Posts Tagged ‘coral reefs’

Goodbye to Belize

Goodbye to Belize

[The final post in our Belize series from the New York Times Scientist at Work blog]: Tuesday, July 10 As the days tick away, so do our last hopes of finding social shrimp. We came to Carrie Bow to collect two types of eusocial shrimp, each living in colonies with a single queen and dozens […]

Demise of reefs in Belize? Coda

Demise of reefs in Belize? Coda

[I was happy to receive a lot of comments on our most recent blog post from the field in the New York Times. Since the space available to respond to those comments on the NYT site is limited, I’ve elected to do so here.] Thanks to all for your comments. I have always considered myself […]

Reef Reminiscences: The way coral reefs were

Reef Reminiscences: The way coral reefs were

What was the world like back in the day? Are the fantastic stories all just legends? With the notable exception of Jacques Cousteau, few people were taking pictures of the undersea world a few decades ago, not only because the technology was more difficult and expensive and less available, but also because we tend to […]

Belize field log 2012: Witness to a murder

Belize field log 2012: Witness to a murder

[The fourth installment, and I’ll confess my favorite, in our New York Times “Scientist at Work” field log.] Sunday, July 8 As the sun breaks the horizon, I sit in a wooden chair at the edge of the backreef, an eye on the weather horizon, gratefully sipping the first strong coffee and gauging what the […]

Belize field log 3: Journey to the center of the reef

Belize field log 3: Journey to the center of the reef

[The third installment in our New York Times “Scientist at Work” field log.] Collecting shrimp is a complicated business. I am not as seasoned as my colleagues, but I quickly learn how tedious it can be. After taking a photograph and estimating the volume of a sponge, we have to locate every shrimp inside. Synalpheus […]

Belize field log 2: Social breakdown on the reef

[The second installment in our New York Times “Scientist at Work” field log.] Wednesday, July 4 Our hunt yesterday produced a good haul of shrimp species, but, alas, none of the social ones we’re searching for. I worked with my former Ph.D. student, Tripp McDonald, long into the night identifying the shrimp. Though little known […]

Belize 2012 field log 1: Snapping Shrimps and Hidden Sponges

[Our team has just returned from a 10-day research trip to the Belize Barrier Reef, searching for social sponge-dwelling shrimp in a long-term study of these curious animals as models for understanding the evolution of altruism and cooperation. The New York Times “Scientist at Work” feature is posting updates from our field log. We reprint […]

Will this be the end of the Aquarius Reef Base?

Next week a team of aquanauts including Sylvia Earle will live and work underwater for 6 days inside “America’s Inner Space Station” aka the Aquarius Reef Base. It’s the world’s only undersea research station and its future is looking shaky – unless new funding is found the station will be closed. In an effort to […]

Consensus statement on climate change and coral reefs

This comes from the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, meeting in Cairns this week. I think the statement is largely accurate, although it exaggerates threats to corals from local factors like fishing and pollution.  The second phrase of the final sentence (in bold) is demonstrably false; “A concerted effort to preserve reefs for the future […]

New science indicates climate change is the primary threat to coral reefs

Like so many other ecosystems, coral reefs are being greatly impacted by climate change. Greenhouse gases are trapping excess heat from the sun, and more than anything, are warming the oceans from tropical reefs to deep polar seas. Reef corals are sensitive to small amounts of warming. An increase of just a degree or two […]

Good news for the Coral Sea

It’s been announced that Australian waters will soon be home to the world’s second largest no-take marine reserve. Half a million square kms of the Coral Sea will be out of bounds to the oil & gas industry as well as fisheries – it will include around one third of the coral reefs in the […]

Coral microbes – the movie!


Giant headbutting fish

The world’s biggest parrotfish – the bumphead parrotfish Bolbomepoton muricatum – have been caught on camera for the first time headbutting each other. [vimeo][/vimeo] The finding was published in the open access PlosOne (so go have a read) and as Roldan Muñoz and his colleagues point out, the only way they got to observe this crazy behaviour […]

Corals and their housekeeping mutualists or the importance of having a diverse group of friends

This is a guest post by Dr Adrian Stier Coral reefs are among the most species rich ecosystems on earth, but what most people don’t know is that the majority of reef biodiversity is housed inside the reef. Indeed, in the South Pacific, a coral the size of a basketball can house over 50 different […]

New underwater sculptures from Jason de Caires Taylor

Underwater sculptor Jason deCaries Taylor has unveiled pictures of his latest works at the MUSA (the Museo Subacuático de Arte) in Cancun, Mexico. They include this stunning piece called Phoenix.                         As Jason says: Constructed from high strength pH-neutral cement and incorporating tensile stainless steel […]

New evidence for catastrophic loss of coral reef sharks

“[The] density of reef sharks has declined to 3–10% of baseline levels” This is the take-home finding from one of two new papers that help clarify just how much reef shark populations have declined. Nadon et al. 2012, Re-creating missing population baselines for Pacific reef sharks, just came out in the journal Conservation Biology. The team used a new database […]

Coral reef grazing in Palau

From Peter Mumby’s Spatial Ecology Lab at UQ [vimeo][/vimeo]

Sun coral


In search of sharks and mermaids

That was Abel Valdivia’s talk title at #BEM2012 (not really). He just posted a nice piece on The Abaco Scientist (AKA Dr Craig Layman) explaining a poster he gave recently on his work that Iv’e reposted without permission below.  Thanks Craig and Abel! I am currently a PhD graduate student in the John Bruno Lab […]

Charles on Chagos 2

A team of researchers has spent the last month in the Chagos archipelago – the first full scientific expedition to the region since it was declared a no-take marine protected area in 2010. In part 2 of our Seamonster interview with Prof. Charles Sheppard we find out more about his latest trip to study the stunning […]

Charles on Chagos

A team of scientists are coming to the end of an expedition to the Chagos archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It’s the first full scientific expedition to visit the area since the islands and reefs were declared a no-take marine protected area in April 2010. These are without a doubt some of […]

A new form of metazoan reproduction is discovered by AIMS scientists

I reviewed this paper and have been waiting anxiously for it to appear in print so I could share this remarkable discovery. In short, Dr Andrew Heyward and Dr Andrew Negri of the Australian Institute of Marine Science discovered that coral embryos can survive being broken apart into two small clusters of cells. The two new […]

Drowning out the truth about the Great Barrier Reef

Below is a repost of an article by Dr Ove Hoegh-Guldberg in The Conversation.  One of the most straightforward climate change storylines is the link between global warming and coral reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef. When our reef waters get too warm, corals sicken (bleach), often causing disease and death. And when the corals go, […]

And for my next trick… inflatable corals

[youtube][/youtube] Pim Bongaerts from the University of Queensland came up with the  idea of bringing a solitary mushroom coral into the lab, covering it in sand, and filming it trying to escape. Here it is, puffing its way out. Ingenious and beautiful. Question: does it make whooppee cushion noises as it does it? (they don’t mention […]