Posts Tagged ‘coral’

Sunday Nature Ramble

This week our ramble takes us to the sea. Coral reefs, in particular.

A pest previously found only in aquariums and reef projects has migrated to the wild. How? Did man have a hand in the migration of this nasty?

Nasty aquarium pest found in the wild

The flatworms take small bites out of the coral tissue and lay eggs directly onto its surface (Source: Marc Levenson)

A coral-eating flatworm that is a notorious pest in aquariums has for the first time been found in the wild – on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The find is reported today in the journal PLOS ONE.

The flatworm, Amakusaplana acroporae, is a voracious predator of Acropora coral, and is capable of killing off entire colonies of the reef-forming coral.

“They take small bites of the coral tissue and also lay eggs directly onto the coral and when those eggs hatch then you’ve got 20 new worms that are also eating the coral,” says marine biologist Jessica Stella, of James Cook University in Townsville.

She says for the past 10 years the worm has plagued aquariums and reef restoration projects but has never before been found in the wild.

The worm is only about a centimetre long and almost transparent, which could be one reason why it’s been so hard to find, says Stella.

“They are so well camouflaged against their coral host,” she says. “When it’s laying on a coral host you can hardly see it.”

But now, with the help of Dr Kate Rawlinson of Dalhousie University in Canada, Stella has found the worm on Acropora coral taken from Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

Source: ABC Science Read more

Amakusaplana acroporae

Image:ReefNews

Anything goes, when it comes to money

Greenpeace finds corals at Shell’s proposed Arctic drilling site

The soft coral species known as the Sea Raspberry (Gersemia sp.) © Jiri Rezac / Greenpeace

 

Greetings from the Chukchi Sea, way up in the Arctic north of Alaska, where the team aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza is using a small submarine to study the seafloor in the area Shell hopes to begin drilling for oil this summer. During what we believe to be the first research submarine dives ever in the Chukchi Sea, we were surprised to discover large numbers of corals in the midst of Shell’s proposed drill site.

Shell says it knew the corals are there, telling the Washington Post that corals make up nearly 4% of the marine life at the bottom of the Chukchi. To put that in perspective, the South Florida reefs I studied for my masters thesis– and which attract divers from thousands of miles away – often have about 4% coral cover. Personally, I was definitely not expecting corals to be one of the three most commonly seen species on our dives, along with brittle stars and baskets stars.

Corals are slow growing, long lived, and highly vulnerable to disturbance. They provide habitat for fish and other marine life, often serving as nursery areas for larvae or juveniles. Both the United Nations and the US Government have recognized the importance of protecting corals.

All of this raises questions why there is no mention of Chukchi corals in the environmental impact statement for Shell’s drilling plans. Coral experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration do not appear to have been consulted. The public was not informed. You would think the Department of Interior, which oversees the permitting of offshore drilling, would have learned from the BP Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead of moving beyond fiascos like the Gulf assessment which talked about walrus and other Arctic species, it appears little has changed and that environmental impact statements are still treated as little more than bureaucratic requirements to rush through on the way to rubber stamping the next item on Big Oil’s wish list. (my red emphasis)

Source: GreenpeaceBlogs Read more

Opinion:

These corporations will stoop to anything in their greed for profits.

This omission should be prosecuted, and the fine should be BILLIONS!

To show that this bullshit will not be accepted.

 

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