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Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

A recent study revealed that mosquitofish and college students might poses the same numerical skills. Not the strongest fight for academics, but a huge triumph for the fish. Several different lab experiments were conducted and the results were conclusive that the mosquitofish not only could count, but due to their craving for social interaction they sought out larger groups.

The fish were presented with different doors to venture through to find larger groups of their peers, and after a few rounds the fish were no longer randomly selecting the doors, they had actually learned which doors benefited them the most. In addition to being able to distinguish the separate doors, they were also able to understand ratios.

When the same challenges were presented to 25 undergraduate students, the students correctly solved them with more success than the fish, “but they did show the same degraded ability to judge number differences as ratios shifted from 2:3 to 3:4”.

This review is based on and quoted the National Geographic article Fish as Good as College Students in Numbers Test which was written based on the University of Padova’s Christian Agrillo’s study Large Number Discrimination by Mosquitofish

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

National Geographic News published a great article on the scientific reasoning for the never diminishing sharpness of sea urchin’s rock-crushing chompers. Researches used high-resolution x-ray imaging to discover that the urchin’s teeth are a combination of two types of calcite crystals that overlap in a crosswise pattern. The teeth peel away as they become weak exposing sharper layers. This discovery could potentially offer advancement for manmade tools that are not fully optimized.

Check out the National Geographic Ocean News Page for more in depth information.

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

A 1945 vintage submarine rescue ship, the USS Kittiwake was skillfully laid to rest this past week 62 feet underneath the surface. The 47 foot tall ship will be easily accessible to tourists and become desired real estate for the native marine life. The intention was to honor the ship that served ocean-bound divers and the U.S. Military by giving it a useful burial. Man made reefs are becoming increasingly more common which is great as some of our natural reefs are facing challenges. To find out more about the USS kittiwake’s journey, click here.

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Reeftools is committed to giving you the full scoop on all things reef even when they involve a little reef drama. Recently, Reef Builders published this story

We were contacted by some of our readers immediately after the story was published and asked for our opinion. We are a pretty laid back group here, and we are rarely concerned with what others are doing; free speech right? Hey, let people charge whatever they want, and the market will always end up reflecting true value.

After a few days, we received a copy of what seems to be an email trail between Mike of Sexy Corals and Jake Adams of Reef Builders. “Interesting,” we thought. The emails showed Jake trying to spin the initial post and pretend it was a marketing scheme. Mike from Sexy Corals seemed less than amused:

NOTE: we are reviewing an interesting point regarding these emails at this time. We’ll update this point shortly. For now, here is a link to a photo uploaded on a forum

Meanwhile, our source sent us this video.

So, we’re interested in hearing what people have to say about this issue? Pro Sexy Corals? Pro Jake? Don’t give a @#$#?

Bring it!

Monday, January 10th, 2011

The Georgia Aquarium is home to many unique opportunities and attractions for all ages, but on Valentine’s night the aquarium becomes an adults-only retreat. The aquarium, known for hosting sleepovers will be entertaining throughout the evening with cocktails, tasty treats and lectures. The theme of this years event is appropriately titled “Motions of the Oceans” and the sexual endeavors of the aquarium’s inhabitants will be the primary topic of interests.

Dr. Al Dove and Sr. Biologist Patricia Dove will be hosting the event’s educational section. After their presentation you are invited to spend the night at the Georgia Aquarium and enjoy exclusive behind the scenes access and in depth gallery tours. The night will end with you falling asleep in front of one of the many impressive exhibits.

For more information please visit the Georgia Aquarium’s event page.

Monday, January 10th, 2011

For years reef hobbyists have been fascinated by nano and pico aquariums. Their size enables them to be more affordable and easily placed, making it a great fit for most anyone looking to dive into the hobby. In the past, most setups needed to be retro-fitted with handcrafted lighting and filtration, but now you can buy full systems with high quality parts. the market has really grown and the research has made the concept very attainable. I addition to already being a lower power  consumption alternative to a huge reef tank, some manufacturers are going above and beyond to ensure that their products are truly eco-friendly. Pico Aquariums, a well known manufacturer of picos has taken several steps to ensure environmental soundness. They only ship using Carbon Neutral UPS methods and their online presence is brought to you via wind power. A different route, such as in the video would be to create your own system. This guy took a cookie jar and created a reef, so the possibilities are endless.

If you are interested in creating a pico/nano reef remember a few things:

  • Stocking a small tank can be challenging, but with the help of many great resources and forums you can almost always get input from those who have already mastered the process.
  • Lighting and filtration are going to greatly limit your options, so be prepared to settle on less-than-advanced livestock.
  • Less water equals greater need to monitor it closely, a small change can devastate a pico/nano reef.

With research comes great success.

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Jason deCares Taylor, a British artist had a unique vision for an underwater sculpture garden. His vision included sculpting 400 life-size figures out of reef-attracting materials and placing them 30 feet deep in the sea. The garden will create spaces for new corals to grow and reef inhabitants to thrive. The sculptures were casts of real people, and their life-like presence is haunting. In addition to people, he added furniture and accessories to create contrast and interest. Located on the ocean floor of Mexico’s Isla Mujeres National Marine Park the garden will attract many tourists and encourage a new reef to develop in the waters near Cancun. The work of art is appropriately titled “The Silent Evolution”.

This video is a great interview with the artist. Check it out and be astounded.

Friday, January 7th, 2011

In the late 1950s, researchers and conservationists realized that with heightened tourism and coral collection, our reefs were in real danger. It was then that the movement began to work on creating Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, a “safe space” that was protected by legislature. In 1963 the land base of the park opened to the public, but the reef had been explored for decades before that.

The reef can be seen via snorkeling, scuba diving, and glass bottom boat tours. Only a 60 mile drive from Miami makes Pennekamp Park a quick day trip and the journey down U.S. 1 is a chance to get a feel for what Florida’s early travelers must have experienced during their train rides south.

If you happen to find yourself in the area be sure to pay tribute to one of our best kept reef parks. If you’re not into the underwater scene, there are plenty of attractions to keep a land-bound guest happy. Three nature trails, a 30,000 gallon aquarium, exhibits, and a theatre. There is something for everyone to explore.

Friday, January 7th, 2011

The long awaited Shark Conservation Act has finally become a law. President Obama signed the act which created tighter regulations on the loopholes that allowed “non-fishing” vessels to still capture and “fin” sharks. The practice of finning involves catching sharks, cutting off their fins, and throwing them back in the ocean to slowly die.

The act should work on multiple levels to protect sharks and to eliminate the United State’s personal collection and consumption of fins. In addition to putting a stop to fining for all but one U.S. company. The Carolina’s Dogfish Fishery will still have fishing abilities, but this was a compromise that needed to be made in order to get the act pushed through. The fishery only account for one percent of all U.S. shark fishing.

The key points of the act that differs from the previous act are:

  • Fisherman will be required to keep the bodies of the sharks on board, which due to their lack of useful value and their weight, will force fisherman to decrease shark fishing.
  • The U.S. will block seafood imports from countries that allow shark finning.

This act is only the first step in what will hopefully be many steps to end shark fishing. As the largest predator in the sea, sharks play a very important role in keeping our oceans ecologically balanced.

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

With the recent cold spells sweeping through Florida a lot more than produce crops have suffered. The climate changes have left the once moderately warm coastal waters dangerously chilled. The Ocean Reefs and Aquariums Team opened up their facilities to house sea turtles. In addition to rescuing and caring for the stunned creatures, they tagged and collected data prior to releasing them back into the wild. It is amazing to see a leader in the industry stepping up to the plate. Thanks a ton ORA for your conservation efforts.

The ORA Team has been keeping us up-to-date on their turtle rescue mission via Facebook and Flickr. For more information be sure to check them out.

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