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Coral

This category contains 30 posts
Red Crown-of-Thorns Starfish eating coral. Author Matt Kieffer, Flickr. No modifications made. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/3016449061 Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Small MPAs: the new all-you-can-eat buffets?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation tool and are in many situations very effective. Unfortunately, as with many plans, there may be some unintended consequences, as seen in the case of small MPAs in Fiji, where they appear to have attracted corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acanthaster spp.). Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

Soft coral dominated reef. Author: Matt Kieffer. Source: Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/15439205306)

Hard Coral or Macroalgae? Coral Reefs May Have Another Option

Most of the time coral reef communities are discussed, it seems the focus is whether they’re dominated by hard coral or algae. It turns out there may be other possible outcomes for reefs in the future. Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

Figure 2: 3D-image of a coral reef in HI presented in a detailed presentation about monitoring the change of a reef area via SfM. The video is  available to watch for free on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/140017194

Ocean mapping on a budget

The seafloor is complex and mapping it is difficult because direct observations are hindered because it is underwater. Scientists have developed field methods and remote sensing methods to model the geomorphology of the seafloor but they are either limited spatially or by resolution. A newer method being applied to seafloor mapping is called Structure from Motion, and its low cost and high resolution may play a big role in future projects regarding ocean exploration. Read more to find out how scientists used it to increase the accuracy of rugosity measurements on a Hawaiian coral reef.

Fig 5: Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico from Bunche Beach, Fort Myers, FL. Source: Rebecca Flynn. Please do not use this photo without permission of the author.

Giving Thanks for the Ocean: The gratitude of the writers

Today is the day after Thanksgiving, but I think the spirit of gratitude should live on. Many of the other writers wanted to share their gratitude for the ocean. Some waxed poetic, some pragmatic, but all spoke from a personal place. Yet the gratitude we feel for the ocean unifies all of us—not just the writers here at oceanbites but also the larger us, aka humans.

Figure 2: Picture of French Grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum) originally by Albert Kok. Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons

Grunts and Gnathiids: One Fish’s Daily Migration to Escape Parasites?

Animals move for a number of reasons. The French grunt leaves the coral reefs at night for seagrass. A group of scientists proposes and provides good evidence for why they might do that! Read on to discover whether they’re leaving to avoid being parasitized?

#globalwarming #itsbettertogether

Speed dating: how finding that special symbiosis saved some coral from climate change

Choosing the right symbiont might be a coral’s ticket to cheating global warming.

Couto_Jun_Cover

How badly do coral reefs and sharks need each other?

Overfishing threatens the populations of reef sharks that act as the top of the food chain on coral reefs. Their presence keeps the ecosystem in balance and without them, the reefs themselves are at risk of being overtaken by algae and losing much of the diversity they support. But is the story really that simple?

Coral fish

Changing with the environment: how resilient are coral reef fish?

Coral reef fish are some of the most sensitive animals to climate change. How will coral reef fish respond to predicted increases in temperature and carbon dioxide? Do they have the ability to adapt to future conditions or is it already too late?

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The importance of sea urchins

A look into Valeska’s graduate research. Why coral reefs depend on the long spined black sea urchin for survival.

Darwin

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin

207 years ago, a renowned naturalist and geologist was born; Charles Darwin. Today OceanBites is honoring Charles Darwin and his insatiable quest for knowledge by exploring some of his marine observations.

Cover

How to Stop Dragging Our Assets: The World’s First Fishery Habitat Quota

Setting limits on fish catch is standard practice in fisheries management. For the first time in history, limits on habitat damage was introduced in 2012 for the groundfish bottom trawl fishery in British Columbia. Was it successful? Read to find out!

Let me cover your ears! We’re going to make some noise! 
Photo Credit: GettyImages 
Hands from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spotted_Pufferfish_Arothron_meleagris_02.JPG

Small boats drowning out natural reef noise?

Don’t you hate when noises interfere with your daily activities and conversations? We create lots of noise in the environment and need to know more about it. Today’s oceanbites focuses on a study of man-made noise on coral reefs. Check it out!

Earth

Wake-up Call: Global Oceans in Big Trouble!

Our global oceans are in a state of crisis. A new report from the WWF paints a bleak picture: human interference has pushed the oceans to the brink of collapse. The health of marine organisms and the habitats they live in have become severely threatened by compounding factors such as pollution, overfishing and increased CO2 input. This situation is urgent and requires global awareness and swift action. The ocean is changing at a rapid pace before our eyes and we can no longer waste time.

http://www.sportdiver.com/article/news/global-reef-expeditions-assess-coral-reef-health

How a whole reef community’s response to OA is impacted by the individual responses of different players

Researchers from California used a unique ex situ experiment to monitor two near identical reef communities in different concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide to observe the unique responses of community members and their roles in the whole community response.

Figure 1: The three-spot damselfish (Stegastes planifrons). 
Photo Credit: Rebecca Flynn (yours truly!), British Virgin Islands August 2014. Please request permission before copying or otherwise distributing this photo.

Switching it up: When do predation and habitat control damselfish abundance?

Another tale of how the loss of predators due to overfishing might impact coral reefs, but this one has a twist! Instead of the emphasis being on who’s eating whom, prey fish behavior is the key to what happens to the corals! Learn more in today’s oceanbites!

Junior takes after his mother.

The benefits of warmer parents, and who’s your mama … when you’re a coral

Why some coral can take the heat better than others is in their DNA.

Fig. 1: Sponges. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sponges_in_Caribbean_Sea,_Cayman_Islands.jpg

Sponges Out of Control: Another Effect of Overfishing

When you think about threats to coral reefs, you don’t think “Sponges!”, do you? But you might come up with “overfishing.” While the overfishing of herbivorous (algae-eating) species has grabbed attention, we may need to consider the loss of sponge-eating fish too. Check out some new research that shows an increase in sponge-coral interactions where fishing activity is intense!

Fig. 2: Cold-water corals found in the deeper parts of the ocean (Source: NERC).

Consummate Corals: resilience in an acidifying ocean

Gloom and doom has been the dominant message associated with climate change. However, it is important to remember that when faced with change, not all species and ecosystems are created equal. Recently, researchers have found that several species of cold-water corals are quite resilient to ocean acidification.

Fig. 1. Microplastics. The penny can provide a sense of scale for how small these are! These are from the Great Lakes “Garbage Patch” but similar types and sizes are in the oceans. Both freshwater and marine ecosystems are at risk. Photo credit: 5gyres. Photo source: http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/12/new-concerns-about-plastic-pollution-in-great-lakes-garbage-patch/

Corals consume microplastics! Talk about an unhealthy diet!

The dangerous diet fad among marine organisms is spreading! New study shows corals consume microplastics.

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A new thermally tolerant species of algae is found!

Rising ocean temperatures threaten coral reefs, but a new thermal tolerant algae could help.

oceanbites photostream

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