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Can VR oceanic experiences, replace the desire for private and public aquariums?

riftblogpierre1I spend a lot of time researching. In fact, it consumes the vast majority of my time. As a science fiction writer, I am always looking for new material. Research takes me to websites catering to underground conspiracy theorists, all the way up to online astrophysics courses offered by major universities. Often, it’s simply jumping from rabbit hole, to rabbit hole, chasing a lead of information until it either escapes, or ends up the premise of a book. I research the aquarium world with the same veracity. Everything from the social implications of keeping reef tanks, all the way down to ground breaking new methodologies. Since the start of the anti-aquarium movement, I’ve spent a lot of time hunting down information about societies’ views of marine aquariums. This includes both public and private tanks, and how humanity interprets the hobby. Are they viewed as educational and beneficial, or are they seen as animal and environmental abuse? MORE

Freed Aquarium Dolphin Spotted With Baby In Wild

dolphin-captive-wild-calf.adapt.1190.1A dolphin which was released into the wild in 2013 has been spotted in a pod of 55 dolphins off the coast of South Korea. More importantly, she was spotted with a baby at her side. The Indo-Pacific dolphin was known as Sampal when she was in captivity at the Jungman Pacific Land Marine Park in Jeju. She was also featured in a National Geographic article about whether it was possible to reintroduce captive animals into the wild.  Reintroducing captive animals into the wild has been a source of much controversy. There have been lots of studies attempting to capture the success and failure rate of reintroduced animals into the wild. MORE

World Wide Corals Visit

chalice corals WWC - reefs

Some stunning chalice corals

 This past weekend, we were at Reef-A-Palooza Orlando and decided to drop in to see Lou, Vic and the team at World Wide Corals. While I was looking at all of the beautiful displays and the World Wide Coral Farm I bumped into Frank Lim from Real Reef Rock.  These are a few shots that Frank and I took with our phones using a yellow filter to counteract the 20K lighting.  It’s pretty amazing how far along our camera phones have come.  If you’re ever in the Orlando area, I highly recommend stopping by their shop.  Plan to stay a while! MORE

Alaska SeaLife Center Using Ocean Water For Heat

img_4913_1_1_The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) has issued a release announcing the use of a CO2 refrigerant heat pump system, which will shift 98% percent of the centers heating use from fossil fuel to salt water. “This project reflects the core mission of the Alaska SeaLife Center “to generate and share scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine eco-systems,” said Darryl Schaefermeyer, ASLC Special Projects Director. “It illustrates the broad and tangible ways in which our day to day work can contribute to the long term health and sustainability of the City of Seward, the State of Alaska and the global community.” The system was in development for over seven years, and after completing two phases, water is pumped in from Resurrection Bay in order to heat the 120,000 square foot building. MORE

Terminal Phase Sleeping Stoplight Parrotfish

Terminal phase stoplight parrotfish under gorgonian. Sparisoma viride. Curacao, Netherlands Antilles. Unaltered/Uncontrolled. Medium Format (horizontal). Model Release: Not Applicable.Good morning all, do you remember my 10 deep-sea fish stamps from 2014? Well, I have more coming out, but this time instead of fish it will be all kinds of cool creatures, most found by our friends at the Smithsonian Institution. When I get the OK I will send them to you, but I am guessing that we will have to wait until they are officially released, stay tuned. I have a sleeping Stoplight Parrotfish for you all today that we found late at night underneath a swaying gorgonian. If you look carefully you will notice a bunch of brown blotchy spots all over the body, those are not there during the day, only at night. “Why?” you ask? Well, it’s a way to help them blend in, making themselves darker or a kind of camouflage if you will and itworks really well. Aimee and I love to seek out as many sleeping parrotfish as we can when night diving. Our goal is try to find those that are either the most hidden or those that lay out in plain sight, they really are amazing fish and super fun to watch. MORE

Newly Described Bryozoan Goby Filmed for the First Time

Bryozoan Goby (Sueviota bryozophila). Credit: Sascha/Lembeh Resort

Bryozoan Goby (Sueviota bryozophila). Credit: Sascha/Lembeh Resort

 Described just yesterday by Gerry Allen and coauthors, the brand new goby Sueviota bryozophila is a small but significant find for coral reef enthusiasts. This remarkable little fish evaded our attention up until now thanks to its remarkably effective camouflage against the coral-like animal it calls home. Now, for the first time, video of this amazing commensal relationship has been caught on film.MORE

Strange Sisters: the Peculiar Case of an Old Woman and an Aussie

The Blacktail or Old Woman Wrasse, Thalassoma ballieui, at Hanauma Bay, Hawaii. Credit: Bill Stohler

The Blacktail or Old Woman Wrasse, Thalassoma ballieui, at Hanauma Bay, Hawaii. Credit: Bill Stohler

 The genus Thalassoma is comprised of a diverse assemblage of large, reef-associated wrasses spread throughout the world’s tropical and subtropical waters. Included here are some of the most familiar, colorful and active labrids available to home aquarists—the Lunare Wrasse (T. lunare), the Banana Wrasse (T. lutescens), the Bluehead Wrasse (T. bifasciatum), and the unusual Bird Wrasses (“Gomphosus”). Aside from a handful of species with highly restricted distributions, most every species is regularly offered in the aquarium trade, but this isn’t so for the two most “primitive” members of the genus…
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Killer Whale Rescue In Russia

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There has been a lot of negative publicity concerning Russia and orca whales recently, but this story of killer whale rescue is welcome positive news. Four killer whales, including a small calf, were trapped in ice off the coast of Eastern Russia, in the Sea of Okhotsk, off of Sakhalin Island. It is unclear how the whales became trapped, but it was probably due to a cold front coming in overnight, which prevented the whales from being able to reach deeper water. The bay where the orcas became stuck was shallow and filled with large rocks and ice, which made use of a traditional boat to access the whales impossible. The crew from the the Russian Emergencies Ministry (EMERCOM) had to use a rowboat to access the whales. MORE


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