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The Pioneering Reefs of Abu Dhabi


Last month, our film Natural History Redux screened at the Imagine Science Film Festival held at New York University’s campus in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is located along the Arabian/ Persian Gulf as one of the coastal Emirates in the United Arab Emirates. Colin was asked to speak on a panel regarding the future of global water resources and the importance that art/ science has to play in bringing these issues into public awareness. However, he also had the opportunity to explore the unique marine habitat in the area. NYU Abu Dhabi is home base to coral biologist Dr. John Burt, who is studying the remarkable corals that live offshore. He, along with other researchers, have discovered a heat-tolerant strain of More: The Pioneering Reefs of Abu Dhabi

Filling the Gaps

Mixed Coral Shot

Mixed Coral Shot

 We’ve all seen the tanks, they’re usually featured on a big forums or Facebook. The reefs that make you drool, that keep you inspired when your tank isn’t doing so hot. These tanks are gorgeous, immaculate, and obviously cared for by a master reefer. The tanks where every inch, every millimeter of space is filled by coral. Some are sps dominated, others zoa gardens, but many are true mixed reefs, with corals of all shapes, sizes and types, all in a glorious display of color. For those of us who are still aspiring to master reefer status, a tank like this is something we strive for. Among all the other issues we’re trying to figure out, one of the ones that can cause big headaches is the natural issue of coral warfare. Which corals can go next to each other? Which ones can even go in the same tank? What do you do when two start fighting? The master reefer tanks show corals sharing the MORE

Pillar Corals, Dendrogyra cylindrus, Stony corals

Good morning from wet Curacao! Yes, we are finally getting rain and it is great! I have a beautiful little colony of Pillar Corals, Dendrogyra cylindrus for you all today that I found last year at my favorite dive site on the island, Whatamulla which is located near the western tip of the island and is only accessible by boat. These spectacular “pillar-like” stony corals grown straight up and can reach a length of about 10 feet, that’s a tall coral! I normally see these in the 35-50 foot range but they can be found as deep as 65 foot and as shallow as 4, that’s quite a difference in depth. Pillar coral (Dendrogyra cylindricus) is a hard coral or stony coral (order Scleractinia) found in the western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea MORE

Rabbitfish Fisheries Possible Model for Culture of Marine Ornamentals?

Photo by Leonard Low. CC by 2.0.

Photo by Leonard Low. CC by 2.0.

 Bagoóng is a traditional condiment for Filipino cuisine that is made of fermented fish or shrimp. Bagoóng isdâ, the fishy version, is fermented in brine for several months before it is finally prepared and packaged. This delicacy, which is typically used to enhance the flavor other foods, can be made in different ways with different types of fish. Especially popular is padas, a bagoóng isdâ that is prepared from the juvenile rabbitfish (Siganus spp.). A status symbol, it is customarily served during religious holidays. Vendors sell the specialty item in tightly packed jars in all kinds of shops and markets. Sometimes, the small fish are intricately and artfully arranged within the jar. For aquarists and aquaculturists, this would be just be an amusing factoid about one commonly kept family of fishes, were it not that intense demand for bagoóng padas products has led to a substantial fishery. Filipino farmers focus on several local rabbitfish species (collectively referred to as malaga or samaral), including Siganus canaliculatus, S. concatenates, S. corallinus and S. spinus. These fishes can easily sell for three times the price of common selections, so competition among producers is fierce. Today, in the Philippines, rabbitfish are a commercially-important fishery, contributing 560 million tons (with juveniles accounting for 60 million tons) to the total annual fishery production. That’s a lot of fish paste.   MORE

Bubble-Tip Anemone Safety Tips

Nippy tankmates are one reason a bubble-tip anemone may start to roamThe bubble-tip anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor), or BTA, is justifiably popular in the marine aquarium hobby, being relatively hardy and easy to keep as anemones go as well as being a suitable host anemone for many clownfish species. But to horribly misquote legendary singer Dion DiMucci, “it’s the type of nem that likes to roam around”—particularly when it’s getting settled into a new system or decides it’s unhappy with its placement in an established one. The problem with an anemone going parading around its aquarium is that anytime it does so, it has the potential of blundering into equipment or other sessile invertebrates with potentially injurious (or even fatal) consequences. Thus, any system housing a BTA must be designed or modified to reduce the risk of accidental injury or harmful interspecific encounters.Here are several important factors to consider when BTA-proofing your tank: Crowded reef tanks aren’t ideal for BTAs People do keep BTAs in reef systems among various corals and other sessile invertebrates. However, as alluded above, this can prove problematic if the anemone goes roaming, as it may sting or be stung by any inverts it encounters in its travels (though not all corals are equally sensitive to the sting of a BTA and vice versa). Not to mention, problems with allelopathy (chemical warfare) among inverts tend to be much greater in mixed reefs. The best housing for a BTA is a good-sized system dedicated specifically to its needs. (If you’ve had long-term success keeping a BTA in a mixed reef, we’d love to hear how you managed it in the comment section below.) Pumps and powerheads are problematic Submersible pumps and powerheads are among the biggest offenders when it comes to injuring/killing wandering nems, so the intakes of these devices must be screened off with sponge, foam, or a similar material MORE

Final Recovery Plan for Elkhorn and Staghorn Corals Released by NOAA Fisheries

acropora-palmata-3This past Thursday, March 5, 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published a comprehensive recovery plan for threatened acropora species A. palmata (Elkhorn coral) and A. cervicornis (Staghorn coral). Prepared by the Acropora Recovery Team (ART) for the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS), the plan is comprised of two dozen actions deemed necessary for the revival of both species which have been listed as threatened since May 9, 2006.  MORE

Experience New Virtual Dive At London’s Natural History Museum

Coral-Reefs-of-the-Sea-exibition The Natural History Museum in London, England will be offering a new virtual dive exhibit called ‘Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Seas’ for guests starting March 27th, 2015. The exhibit uses over 200 exhibits from the Catlin Seaview Survey. The reefs featured include the Philippines, Bermuda, and Australia. You can do all this without getting wet. The exhibit using sound and lighting effects that make it feel as if you are underwater. MORE

Update: Dolphin Trainer Found Dead

A sad update on yesterdays post. Spanish dolphin trainer,Jose Luis Barbero, 59 years old, was found inside his vehicle at the parking lot of the Palma De Mallorca airport. The authorities are treating it as a suicide. Recently Barbero was linked to videos and social media that accused him of abusing dolphins. MORE

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