Good morning friends, today we have two sub dives, the first starting at 9:00. I’m going to have my young intern shoot a go-pro movie of me photographing the sub today and I will try and post that as soon as I can. I have a KILLER, ultra unusual orange sponge for you all today that we found years ago growing in a small cave. To this date this is the only one of these we have ever seen and we visit it on almost every dive. You can kind of get an idea of the size of the sponge by the little seven-inch Cardinalfish above who we think has adopted the sponge and the cave as his own. MORE
It comes as no surprise that corals are under more stress than ever. It is a very troubling problem we hear about day in and day out. Global warming, overfishing, dredging, pollution, human influence and disease outbreaks are all to blame. For example, critically Endangered Elkhorn Caribbean coral has diminished its population by ninety eight percent. Coral conservation needs to be on the forefront of all of our minds.
Luckily, there is some good news too. New research was published recently in the Bulletin of Marine Science which shows that lab generated corals are able to withstand and thrive when placed in the increasingly stressed natural environments. Scientists took fertilized eggs from a Curacao coral reef, brought them back to an offshore lab until they were fully matured. The larger grown corals were then placed back into their natural re, and a year later, were observed releasing eggs and sperm. MORE
Our good friends at Cherry Corals will be opening up their vaults and hosting a live sale event this weekend on Reefs.com. You can find the sale here: Live Sale Event The online retailer is one of the nation’s largest propagators of premium aquacultured corals; their mantra is: “If it’s not HOT, it’s not here!”. They will be hosting the sale tomorrow night, Saturday, Feb 6, from 6:00 pm to Midnight (EST), and over 400 of their finest frags will be made available to the public, including a large selection of $1, $5, and $20 frags. This will be a great event, with T-Shirt giveaways and a $250 grand prize. As always, the live sale system includes a real-time chat venue as well as a coral purchasing system that is as much fun to use as a video game. You can interact with your hosts and other buyers while you snap up some of the finest corals on the market. MORE
The Washington D.C. Area Marine Aquarist Society, Inc. (WAMAS) has just become a Patch Reef Sponsor, donating $25,000 to Coral Restoration Foundation, the nonprofit conservation organization headquartered in Key Largo, Florida created to develop offshore coral nurseries and restoration strategies for critically endangered coral reefs at local, national, and international levels. Reef Sponsors partner with the Coral Restoration Foundation on an annual basis to protect and restore designated restoration sites along the Florida Reef Tract—the only barrier reef system in the United States, and the third largest barrier reef system in the world. The generous donation from WAMAS will directly support the Intern Program at Coral Restoration Foundation and provide one intern position over the next two and a half years. MORE
I have a wonderful little Yellowline Arrow Crab for you all today, sitting on top of a sponge without a care in the world. These crabs are know for those beautiful purple claws, big eyes and his super cool top-hat, such a fantastic creature…. The body of S. seticornis is triangular, and the rostrum is drawn out into a long point with serrate edges. The legs are also long and thin, up to 10 cm (3.9 in) across, and the animal’s carapace may be up to 6 cm (2.4 in) long. Coloration is variable in this species; the body may be golden, yellow or cream, marked with brown, black or iridescent-blue lines; the legs are reddish or yellow, and the claws are blue or violet. S. seticornis is nocturnal and territorial. It eats small feather duster worms and other coral reef invertebrates. This crab is commonly kept in reef aquariums to control bristle worm populations. S. seticornis is one of a number of different invertebrates that are found living in association with the sea anemone, Lebrunia danae. It is often found among the anemone’s pseudotentacles along with Pederson’s cleaning shrimp (Ancylomenes pedersoni) and the spotted cleaner shrimp (Periclimenes yucatanicus). MORE
It’s almost Super Bowl Sunday time. Whether you are rooting for the Carolina Panthers or the Denver Broncos, its bound to be a fun filled and exciting day. Even if your not into sports, the half-time commercials certainly prove entertaining. But if the Super Bowl really isn’t your thing, maybe the Monterey Bay Aquarium Otter Bowl is more your style. The Monterey Bay Aquarium hosted their first ever Otter Bowl in anticipation of Super Bowl Sunday. The aquarium created their own football field for the otters to get their game on. MORE