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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!

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!

When Should Squabbling Marine Fish Be Separated?

Fish that share similarities are more likely to fight when confined to a smaller spaceI recently introduced a Kole tang to my tank, and it keeps getting in fights with the resident yellow tang. So far, neither one has been seriously hurt, but I’m worried about where this is heading. Do I need to separate these two, or will they eventually chill out and coexist peacefully?” Over the years, I’ve often been asked questions like this or read similar ones in print media and online forums. When a compatibility issue arises between fish—as is especially common when a new specimen is introduced to an established community—the combatants may eventually sort things out and establish a wary truce or there may be no alternative to removing one or the other. Here are some conditions that, in my opinion, necessitate separating the warring factions: There’s no room for escape Remember, confined spaces tend to magnify aggression. If the tank is too small to allow the subordinate specimen to flee the aggressor’s immediate vicinity or the aquascaping doesn’t provide an adequate number of retreats and hidey holes, the two won’t be able to stay out of each other’s way and will likely continue fighting. The aggression goes beyond bluster If the aggressive behavior greatly exceeds mere displaying and posturing or passive-aggressiveness (“What? More: When Should Squabbling Marine Fish Be Separated?

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 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!

Gifts for Your Aquarium Fiends (err Friends)!

It’s December and Christmas Day is getting closer…and fast!  Hands up who hasn’t finished their Christmas shopping?  Ok, tell the truth now…who hasn’t started their Christmas shopping?  Yup, that’s what I thought.  No fear, suggestions are here for your better half who thinks he/she is the next Fish Whisperer (or for yourself…or your kids  :)).  You can get the usual like: pumps, filters, quarantine tanks, another pretty fish, a gift voucher for fishy stuff, a book, 6 month’s supply of fish food OR you can get something like this: cellphone cover etsyCellphone cover (Etsy) coral reef cushions etsyCoral reef cushions (Etsy) gift at cafepressdotcomMugs ( MORE

PIJAC and your right to reef

10665746_849819525043182_2234971712092756156_nIf you’ve been following NOAA’s recent findings regarding the health of coral reefs, and wondered how they will effect your right to own a slice of the ocean, then likely you’ve heard of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). If you visit PIJAC’s website you will find links regarding responsible animal ownership, environmental stewardship and the infamous right to own a pet. That Habitattitude flyer you get with online fish orders, is actually the work of PIJAC, trying to encourage fish owners not to release their unwanted specimens into the wild. Underneath the spit shine, PIJAC stands as a lobbying group on behalf of the pet industry. Since reef keepers are pet owners, we would assume PIJAC stands to keep us informed, and fight the good fight in Washington, making sure our right to keep a pet is protected.  MORE

Wrap Your Mind Around This: LRS Reef Frenzy® Is Getting Even Better

  Now, the two top fish foods are under one roof. get-attachment-1.aspxScreen Shot 2014-12-12 at 1.47.39 PMStay with me, guys. Every now and then a product comes along that blows all of the others out of the water (literally, in this case) and sets the bar at a seemingly impossible height. When it comes to fish food, this past year brought us face to face with Larry’s Reef Services and their Reef Frenzy®, a handcrafted frozen food that is simply untouchable in the realm of quality. MORE

How Much Light

Determining the sweet spot for certain coral specimens can be challenging.  Often it is a trial and error situation.  Many factors tend to make this anything but a constant.  The type of lighting, parameters, water chemistry, and water clarity are just a few that come to mind.  This Acropora is apparently happy where it resides but this was not always true.  I tend to attach new corals to baseball size rocks so that I can reposition it if I see fit.  It is much less stressful on the coral if I can move it without touching it or gluing and removing the specimen.  This coral originally was positioned lower in the aquarium as I thought it would do best under lower lighting.  I closely observed it over the first few months and saw some recession at the base.  The pigments began to darken with little growth occurring also.  I moved it up closer to the surface where it received stronger illumination and again, observed closely for a few weeks.  I noticed some new growth at the base and the colors began to show improvement.  I believed at this point it could still use some stronger light and moved it up again.  Within a few weeks I noticed some strong growth and even a more vibrant color developing.  I call this process reading the coral.  The clues that tell me what a specific coral may desire vary but close observation on a daily basis is important.  Experience will begin to help formulate the answer if you are paying close attention to the animal.  When I am asked how much light a specific coral needs, I answer, ask the coral. is the world's leading destination for sustainable coral reef farming and the aquarium hobby. We offer a free open forum and reef related news and data to better educate aquarists and further our goals of sustainable reef management.