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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:

Fishing Line and “No-Take” Zones Studied to Combat Coral Disease

Coral CoE is at it again trying to understand how human impact can effect change on coral reefs around the globe. Studying marine reserves in and around the Great Barrier Reef scientists “surveyed more than 80,000 corals around the Whitsunday Islands for six different diseases that commonly harm reef corals around the world.” -Lead researcher, Dr Joleah Lamb from Coral CoE. What they found was that areas protected from human activity (no-take marine reserves) had a much lower amounts of indigenous disease, and that coral actually have increased rates of health.150602130652_1_900x600“We found three coral diseases were more prevalent on reefs outside no-take marine reserves, particularly on reefs with high levels of injured corals and discarded fishing line. Fishing line not only causes coral tissue injuries and skeleton damage, but also provides an additional surface for potential pathogens to colonize, increasing their capacity to infect wounds caused by entangled fishing line,” added Dr Lamb. “No take marine reserves are a promising approach for mitigating coral disease in locations where the concentration or intensity of fishing effort is relatively high,” says Professor Garry Russ from the Coral CoE. Read more here!… More:

CMAS Frag Swap 2015

My Facebook Page: In this CoralFish12g video I take a trip to the CMAS, Chicago Marine Aquarium Society Frag Swap. There were a lot of vendors and plenty of people to meet. Marc Levenson was the guest speaker and it was overall a very cool event.

Early Success with a Halichoeres Wrasse!

Figure 1. Halichoeres melanurus egg on a 1 mm SedgewickRafter cell. Here at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab we’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to work in a field we’re truly passionate about. That passion inspires me to not only work on captive breeding of marine species here at work, but to also explore other fish by working from home. I’m pleased to announce that the first project I’ve taken on as an at-home aquaculturist resulted in the successful captive rearing of the melanurus wrasse, Halichoeres melanurus, using only cultured prey items. Although only a few fish were brought through metamorphosis, survival should be higher when larvae are raised in the controlled environment of a dedicated facility as opposed to the chaos of a household living room. I strongly believe this fish, and others in this genus, will have significant commercial potential. We now have broodstock at the Tropical Aquaculture Lab because of this early success. The work done so far will stand as strong supportive evidence to move forward with other wrasses as well.

Cute Babies Turned into Cuter Sea Creatures

Ok, someone just turned the cuteness factor way up. Anne Geddes, a photographer well-known for her creative and adorable baby portraits, has created the best baby calendar in the world. Simply titled the “Under the Sea”, it features 12 unique scenes that have babies dressed up as mermaids, sea turtles, hermit crabs, nudibranchs, and even coral polyps. But it’s not just the babies that got all dressed up. The scenery created also involved a lot of work and planning. Each backdrop was handcrafted with such detail so as to truly capture the marine environment. We have never seen such aquatic cuteness all in one place.According to the video above from ET Now, the calendar photoshoot took nearly a year of planning and pre-production, 12 days of shooting, 20 babies, and probably a ton of patience. But this isn’t Anne’s first rodeo.

Corals Stir up Their Own Cocktails

A new paper published by MIT has provided a deeper understanding into how coral utilize their external cilia in respiratory and metabolic processes. “These microenvironmental [findings] are not only important, but also unexpected,” says Roman Stocker, an associate professor at MIT and senior author of the paper.  “The general thinking has been that corals are completely dependent upon ambient flow, from tides and turbulence, to enable them to overcome diffusion limitation and facilitate the efficient supply of nutrients and the disposal of dissolved waste products,” adds Orr Shapiro, co-first author of the paper. “I was expecting that this would be a smooth microworld, there would be not much action except the external flow.” said Stocker. However, upon closer, microscopic inspection, he and his team found that it is in-fact “very violent.”140901211419-large“It appears that most if not all [coral] have the cilia that create these flows. The retention of cilia through 400 million years of evolution suggests that reef corals derive a substantial evolutionary advantage” Said Shapiro, and “It’s rare that you have a situation in which you see cilia on the outside of an animal,” adds Stocker. David Bourne, a researcher at the Australian Institute of Marine Science who was not connected with this research, says the work has “provided a major leap forward in understanding why corals are so efficient and thrive. … We finally have a greater understanding of why corals have been successful in establishing and providing the structural framework of coral reef ecosystems.” Read more here!More:

Rising Tide Intern Joe Frith

Hello 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

“Like Something Out of a Nightmare”

There are two Academy groups currently in the Philippines for the 2014 Biodiversity Expedition: one from Research, and the other from the Aquarium. Though we’re staying at different locations, we collaborate when we can, like tonight. It all started with a 90-minute night dive at Anilao Pier to try to collect a Bobbitt worm—a creature that lives in the sand, has jaws like a bear trap, and might be several meters long. It shoots up with lightning speed to catch fish and other animals, yanking them down into the muck like something out of a nightmare. In the 1990s, Academy Senior Curator Terry Gosliner named the Bobbitt worm after Lorena Bobbitt (and her legendary attack on her husband), and Academy crews have been trying to collect this animal both for display and for our preserved collection ever since. One look at the photo shows you why catching this animal isn’t easy, but take a look at this video for an even better demonstration. Tonight’s effort was unsuccessful, though I did get my hand on one of the worms—yes, my hand. My wife is less than thrilled about these attempts, but she understands that we have to do what we have to do for science. More efforts are planned, and hopefully there will be success. Hopefully. After the worm hunt, there was a party—a party that started without us. Apparently it began with a whole roast pig (enjoyed by both Research and Aquarium Staff), but by the time the worm hunters arrived, things had changed drastically. Let’s just say that while there was still much fun to be had, there wasn’t much pig. Expeditions like this are an amazing amount of work, similar to running a triathlon. Instead of the events being swimming, running, and biking, the events are collection, processing, and animal care. The endurance needed to put out so much energy every single day is huge, but it’s also incredibly fulfilling when everything’s going well. Tonight’s party was a short break from the draining but rewarding work of the expedition … and the only picture I can find of the event is this one of me gnawing on a pig’s head. Ah, science—we love you. —Rich Ross, Aquatic Biologist 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.