Glowing corals discovery in Red Sea


This video says about itself:

Glowing corals discovered in the Red Sea
24 June 2015

Corals that switch from green to deep red when exposed to ultraviolet light could provide a new toolkit for biomedical imaging.

From New Scientist about this:

24 June 2015

Glowing world of rainbow corals found in the Red Sea

There’s a fluorescent disco world in the Red Sea. An assortment of glowing corals has been discovered more than 50 metres down, outshining the monotone green varieties seen in shallower waters.

Jörg Wiedenmann of the University of Southampton in the UK and his team were surprised to see specimens with a red or yellow glow at depths of over 50 metres. “This could only be due to the presence of fluorescent pigments,” says Gal Eyal of the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Israel, a member of the team.

The lobed brain coral … changes colour from green to deep red when illuminated with ultraviolet light. Optical properties like this could be useful for biomedical imaging, for example to help highlight cell structures under a microscope, track cancer cells or screen new drugs.

Wiedenmann and his team want to find out why the corals produce the pigments. In shallow water, colours act as a sunscreen. But deeper down, where sunlight doesn’t penetrate, that can’t be the case. Yet the pigments must have a role since it takes a lot of energy to produce them.

The pigments might help the corals harvest energy from what little light is around, then feed it to symbiotic algae that provide them with energy-rich sugars. “The underlying mechanism is not understood,” says Wiedenmann. “Hopefully our future work can reveal their function.”

Corals also seem to be capable of other tricks. Although reefs are threatened by climate change, they are also able to put up a fight, sometimes evolving rapidly to adapt to their changing environment.

Journal reference: PLoS One, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128697

Coral reefs and climate change


This video says about itself:

Coral Reefs and Climate Change

22 June 2015

Join the Smithsonian Marine Station for a live webcast on Monday, June 22 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EST! We will be chatting with Smithsonian scientists working at our Carrie Bow Cay Field Station in Belize about working on this remote island and the future of coral reefs in the face of a changing climate. Submit your questions directly via through the Google+ platform or via Twitter using the hashtag #coralchat

New Zealand scientists voice concern over gagging on climate change. WELLINGTON, June 22 (Xinhua) — New Zealand scientists said Monday that government funding policies have effectively prevented them from making any serious input into the government’s climate change stance: here.

Save Florida corals


This video from the USA says about itself:

Coral Restoration Foundation, Planting staghorn corals

5 October 2013

Ken Nedimyer talks about the Coral Restoration Foundation’s coral nursery and how they plant staghorn corals on the reefs of Key Largo, Florida.

From Wildlife Extra:

1,600 Corals planted at Florida Keys Plantapalooza

To celebrate World Oceans Day divers from the Florida Keys-based Coral Restoration Foundation has planted 1,600 corals in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Some 70 divers sowed corals at six Upper Keys sites including Molasses Reef, Carysfort Reef, Grecian Rocks, Little Conch Reef, Snapper Ledge and Pickles Reef.

“It’s really important to get the corals out there in large amounts, but it’s also important because we’re involving a lot of the community,” said Kayla Ripple, the Coral Restoration Foundation’s coral nursery programme manager.

Staghorn corals are threatened, but Coral Restoration Foundation has had good success in cultivating and planting new staghorns where the species has died.

The small coral fragments were grown in a designated nursery about three miles from the Keys. The infant corals, about three inches long, are hung on a framework of PVC pipe resembling a tree to develop. After nine months, the staghorns typically reach the size of a dinner plate and are transported to offshore reefs where they are affixed to the sea floor with epoxy.

Since Coral Reef Foundation’s launch in 2000 the organisation has planted some 31,500 corals on upper and middle Keys reefs, however this is the organisation’s most prolific output in a single day.

Coral reef research, video


This video says about itself:

5 June 2015

A team of scientists from Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation and XL Catlin Seaview Survey sets sail on the world’s largest coral reef expedition to gather ground-breaking images to reveal the reefs as never seen before.

The research vessel, M/Y Golden Shadow, was in the Solomon Islands conducting surveys for the Foundation’s Global Reef Expedition. The XL Catlin Seaview Survey science team, from the University of Queensland joined the Expedition and used their custom panorama camera system to take stunning 360⁰ imagery of the reefs. Over the course of 10 days, the team was able to document over 21 miles of reefs, all as part of an ongoing research project that aims to measure coral reef habitat diversity across the tropics and understand how coral reefs are changing due to human pressures.

Marine biology discoveries off Western Australia


This video from Australia says about itself:

Deep-sea secrets of the cryptic Perth Canyon unveiled

15 March 2015

Scientists have completed a successful two-week mission unlocking the secrets of Perth Canyon, a deep ocean gorge the size of the USA’s Grand Canyon.

From LiveScience:

Huge Underwater Canyon Is Home to Amazing Deep-Sea Creatures

by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | March 23, 2015 03:51pm ET

A two-week-long seafaring mission off the coast of western Australia has helped illuminate a deep and dark underwater abyss the size of the Grand Canyon.

During the trip to Perth Canyon, researchers encountered countless deep-sea organisms, including Venus flytrap anemones and golden coral. They even found a lost piece of equipment — an autonomous ocean glider that had gone missing two years earlier.

The scientists, from the University of Western Australia‘s Oceans Institute, began their mission on March 1 on the Falkor, a research vessel owned by an American nonprofit organization. Once aboard, they sailed about 19 miles (30 kilometers) from Fremantle, a city on the western Australian coast. They then used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to explore the underwater canyon, which extends from the continental shelf for more than 2.5 miles (4 km) to the ocean floor. [Marine Marvels: Spectacular Photos of Sea Creatures]

“We have discovered near-pristine, sheer-drop cliffs of over 600 meters [1,968 feet] and mapped structures that are rarely found in other parts of the ocean,” Malcolm McCulloch, the project’s leader and a professor of earth and the environment at the University of Western Australia, said in a statement. “It is truly a huge canyon.”

The canyon likely formed more than 100 million years ago, the researchers said. Back then, it appears that an ancient river cut the canyon during rifting that separated western Australia from India. Nowadays, the submerged canyon is a hotspot for marine life, attracting blue whales and other sea life in search of a tasty meal.

Researchers knew little about the canyon’s structure and the creatures that inhabited it until this expedition. Using the Falkor’s cutting-edge mapping systems and ROV, they explored Perth Canyon at depths of more than 1.2 miles (2 km). By the end of the mission, the research team had traveled more than 1,118 miles (1,800 km) to map the canyon’s 154 square miles (400 square km).

The canyon’s deepest point is 2.6 miles (4,276 m) below the ocean’s surface, McCulloch said.

“It is at a depth where light can’t penetrate, making a dark water column where there are no signs of light from above or below,” he said.

Still, the researchers found a surprisingly rich community of deep-sea creatures that cling to the canyon’s walls. For instance, about 1 mile (1.6 km) below the surface, they found brisingid seastars and mushroom soft corals. Other researchers have documented these animals living in Perth Canyon before, and now these creatures have been found in other deep-sea areas around the world.

The team also used the ROV to collect samples of the deep-sea corals. In the coming months, the scientists plan to determine the coral‘s age, how fast they grow, and whether global warming or ocean acidification has changed their habitat.

The work may also help other researchers, especially those who study deep-sea ecosystems and the factors that threaten survival in these places, they said.

During the project, the researchers also stumbled across an old piece of equipment — an autonomous ocean glider that went missing while it was exploring the canyon more than two years ago. When the team spotted the bright-yellow glider at a depth of about 0.4 miles (700 meters) underwater, everyone celebrated, said Chari Pattiaratchi, a professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia.

Next up, researchers will use the Falkor to test underwater robotic vehicles at Scott Reef, off the coast of northwestern Australia.

United States military base in Okinawa, Japan damages coral


This video is about diving at the coral reefs around Okinawa, Japan.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Japan: Onaga demands air base plans halted

Tuesday 24th March 2014

OKINAWA governor Takeshi Onaga instructed Japan’s Defence Ministry yesterday to suspend work at the proposed site of a US air base.

Mr Onaga claimed a concrete anchor thrown into the sea for a drilling survey of a reef at the designated site had damaged coral.

He took office four months ago after winning an election over a predecessor who had allowed the Henoko site to be developed to relocate the base.

Mr Onaga said the prefecture needed to conduct an independent survey to assess the damage and demanded the ministry stop activity in a week.

The central government’s effort to gain Okinawa’s understanding had been “insufficient,” he said.

But Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the survey should proceed regardless of the order.

The relocation is intended to address safety and nuisance concerns.

But Okinawans want the Futenma air base moved off the island completely and warn the construction would endanger marine life.

JAPANESE Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the governor of the southern island of Okinawa clashed yesterday over relocation of the controversial Futenma US air base: here.

‘No to US bases!’: Thousands march against military presence in Okinawa: here.

Octopus camouflage on coral reef, video


This video says about itself:

Amazing moment marine creature camouflages itself against a reef is captured on video

4 February 2015

Octopus shocks diver with its amazing camouflage skills

A diver was shocked to see an octopus emerge from the rocks during a dive in the Caribbean. Its amazing camouflage abilities meant it was barely visible before revealing itself.

Spot the octopus!

A new study has found that La Niña-like conditions – cooler sea temperatures, greater precipitation and stronger upwelling – in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Panamá were closely associated with an abrupt shutdown in coral reef growth that lasted 2,500 years: here.

Rare glimpse into how coral procreates could aid future conservation: here.