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Reef Threads Podcast #211


Check out the teeth on this tang!

In our last 2014 show we talk about Mr. Clean magic erasers, aquarium-keeping difficulty, Christine’s tank, blind aquascaping, fish odor camouflage, and fish sound amplifiers. We hope you enjoy the podcast and have a great Christmas. Our first 2015 podcast will be Jan. 11. We appreciate all of you listening to our weekly offerings. Download the podcast here, or subscribe to our podcasts at iTunes. Also, follow us on Twitter at reefthreads.—Gary and Christine

Using smell to hide
You are what you eat, if you’re a coral reef fish, Leonard Ho, Advanced Aquarist

Oyster-shell amplifiers
Oystershell amplifies pearlfish calls, Kathryn Knight, The Journal of Experimental Biology

Posted in Corals, Equipment, Fish, MACNA, Opinion, Photography, Podcast, Science, Tanks, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PetSmart Gets Bought Out for $8.7 Billion

Who would have thought that PetSmart was worth $8.7 billion? Well, apparently that’s the case, as the pet retail giant has changed ownership for the aforementioned lofty sum. The acquisition was spearheaded by an investment team led by BC Partners, with this buyout tipping the scales as the single biggest private equity deal announced globally this year. This move was brought on by declining stock prices earlier this year, in which the company’s stock value slipped 18%
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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
Posted in Contest, Corals, Fish, Invertebrates, Photography, Science, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Corals, Equipment, Fish, MACNA, Opinion, Photography, Podcast, Science, Tanks, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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-largeThrough 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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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 “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!

More:

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Reef Shark Resists Climate Change

In more promising news about climate change, one species of reef shark can exhibit a physiological adjustment to the rise in CO2 levels associated with ocean acidification. The epaulette shark (Hemiscyllium ocellatum) has been studied before exhibiting a tolerance to low levels of oxygen in the water (hypoxia) and this discovery adds to the resilience of yet another reef inhabitant. 141015101539-largeDr. Jodie Rummer, co-author on the paper says, “Investigating animals that are already experiencing challenging conditions in their environment may help us understand which species will fare well under future climate change conditions. Although the epaulette shark is not an apex predator, it plays an important role in balancing food webs and the overall health of coral reef ecosystems. The next obvious step is to examine predator species that live in the open ocean, as they may be more susceptible to future ocean acidification conditions.” Read more here!More:

Posted in Conservation, Science, Shark Week, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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_siderea01Sideras­trea 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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