Category Archives: Science

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Happy 4th of July!

am flag beachHappy 4th, everyone!  I hope you all have a great holiday, and remember to drink responsibly, drive carefully, and wear plenty of sunscreen!… More:

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:

Buying ich vaccinated fish?

fish_vaccination_close_homepageCould ich free fish be the wave of the future? Imagine if you were shopping for a new addition to your marine aquarium, and in addition to choosing between captive bred and wild caught, you could also choose between ich vaccinated and non-ich vaccinated. Vaccination of companion animals is common, and most of us protect our pets from fatal diseases like rabies and distemper, simply by getting them a common vaccine. So why hasn’t this taken place for marine fish? … 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:

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:

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