An intriguing new publication has just been released, Ecotales from Kubulau: A Guide to he Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape. This guide was published by WCS Fiji and the Coral Reef Alliance. It is intended to raise awareness and show the importance of the plants and animals to local livelihoods, ecosystem functions and cultures, show casing the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape. It is a collection of stories from the elders of Kubulau who share their knowledge and described their associations with species for medicine, building materials, food, decorative arts and totem spirits.
Proceeds from the sale of the guide will directly support ecosystem management and community development in Kubulau. The guide is available at bookshops around Fiji and will be available online from the University of the South Pacific’s Bookcenter, www.uspbookcentre.com.
1 year after 205.8 million gallons of crude oil was released into the Gulf of Mexico test show the corals in the area are doing well. Oil was released for 3 months from the flowing well after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Charles Fisher of Penn State University led a research cruise finding evidence that some of the cold water corals my have been damaged by the oil spill.
A manned submersible Alvin made trips in the area in November of 2011 then again in December of 2011. During the December trip a time lapse camera was stationed to document how the corals repair or deteriorate in response to the oil spill. The camera ran through February in an area 20 miles from the spill site. Scientist have not observed any obvious physical damage to the resident communities and found that the corals were behaving normal with no signs of distress. It is unclear if the corals have experienced any genetic damage or other damages that are not easily observed in the under water conditions. Time will tell.
Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 at 10:14 am
I’m sure you are seeing the buzz around the Web about a new flatworm product that is claiming to kill acro eating flatworms. It was created by ZeoVit and is being marketed under the name FlatwormStop. I read about this product a couple of months back but it hasn’t been available in the United States, that I’ve seen. I believe it will be hitting the shelves in the next couple of weeks which would explain the media blitz. ZeoVit claims FlatwormStop is not harmful to fish or invertebrates and can be added directly to your display tank with no effect on corals. ZeoVit also claims this product protects acros by affecting their immune systems. The proof will come when we can test it! We would love to get some early feed back from our European Reefers that have had the opportunity to use this product. Please comment below with any positive and negative feedback.
Posted on Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 at 9:02 am
This video shows several still images of bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales playing together. These images were taken in two locations around the Hawaii Islands, where scientist witnessed the dolphins riding the nose of the humpback whales. It is reported that there were no signs of aggression and it seemed purely playful. It is also stated that both the dolphin and the whale seemed to participate in the playful game. This Bio Bulletin presented by the Museum’s Science Bulletins program presents the first recorded examples of this type of behavior.
Wendy Zukerman states in a recent article that carbon dioxide in the oceans acts like alcohol on fish. This sounds like a plus for the fish, but it turns out their inhibitions and judgments are distorted. I know, it’s hard to see this as being an issue until you live in world full of sharks and fish hooks. Imagine Taco Bell hiding a hook in that midnight drive through burrito! The article states that it is estimated that 2.3 million tones of human caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions find its way into the ocean each year. I’m guessing that is the equivalent of a case of beer or at least 10 Tanqueray and tonics a day. Some of the scientific types on the ReefTools forum are currently working on a formula to get me an exact CO2 to alcoholic conversion.
If you want to find the full story including the drunk fish antidote click here.
Professors Terry Hughes and Bob Pressey, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University are urging the Australian public to get be hind a Federal plan to convert close to a million square miles of Coral Sea into the largest marine park in the world. Currently less than .1% of the ocean is protected from environmental degradations such as overfishing, pollution and global warming. “The unsustainable by-catch of turtles, sharks and birds in ocean fisheries, and the rapid decline of large sharks from illegal finning, are major concerns worldwide. They warrant immediate intervention to prevent serious long-term damage,” Prof Hughes said.
In my web-reef-wandering I ran across one the most incredible aquarium videos that had to pass on to ReefTool readers. John Coppolino undoubtedly has a salty thumb. His acro and angel laden tank was added to Julian Sprung’s French release of Kiyoshi Endoh’s Angelfishes of the World. It has been stated that John’s angel collection is among the largest in the world with some of the rarest fish available.
One week day afternoon I had the opportunity to slip away from the desk and catch the tail end of a hurricane swell hitting the beach of Cape Canaveral. I could barely see other surfers in the distance leaving me alone with no competition for shoulder to head high sets in perfectly glassy waters. In between sets I would catch movement out of the corner of my eye followed by a splash off in the distance. After a few minutes of this I started getting a little creeped out, naturally. I caught the glimpse of a ray jumping out of the water and slamming down on the surface with a splash. I thought to myself how cool is this? I watched dozens of jumping rays in the next few minutes when I started thinking about Steve Irwin’s fatal experience. The man wrestled gators and teased rattle snakes only to fall pray to a chance encounter with a stingray barb to the chest. Suddenly a ray came shooting out of the water and slams back down 3 feet from the nose of my board! I watched the rest of the show from the beach.
In this video posted back in October of 2011, hundreds of rays can be seen jumping out of the water. The poster states these are Mobula Rays off of Isla Espiratu Santos near La Paz, located in the Sea of Cortez. This area is part of a federally decreed Flora and Fauna Protection Area and a United Nations Biosphere Reserve.
Tropical Marine Centre in Bristol has created a YouTube channel to upload images and video footage of interesting livestock as it becomes available. The channel is listed as TMCBristol’s channel consisting of 9 videos to date.