Top Stories
Latest Posts

Rising Tide Intern Joe Frith

Joes%2Bblog%2Bpic Rising Tide Intern Joe FrithHello Everybody!  My name is Joe Frith and I have been interning here at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory in Ruskin, FL for the past 2 months. I would first like to say “thank you” to Dr. Judy St. Leger, Eric, Kevin, Roy, Craig, Jon and the rest of the staff here at the Lab for giving me this opportunity and making this a meaningful experience. I’m currently an undergraduate at the University of Missouri-Columbia completing my degree in Fisheries and Wildlife with a minor in Biology. As a child growing up in the woods of Missouri I was always very intrigued by the natural world and usually had several different aquariums spread throughout my house at any one time. My interest in the aquatic world slowly evolved from freshwater aquariums to saltwater aquariums to eventually trying my hand at breeding the Bluestripe pipefish (Doryrhamphus excisus), which I had help with from Matt Pederson and the other members at MarineBreeders.org.  It was back in February of this year, after reading posts on the Rising Tide blog that I decided to contact Dr. St. Leger about possible internships they may be awarding for the summer. I received an email shortly after and we soon started laying the groundwork for me to become an intern at TAL. What was once a dream was now a reality. Over the course of this summer I have helped the Rising
Tide team with a number of different projects ranging from Pacific blue tang and
emperor angelfish spawning to water quality refinement in an attempt to
increase spawning and overall health of all brood fish. Specifically I constructed an algae scrubbing device, complete with mangroves, which has made a significant impact on lower the nitrate levels in the fish growout system (the details of which will be discussed in a future blog). In addition I have learned a lot about the whole marine fish larval rearing process including egg collection, egg counting, stocking and density, and important first food items such as copepod nauplii and rotifers. And if I wasn’t working on any one of these projects I was traveling alongside Dr. Roy Yanong to one of the many aquaculture farms here in the Ruskin area. This experience has opened my eyes even further to the wonderful world of
aquaculture and I can’t think of any other way I would’ve rather spent my
summer. With all of the knowledge and insight I have gained in the past couple
of months I hope to continue on in this field and hopefully make some great discoveries. Another big thanks to the Rising Tide team for such an awesome experience! MORE: Rising Tide Intern Joe Frith

Posted in Conservation, Fish, Science | Leave a comment

4-eyed success

4 eyed turtle by kienthucdotnetdotvn 300x199 4 eyed success

Photo: kienthuc.net.vn

 The Tennessee Aquarium has had a breakthrough…two sets of baby four-eyed turtles have successfully hatched. The name is a bit misleading, they don’t actually have 4 eyes, they have spots on the back of their heads that look like extra eyes.  Listed on CITES Appendix III, these endangered turtles have been declining due to trade and demand for their shells which are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Aquarium is stepping in to help these little critters out by breeding them to help conserve the species and to place them at other facilities.  MORE

Posted in Science | Leave a comment

Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish Clouds

5637838967 c65986fc5d copy 300x225 Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish CloudsThe past few weeks have been quite interesting for me, to say the least. As a result, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with my head in the clouds, where it often tends to go when I need a mental break. Interestingly enough, even with the fluffy white filling my head, I manage to have reefs on the brain. Staring at the sky the other day I noticed one of my favorite cloud patterns, Altocumulus Mackerel Sky, a stunning formation that heavily resembles the scales of the King Mackerel, from which the clouds get their name. Unsatisfied with the thought that there could only be one, lonely cloud formation that mirrored our oceans, I immediately thought of Jellyfish. They’re ghostly, bulbous mantles and streaming tentacles are definitely “cloudlike”. Well, a quick Google search informed me that, indeed, “Jellyfish Clouds” are a thing. Altocumulus Castelanus, “also known as jellyfish clouds due to their jellyfish-like appearance. These formed around 17,000 ft due to when the rush of moist air comes from the Gulf Stream and gets trapped between layers of dry air. The top of the cloud rises into a jellyfish shape and long tentacles known as “trailing virga” form from rain drops that have evaporated”. Incredible. Next time I find my mind wandering I’ll have to keep an eye out for the scarcely seen fluffy jellyfish of the sky. Also, just for fun, I’m also going to be on the lookout for the super-fun “Mammatus Clouds”. I don’t think meteorologists see enough boobs…
Mackerelskylincolnshire 1 150x150 Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish Clouds Narrow barred Spanish mackerel 150x150 Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish Clouds 1024px Mammatus clouds regina sk june 2012 150x150 Where a Reef Nerd’s Mind Wonders – Jellyfish Clouds

Posted in Science | Leave a comment

Transparent Creatures Under The Sea

article Transparent Creatures Under The Sea
This article highlights a characteristic widely used, and not often studied, by animals in the ocean: transparency. When animals on land can try and camouflage with their surroundings, this usually means shades of brown or green to fit in with surrounding flora and fauna. Its quite different under the sea. Dr. Johnson, a Professor of Biology at Duke is studying transparent creatures. As one can imagine, this is not an easy task to do. The scientists often spend long periods of time underwater doing what appears to be looking at nothing to study deep sea transparency. When there is no where to hide, no reefs or underwater plants, transparency is the way to go for animals looking to avoid being the next meal. MORE

Posted in Fish, Science | Leave a comment

Mysterious Plankton From Outer Space!

international space station and endeavor docked 300x197 Mysterious Plankton From Outer Space!Space officials and experts were left dumbfounded as to how traces of sea plankton and other various micro organisms were found living on the surface of the International Space Station. It’s unlikely the plankton hitched a ride before the craft was launched, as it’s not found in Baikonur in Kazakhstan, where it initially took flight. Scientists are theorizing they may have been blown there by terrestrial air currents, which makes pretty decent sense to me – I’m guessing alien plankton is unlikely. Russian astronauts Alexander Skvortsov and Olek Artemyev made the discovery during a routine spacewalk. While it may seem a bit jarring the organisms were able to survive with the lack of oxygen and extreme temperatures, sea plankton is actually quite capable of enduring even the harshest conditions. More can be read here and here

Posted in Science | Leave a comment

Florida’s Reefs Go Digital

 I’ve written about it before here, but Google Map, thanks to Catlin Seaview Survey, is coming to an underwater reef near you. Eventually, our reefs will be documented in the same way as our streets are. This is a remarkable feet in being able to capture and study the health of our Ocean’s reef in a level that was not achievable before this technology. Up until now, the camera’s have focused on underwater reefs outside the United States. I am happy to say that a place near to my heart, the Florida Keys, will be the first American Reef to be photographed and available for underwater viewing. MORE

Posted in Corals, Equipment, Photography, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BP Oil Spill Continues to Destroy Marine Life

The deepwater Horizon (BP) oil spill of 2010 has largely been written off by the media and its perpetrators as “dissipated” or “contained,” yet the affects of releasing millions of gallons of oil into the sea are still wide reaching, says a team of researchers from Penn State University. Charles Fisher, professor of biology at Penn State University framed the issue stating: “The footprint of the impact of the spill on coral communities is both deeper and wider than previous data indicated. “This study very clearly shows that multiple coral communities, up to 22 kilometers from the spill site and at depths over 1800 meters, were impacted by the spill.” Using a remote operated vehicle (ROV) Fisher and his team were able to capture high resolution photo’s of coral communities, finding that the oil had affected marine life further than one had expected from the spill site. tfisher mc297 2 7 2014 BP Oil Spill Continues to Destroy Marine Life “We were looking for coral communities at depths of over 1000 meters that are often smaller than the size of a tennis court,” added Fisher.“We needed high-resolution images of the coral colonies that are scattered across these communities and that range in size from a small houseplant to a small shrub. With the cameras on board the ROV we were able to collect beautiful, high-resolution images of the corals,” said Fisher. “When we compared these images with our example of known oil damage, all the signs were present providing clear evidence in two of the newly discovered coral communities of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.” Read more here.  

Posted in Conservation, Corals, Fish, Invertebrates, Science, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Human Induced Feed Loop is Cause for Coral Decline

A new study performed by a San Diego State University team adds to the conversation about commercial fishing and inhabited islands around the Pacific. Many recent studies have shown how the presence of humans on an island, and in this case the act of commercial fishing along shores, can cause dramatic changes to surrounding reefs. “Corals are fierce competitors for space on the reef,” Add’s lead author Linda Kelly. “In a healthy marine environment, reefs support a vibrant population of corals and other calcifying organisms that continuously build the reef skyward.”Coral algae reef Human Induced Feed Loop is Cause for Coral Decline
Kelly and her team sampled surface water from 22 reefs on 11 atolls just south of Hawaii, sequencing millions of DNA from bacteria, viruses, and protists. What she and her team found was that specific bacteria can determine the amount of coral cover vs the amount of algae cover on a reef. Identifying which microorganisms influence key factors on a reef like metabolic processes will contribute to the techniques and approaches used in reef conservation. 
“How do you create an environment for corals to thrive?” Kelly asked. “In addition to practicing sustainable fishing, one way to rehabilitate a reef would be to transplant corals to the site. This should promote an environment more conducive to coral growth by fostering a beneficial community of microorganisms.” Read more here and get the full publication here!

Posted in Conservation, Corals, Science, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reefs.com 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.