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Tattoo Tuesday

The beginning of an aquarium sleeve

The beginning of an aquarium sleeve

 For Today’s Tattoo Tuesday we feature Maddie Butterfield’s start on her aquarium-themed sleeve. It is inspired by her favorite tank, and the love she has for it clearly shows!  The tattoo was done by artist Nathan Evans.  MORE

Geoengineering Coral Reefs

Solar Radiation Management is a theory of approach towards stemming the effects of global warming, and its principle benefits are now the focus of a new paper published by the University of Exeter, with regard to coral reefs worldwide. Dr Paul Halloran, from the Geography department of the University of Exeter adds: “The study shows that the benefit of SRM over a conventional CO2 reduction scenario is dependent on the sensitivity of future thermal bleaching thresholds to changes in seawater acidity. This emphasizes the need to better characterize how warming and ocean acidification may interact to influence coral bleaching over the 21st century.” 150525120430_1_900x600Currently The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is considering and implementing many different approaches to reverse some of the effects of global warming. With this new study finding a more suitable approach towards coral reefs is possible as two hypothetical climate mitigation strategies were compared, and it was found corals have a much better chance of avoiding large-scale bleaching events under the SRM strategical approach. Professor Peter Cox, co-author of the research and from the University of Exeter states: “Coral reefs face a dire situation regardless of how intensively society decarbonizes the economy. In reality there is no direct choice between conventional mitigation and climate engineering but this study shows that we need to either accept that the loss of a large percentage of the world’s reefs is inevitable or start thinking beyond conventional mitigation of CO2 emissions.” Read more here!

Tuna Added Back to Tokyo Sea Life Park Exhibit

tuna Keeping Tuna alive in captivity is extremely difficult and a task that only a handful of public aquariums around the world are able to do. Tokyo Sea Life Park was among the pioneers in displaying tuna in aquariums. Last year, sadly 160 tuna died without a known cause. By December of 2014, there was just one tuna left in the Aquariums famous 2000 gallon, donut shaped tank. The cause of the massive tuna deaths remains unknown. The Aquarium has been slowly adding different species back to the tank, to see how they did. So far, none of the fish which have been added to tank have suffered any known ailments. Therefore, the aquarium added the 80 tuna back to the tank and reopened it to the public. Hopefully the addition of the tuna far just as well, and the tank can go back to being a healthy habitat for the tuna. MORE

MASNA 2015 Membership Drive – special prize!

The largest non-profit organization of marine aquarium hobbyists and clubs has begun its 2015 membership drive.  Every individual or family that joins during the month of June will be entered into a drawing to win a TUNZE  Universal Osmolator model 3155, which has been generously donated by the world-renowned company. tunze osmolatorIn addition, $5 of each new and renewed membership will go towards the Gary Meadows Reef Fund.  MASNA scholarship applications are due by June 19 – http://masna.org/masna-programs/scholarship-program/ . So join or renew today; help encourage the ethical and true growth of the marine aquarium hobby, support captive breeding and propagation efforts, and maybe even win a TUNZE Osmolator! For more information, go to : http://masna.org/

Rare Blue Montipora! Ah no, it’s actually Collospongia

I’m continuously fascinated by all of the different things that live in our oceans. Sponges are the simplest of multicellular organisms and also among the oldest, with a fossil record extending back to the last part of the Precambrian, about 550 million years ago. When I go snorkeling at the fossil reef at Key Biscayne (my local reef) I see all types of sponges; bright red fire sponge, large brown barrel sponges, delicate blue encrusting sponges, etc. They inhabit turtle grass beds and coral reefs alike. Sponges filter the water while providing food and shelter for a myriad of creatures. 

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Blue Layer Cake Sponge – Collospongia

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Where Do Rainbows Come From?

Siberian Rainbow Millepora – Author’s photo

 As an avid collector of Acropora species I have noticed in the last couple of years that rainbow hued acropora seem to be popping up everywhere. So it gets me to pondering where were all these colorful sticks a decade ago? Of course rainbow montipora was probably the first and most well known, multi-hued hard coral to come into the hobby. A few years later when maricultured acropora started to come in more frequently, rainbow colored millepora colonies would make an infrequent appearance. Sadly most of these would turn into solid or two-tone corals under metal halide and T5 lighting. Since then and especially in the past few years we have seen a growing number of brilliant colored sps corals appear on the scene. These corals of course are highly collected and most go for a pretty penny, like the beautiful Walt Disney acropora which fetches $800 – $1000 per fragment. Mike Biggar says his Walt Disney acropora maintains the best MORE

New Symbiont Invades Caribbean Coral Reefs

A non-native symbiont to live coral (Symbiodinium trenchii) is slowly invading the Caribbean reefs making it harder for corals to calcify, yet protecting against the warmer waters created by climate change. This non-native micro-algae hails from the Indo-Pacific but its presence on Caribbean reefs is a bit of a conundrum as “the results raise a potentially contentious issue about whether this invasion is relatively good or bad for the long-term productivity of reef corals in the Atlantic Ocean and the ecosystems they support,” said Todd LaJeunesse, associate professor of biology, Penn State. 150601172829_1_900x600The presence of a new species of symbiont in Caribbean waters has researchers wondering when the introduction first occurred: “We found that the Caribbean population of S. trenchii contains very little genetic diversity and is highly inbred,” said Tye Pettay postdoctoral fellow at the University of Delaware. “In contrast, S. trenchii in the Indian and Pacific oceans is extremely diverse and contains far more genetic diversity on a single reef the size of a football field than it does in the entire Caribbean Sea. Our evidence indicates that the introduction of S. trenchii to the Caribbean was relatively recent. There has been no time for it to evolve any novel genetic diversity.” Read more here!

Genetic Diversity within Coral Colonies

A surprising conclusion was made by the Ruhr-Universität of Germany regarding the genetic diversity within a coral colony. Researchers found that genetically diverse polyps where living harmoniously within the same coral structure by studying five different species of coral and over 222 coral colonies. “However, this doesn’t mean we should expect that this variability can compensate for corals dying worldwide due to climate change,” says Maximilian Schweinsberg from the Department of Animal Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity at Ruhr-Universität. 150610093000_1_540x360“The ongoing climate change and the environmental change resulting thereof have an increasingly severe impact on coral reefs,” explains Schweinsberg. Biologists were able to find that within stony reef-building corals genetically diverse coral polyps can actually assist lesser adapted polyps in growth and metabolism activities, adding to their adaptability and possibly aiding in their survival rates. Read more here!

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