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Deepwater Coral Reef Discovered off Coast of Ireland

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The deep sea biome is said to be less understood and less explored than the Moon. Nearly any serious expedition into deep sea ecosystems reveals new species, or even entirely new habitats. Often, these notoriously slow-growing biological communities are thought to be extraordinary simply on the basis of their size and structural complexity. Such was the case with the discovery of a large, coldwater coral reef off of the Irish coast. While scanning the seafloor along the route of the MORE

Mating Pair Slender Filefish


Good morning from Curacao! I hope you all had a great weekend. To help you cure your monday morning blues, I have two Slender Filefish (Monacanthus tuckeri) for you all in their pre-mating-mode beauty    MORE

Shark Summer

 It is has not been that long since I last wrote about a shark attack incident in North Carolina. Although shark attacks are extremely rare, there have been a steady stream of high profile attacks this summer. On Friday, a North Carolina man was bitten by a shark while swimming with his three children and another adult. They were swimming about a mile north of the Avon pier around noon. While trying to get the children to shore safely, the man was attacked in his leg and lower back. The injuries are not reported to be life threatening. This is the fifth shark attack in North Carolina this summer. MORE

NASA Tests Under Ice Rover At California Science Center Aquairum

BRUIEOn June 24, 2015, NASA tested its Buoyant Rover for Under Ice Exploration (BRUIE) at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The BRUIE was placed at 24 feet underwater on the bottom of the 188,000 gallon tank. The device was designed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. The purpose of the rover is to study the Arctic and Antarctica and is meant for travel under the ice shelf of an icy world. MORE

Reefing from Afar, Part 4: The Wong Solution

The last article discussed some of the quick and simple ways to take care of your reef while being away for just a short period of time. Due to my work responsibilities, which require travel around the world for two- to three-week periods at a time, I need as much automation as possible and confidence in the solutions I choose.Here’s a high level overview of my system. I currently have a 365-gallon system made up of three display tanks (125 reef ready, 90 reef ready, 80 reef ready rimless), a 40 breeder refugium, and an All-Glass Megaflow 4 sump. Goals I have been in the hobby for over 25 years, and starting in 2006, I decided I wanted to tackle hard corals more. I worked in an LFS growing up and read every book that existed at the time. Before long, I realized it is very difficult to have a truly successful “mixed” reef and to satisfy every requirement for softies, LPS, SPS, and fish all in a single tank. MORE

Irish Team ROV Images New Coldwater ‘Reef’

A new coldwater coral habitat has been discovered on a submerged cliff face almost 1km below the sea surface by Irish marine scientists. Operating at around 300km off the Kerry coastline, the research team onboard the Marine Institute’s research vessel MV Celtic Explorer were mapping some previously unconfirmed reefs on the edge of the Porcupine Bank canyon, using the Holland I remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Initially capturing images of a ‘blizzard’ of organic-rich particles flushing down the canyon, the ROV then moved closer to reveal a vertical cliff face habitat carpeted by coldwater coral and other marine life, including sponges, crabs and fish. University College Cork (UCC) scientist Prof Andy Wheeler explains, “The Porcupine Bank has 500km of cliff habitat at this water depth. Corals were found between 900 and 700 metres water depth,” This could double the amount of coral habitat already believed to be in the area, which is a designated special area of conservation. University of Ulster scientist Dr Chris McGonigle noted that the quality of data which the State’s research vessel and its ROV can collect is “phenomenal”. MORE

Making Your Own Ice Packs is Cool and Easy

Summer is here and if you ship out a bunch of corals every week like I do, you’re going to need to keep them cool. Ice packs from most shipping supply companies cost anywhere from $1.00 – .50 cents each, that means I used to spend a few hundred dollars per year just on ice packs and you generally only have two size options. I have made ice packs out of gelatin in the past, but I find it to be messy, time consuming, and not vegan friendly. It had been in the back of my mind for awhile to try using water polymer crystals to make ice packs after seeing them used in floral arrangements, so I recently started doing it. 

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Water Polymer Crystals after absorbing water

 Water polymer crystals MORE

Coastal Activities Making it Harder for Fish to Breathe

New research out of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University finds that the impacts of human activities like dredging are making it harder for fish to breathe, and are likely increasing the rates of gill disease amongst coastal reef fish. “Fish gills are in direct contact with their environment and are the first line of defense in the animal’s immune response, which makes them the perfect place to look for damage associated with sediment,” adds co-author of the study Dr Jodie Rummer. 150616093642_1_900x600“Suspended sediments result from flood plumes, coastal agricultural and industrial development and from dredging operations and are increasing in coastal waters worldwide,” says co-author, Dr Amelia Wenger. The study simulated sediment accumulation in the lab and subjected clown fish larvae to increased levels, and what they found might be some what of a duality. “The gills in sediment-exposed larval clownfish fish were congested, exhibiting twice as much mucous of what could be found in clean-water exposed fish,” says study lead author, PhD Student Sybille Hess. Yet Rummer added that”Sediment-exposed fish also increased the number of protective cells on their gills, presumably safeguarding the delicate tissue from the damage that sediment particles could cause.” The findings could mean fish are adapting to the elevated levels of sediment but they most definitely underscore the increased need for awareness as it relates to coastal impacts like dredging and agricultural runoff. Read more here.

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