A loggerhead sea turtle throws sand over a nest, concealing her eggs, on an index beach in Brevard County. (via FWCC)
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported a record number of green sea turtle nests counted on 26 "index" beaches this year. Conservation efforts appear to be paying off for this species in a big way. How big?
Anything it wants, of course! But seriously, it takes a lot of work and food. The website Aquatic Envy got behind-the-scenes access to Georgia Aquarium's titanic whale shark exhibit, including some special footage of feeding time.
To prologue his video, here is a snippet written by Chris Burgin of his awe-inspiring experience with the three gentle giants that grace Georgia Aquarium's main display tank.
What came next was one of the most enchanting moments I have ever personally witnessed. [...] As feeding time approached, the ventilation fans used to agitate the surface of the water in the middle of Ocean Voyager were turned off. We were told that the whale sharks were actually able to recognize this as an indication of an approaching feast. Our excitement built as we noticed that several animal care members were mounting the small inflatable rafts we had seen earlier with long feeding poles in hand. Suddenly it became readily apparent what the long ropes stretched lengthwise across the aquarium top were for. I was amazed to hear that each whale shark is trained to go to a specific rope during feeding time, to ensure that everyone is properly fed.
Read the full story at Aquatic Envy; It's a very well-written and fun read.
Porites Lobata corallite surface (top-left); Porites lobata spherulite (top-right); Acicular crystals (bottom).
'Tis the season for skeletons. Scientists are beginning to unravel the secrets of coral skeleton formation. A new research reveals that corals form different types of crystal throughout the day. In other words, the skeleton they grow during the day is different than what they grow at night.
A new study funded by NOAA finds that corals reefs may be able to cope with climate change better than past models have predicted but only if there are large reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, while reefs may persist, its biological diversity and function will be very different in the coming decades because not all organisms can adapt equally well. It's sad to think the reefs we know today may not be around for our children's children.
Sumida Aquarium in the Tokyo Sky Tree Town complex opened only 18 months ago but already boasts some of the world's most impressive aquatic displays. This garden eel exhibit is done on a massive scale so visitors can appreciate a big community of wormy fish ... 634 eels to be exact.
Acropora gemmifera encrusting form (left); Large colony of Acropora gemmifera with white tumor (growth anomaly) just below center of image (right).
Up until April 2013, there have been no historical reports of any Acropora species occurring around the Island of Hawai‘i, the southernmost island in the archipelago, nor were any observed in over 4,300 coral reef monitoring/research dives over the past 14 years.
The orange Montipora setosa of Craig Bagby is one of 23 coral species recently (and unsuccessfully) petitioned for ESA listing.
The National Marine Fisheries Service announced its 90 day findings on 23 corals recently petitioned for endangered listing. They concluded three species may warrant petitioned action but 20 corals did not. The three species will undergo further examination. The review process for the 20 species is considered closed.
Advanced Aquarist has learned that Mitch Carl will MC the upcoming Denver, CO MACNA 2014 dinner banquet. This is a "Richard Ross approved" speaker, so be prepared for one heck of an evening!
This video contains remarkable high-def underwater footage of the reef life at the Club Paradise Dive Resort in the heart of the Coral Triangle. If you love sea turtles, you'll love (or maybe hate) this video.
The video contains footage of divers hand-feeding and touching a protected sea turtle, which the commentator acknowledges as a discouraged activity (and may be subject to severe penalties in some locations). The divers in the video clearly demonstrate no malice or reckless behavior that can be construed as turtle harassment. The human-turtle interaction borders on magical. Nonetheless, it's best to leave sea turtles alone no matter how cute they are ... and this particular sea turtle is pretty damn cute.
Inhabiting underwater caves, this blind, venomous centipede-like crustacean liquefies its prey with venom similar to that of the rattlesnake.
Reef terraforming? New research shows corals produce a sulfur-based chemical that not only helps protect itself from heat stress but may actually alter local weather systems by encouraging cloud formation! Is there nothing these industrious little builders can't do?
Researchers Publish Study on Jellyfish Energy Consumption That Will Improve Bio-Inspired Robotic Designs
This bio-inspired robotic jellyfish, roughly the size of a man’s hand, was designed by Shashank Priya, professor of mechanical engineering, and a research team at the Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems, part of the Virginia Tech Institute
Virginia Tech College of Engineering researchers are part of a national study that has cracked how jellyfish move with the lowest cost of transport of any animal. The findings will be used as researchers continue to design bio-inspired jellyfish for the U.S. Navy.
The Green Machine is a UK aquarium shop specializing in planted aquariums. While we usually avoid blogging commercially-affiliated content, TGM's aquascaping work is truly spectacular and merits recognition (much like ADG's work in the United States). Case in point: Here is a comprehensive video detailing James Findley's latest nature aquarium, the "Crimson Sky Aquascape."
A new study helps shed light on why invasive lionfish are so successful in the Caribbean. Lionfish are invisible to small prey fish (and possibly predators too). Caribbean fish simply have not evolved to recognize the camouflage of these alien invaders.
A Clarion x Passer hybrid with perfect balance of Clarion orange pigmention and hallmark Passer patterns.
Clarions are rare in our hobby. Clarion x Passer angelfish are even more so. This exotic hybrid was recently collected by Cortez Marine, but not without some serious life-threatening drama.