drones Used to Combat Illegal Fishing in Belize The unmanned aerial drones will begin a new monitoring program that is a partnership between the Wildlife Conservation Society who provided the technical expertise, and the Belize Fisheries Department. “This exciting new enforcement tool will help the government and local communities protect their most valuable assets — the fisheries and coral reefs of Belize’s coastal waters,” said Dr. Caleb McClennen, Executive Director of WCS Marine Conservation. “The world’s oceans are in dire need of low cost innovations for improving the cost efficiency and effectiveness of enforcement efforts. This represents an exciting pilot program for Belize, the wider Caribbean, and nearshore marine parks and fisheries around the world.” Read more here!More:

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