Coral-reefs

news.nationalgeographic.com
Coral Reefs Doing Better Than Expected in Many Areas
A new study found "bright spots" where corals are thriving, despite global bleaching events.

Some positive news to start off the week right!

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In the Ruins of the First Kings.

Tumblr humans! Hello! I’ve been very busy with still unannounced comicbook work but, during every little bit of free time I had, I worked on this short story. This is not for any publication. This is just comics for comics’ sake and It’s the most refreshing thing I’ve done in a long time. It’s a love letter to nature,  to the tropics, to coral reefs, and to comics themselves. 

If you liked it at all, give it a share, or let me know what you thought. Help this little story get out into the world. 

-Daniel

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What is bottom trawling?

Bottom trawling is an industrial fishing method where a large net with heavy weights is dragged across the seafloor, scooping up everything in its path – from the targeted fish to the incidentally caught centuries-old corals. Bottom trawls are used in catching marine life that live on the seafloor, such as shrimp, cod, sole and flounder. In the US, bottom trawling occurs on the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts, capturing more than 800,000,000 pounds of marine life in 2007. Bottom trawls are also commonly used by other fishing nations and on the high seas.

Why is it a problem?

Bottom trawling is unselective and severely damaging to seafloor ecosystems. The net indiscriminately catches every life and object it encounters. Thus, many creatures end up mistakenly caught and thrown overboard dead or dying, including endangered fish and even vulnerable deep-sea corals which can live for several hundred years. This collateral damage, called bycatch, can amount to 90% of a trawl’s total catch. In addition, the weight and width of a bottom trawl can destroy large areas of seafloor habitats that give marine species food and shelter. Such habitat destructions can leave the marine ecosystem permanently damaged.

via: Marine Conservation Institute // graphic: charitysub.com // photo: Brian Skerry

IMPRESSIVE NEW FLASHER WRASSES SPECIES FOUND IN THE INDO-PACIFIC

The species in the genus Paracheilinus are appropriately called flasher wrasses (or simply flashers), and they are very closely related to fairy wrasses of the genus Cirrhilabrus. This common name is derived from their grandeur “flashing” behavior observed during courting or mating where the male will make quick, exaggerated lateral moves while intensifying his colors and erecting his fins to attract a mate.

               Paracheilinus xanthocirritus Currently known from the South China Sea at the Anambas Islands, Indonesia  In the picture, two nuptial male Paracheilinus xanthocirritus

                  Paracheilinus paineorum with a wide distribution throughout central Indonesia  in the picture a male courting female (left)

                    Paracheilinus alfiani is currently known only from the type locality on the northern coast of Lembata Island in the Lesser Sunda Group of Indonesia

Just like trees, corals accumulate rings as they grow. This is a cross-section of a deep sea coral, glowing purple under ultraviolet light. 

Just like trees, coral growth changes based on temperature, light and nutrient availability – and these fluctuations are reflected in their growth rings. Scientists can use these cross-sections to study past ocean climate!

(via Coral Growth Rings | Ocean Portal | Smithsonian)

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Reimagined Ecosystems

Coral reefs come in many shapes, sizes and colours. Not only are they important to the oceans, but to the environment as a whole. Acting as the ‘rainforests of the sea’, coral reefs are home to a large array of diverse animals and plants, as well as being natural breakwaters which help to minimize the impact and damage from natural disasters such as cyclones. Coral reefs are not only beautiful, they are essentially life-sustaining, providing shelter for animals, which then feed people living near the reefs.

Artists that look to reefs for inspiration in their work include Courtney Mattison and Jane Ladan.

In Mattison’s show Our Changing Seas III, the artist creates large scale ceramic coral reef sculptures, some white and some coloured, in order to show the effects that global warming has on the reefs. The vibrant reefs begin to be swallowed up by the bleached, dying reefs. The artist hopes that her work can influence others to act fast to protect the reefs while there is still time to save the living ones, and hopefully restore the bleached reefs to their once vibrant and life-sustaining selves.

Jane Ladan works with the colours of these reefs to create her wearable art. The Mauritius-born artist, who is based in Ottawa, creates works that celebrate the rich colours and textures that are found in nature. She also uses Mauritius’ unique cultural blend, with influences coming from countries such as China and India, and its environment, mixing exotic flowers with undersea foliage, to help shape how she expresses herself creatively.

Where Mattison creates work to encourage preservation, Ladan creates work with a similar theme, in the sense that the beauty of her pieces should be seen as a reminder of the beauty of all natural things; in order to keep appreciating this beauty, we must do our part to help preserve it.

-Anna Paluch

For the first time, biologists have caught a rare type of coral in the act of reproducing, and they were able to collect its sperm and eggs and breed the coral in the laboratory.

The success is part of an effort to stem the decline in many types of coral around the world.

To understand how this works, you need to know that coral reefs are actually colonies of tiny organisms encased in hard skeletons. In many kinds of coral, the whole colony reproduces at once, in a spectacular event called “broadcast spawning.” Males eject clouds of sperm into the water, and then females do the same with eggs. The sea creatures cross their fingers (or whatever the coral equivalent of that is) and hope for the best

Scientists Catch Up On The Sex Life Of Coral To Help Reefs Survive

Photo Credit: Joe Berg/Way Down Video/Mote

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At first, Colorado based artist Courtney Mattison, who describes herself as a visual learner, began sculpting her elaborate works inspired by sea creatures as a better way of understanding them. But over time, her love and admiration for these organisms evolved into a message about their well being and preservation. Previously featured here on our blog, Mattison hopes that her ceramic sculptures and installations, based on her own photographs of different organisms living in coral reefs, will inspire others to appreciate the beauty of the ocean as she does. 

See more on Hi-Fructose.

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The Beauty of Life in Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are the most diverse of all marine ecosystems. They team with life, with about one quarter of all ocean species depending on reefs for food and shelter. This is a remarkable statistic when you consider that reefs cover just a tiny fraction (less than one percent) of the earth’s surface and less than two percent of the ocean bottom. Because they are so diverse, coral reefs are often called the rainforests of the sea.

Coral reefs are also very important to people. The value of coral reefs has been estimated at 30 billion U.S. dollars and perhaps as much as 172 billion U.S. dollars each year, providing food, protection of shorelines, jobs based on tourism, and even medicines.

Coral reefs are in dramatic decline and some coral are on the brink of extinction. One of the ten focal EDGE (evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered) coral reefs species, the elkhorn coral, has undergone an 95% decline in the shallow Caribbean reefs in the past thirty years (last picture).

Source 1, 2

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In honour of World Oceans Day – a day on which we celebrate what covers 71% of our planet.

And the world’s oceans and coasts could really use some celebrating: They provide half of the oxygen we breathe, food and livelihoods for millions around the globe, medicines to treat disease and even protection from coastal hazards.

Here’s 10 ways to protect our coral reefs brought to you by one of my favourite groups, the Nature Conservatory

Coral Reefs of the Tropics

You Can Make a Difference

10 EASY STEPS TO HELP PROTECT CORAL REEFS

Do you want to make a difference every day? Want to learn about simple, effective actions you can take to help save coral reefs and the fish, animals, and plants that depend on them? You’ve come to the right place!

  1. Conserve water: The less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater will pollute our oceans.
  2. Help reduce pollution: Walk, bike or ride the bus. Fossil fuel emissions from cars and industry raise lead to ocean warming which causes mass-bleaching of corals and can lead to widespread destruction of reefs.
  3. Use only ecological or organic fertilizers: Although you may live thousands of miles from a coral reef ecosystem, these products flow into the water system, pollute the ocean, and can harm coral reefs and marine life.
  4. Dispose of your trash properly: Don’t leave unwanted fishing lines or nets in the water or on the beach. Any kind of litter pollutes the water and can harm the reef and the fish.
  5. Support reef-friendly businesses: Ask the fishing, boating, hotel, aquarium, dive or snorkeling operators how they protect the reef. Be sure they care for the living reef ecosystem and ask if the organization responsible is part of a coral reef ecosystem management effort.
  6. Plant a tree: Trees reduce runoff into the oceans. You will also contribute to reversing the warming of our planet and the rising temperatures of our oceans. Help us Plant a Billion.
  7. Practice safe and responsible diving and snorkeling: Do not touch the reef or anchor your boat on the reef. Contact with the coral will damage the delicate coral animals, and anchoring on the reef can kill it, so look for sandy bottom or use moorings if available.
  8. Volunteer for a coral reef cleanup: You don’t live near a coral reef? Then do what many people do with their vacation: visit a coral reef. Spend an afternoon enjoying the beauty of one of the most diverse ecosystems on the Earth.
  9. Contact your government representatives: Demand they take action to protect coral reefs, stop sewage pollution of our oceans, expand marine protected areas and take steps to reverse global warming.
  10. Spread the word: Remember your own excitement at learning how important the planet’s coral reefs are to us and the intricate global ecosystem. Share this excitement and encourage others to get involved. Send a free coral reef e-card today

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