Tag Archives: Coral

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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:

Neptune Systems Par Monitoring Kit

neptune systems PMK
Neptune Systems is pleased to announce that it will begin shipping its new Par Monitoring Kit, priced at $299.95, to North America next month. For more information, go to: https://www.neptunesystems.com/pmk/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!… More:

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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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!… More:

Light Pollution and the Effects on Marine Coastal Environments

A bit of a duality was discovered when researchers from the Universities of Exeter and Bangor in the UK studied light pollution around coastal settlements. What they found was that light pollution from human coastal settlements can effect change in the ecological flow of marine coastal environments by both inhibiting and inducing colonization of specific invertebrates. 150429090144_1_900x600Dr Tom Davies from the Environment and Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall adds: “We know that artificial light at night alters the behavior of many marine animals but this is the first study to show that it can disrupt the development of ecological communities in the marine environment. Further research is urgently needed to assess what level of light can be considered ‘safe’ so that legislation can be put in place to minimize future light pollution from new and existing developments.” Read more here!… More:

First Invasive Lionfish Found in Brazilian Waters

Thats right folks the infamous Caribbean species has made its way all the down the coast to Brazilian waters. A single lionfish was speared off the coast and a team of researchers including scientists from the California Academy of Sciences confirmed species analysis through DNA testing. A massive focus has been placed on the finding while scientists urge for a swift intervention plan: “For the past 20 years, invasive lionfishes have been restricted to the Caribbean,” says Luiz Rocha, PhD, Academy curator of ichthyology.fig1 “This new record shows us that lionfishes are capable of reaching far into other areas of the Atlantic, and other countries should be on guard, preparing for them to arrive.” The effort to stem invasion includes minds from all over the globe because the species (Pterois volitans) is particularly aggressive and can consume just about any an reef fish that will fit into its mouth. Rocha adds: “Brazilian fishes are being hit from all sides,” says Rocha. “Overfishing and habitat degradation are pervasive, and not even the most basic fisheries data are being collected. The best—and easiest—way to control an invasion is by trying to slow it down at the start.” Read more here.… More:

Bringing the Lab to the Reef

Technology is ever-present in the lab as well as the hobby of reef keeping but scientists from Europe are now going to be taking their instruments directly into the field, or reef I should say. To better understand coral metabolism and respiration researchers from Denmark will be deploying remote operated vehicles (ROV) and high-resolution cameras to help them deploy lab equipment and take measurements. “Traditionally the metabolism of cold-water reefs are typically investigated by collecting animals and analyzing them in a laboratory. Preferably, however, researchers would like to do the opposite, and bring the laboratory to the seabed, where the reef can be studied in its own environment. Since cold water reefs grow incredibly slowly — about 5 mm per year — and are fragile habitats, we were looking at novel techniques that could be used on a reef to asses metabolism with little impact on the reef structures,” says Dr. Lorenzo Rovelli, Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), visiting researcher at the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution (NordCEE), Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark.150506111513_1_900x600 Employing a method termed ‘Aquatic Eddy Covariance’ the team will be able to simultaneously measure oxygen content and flow. “We are particularly interested in finding out how much carbon is being turned over by a reef — and by that I mean the whole reef community. The community consists of the corals, which are the engineers behind the reef structure, as well as all the other organisms that inhabit the reef: from large crabs to microscopic organisms. Currently, we still do not know if and to what extent such reefs are contributing to the global carbon budget.” Read more here!… More:

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