Search Results for: coral

Quick deep sea coral tutorials

Did you know that corals are living in the deep sea? That’s right, they’re aren’t only a part of the vibrant sunny reef ecosystems we’ve grown to know and love while watching movies like Finding Dory or Chasing Coral. Some species of coral live in complete darkness and withstand incredibly cold temperatures. They are just as striking in color as the shallow versions and have even been known to live up to 500 years old. Scientists use these corals as indicator species to gauge the health of the deep sea. Do you want to learn more about these jewels of the sea? Thanks to the  Ecosystem Impacts of Oil and Gas Inputs to the Gulf (ECOGIG) for putting these video tutorials together. You’ll learn exactly how does a coral of the deep sea survives (i.e., there is no sunlight for photosynthesis), how scientists study them (i.e., great overview of technology and remote operating vehicles), and why scientists study them (i.e., human impacts like the Deepwater Horizon disaster). The best part is that each one is less than five minutes and it’s on Vimeo so hopefully your school hasn’t blocked it.

Thanks to Emily Davenport for sharing these with NMEA.

Christmas critter countdown: Star coral

Coral may look like a rock but they’re certainly not! Take some time to learn about the vulnerable species here. It’s climate change we have to worry about but the ocean habitat is up against ocean acidification and the first clue is from coral.

Christmas critter countdown

The Coral Song: “I may look like a rock, but I’m certainly not”

I listened to this three times last night. It’s “The Coral Song”. It’s a fun song. It’ll get caught in your head. I had to share. Maybe we’ll hear each other humming in line at the pharmacy. The Reef-World Foundation gets all the credit for helping the production get the science straight on this catchy tune.

The screenshot below is of my favorite line. What line do you find completely genius … in that “oh, so perfectly simple” way?

coralsong_image

Simple coral bleaching teaching

There are some things that we want to stay white, such as snow and Kris Kringle’s beard. Coral reefs are not one of them. Unfortunately, The Nature Conservancy noted that 2011 was the most extensive coral reef bleaching event for the Florida Reef Tract since 2004. Scientists working on the Florida Keys Reef Resilience Program were not surprised due to the very hot summer of 2011.

What is coral bleaching?

As the National Ocean Service (a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) states, “When corals are stressed by changes in conditions such as temperature, light, or nutrients, they expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissues, causing them to turn completely white.” For more information on the symbiotic relationships going on within a coral reef check out this video!

Image (c) wunderground.org

Where is the coral triangle?

After some research I scored a wonderful description of where the world’s most ecologically diverse  marine ecosystem lies. Spanning over six countries this 6 million kilometers squared coral triangle is significant because it is home to six of the seven species of sea turtles. This infographic, produced by World Wildlife Fund, gives a rundown of the protection status of each the sea turtle species as well as a wealth of other great information. For instance, did you know …

… 3000 leatherback sea turtles nested along the coast of Terengganu, Malaysia in 1960? In 2000, according to data from Dr. Chen Eng Heng with the Department of Fisheries in Malaysia, there were none.

… 90% of sea turtle hatchlings never make it to their first birthday.

Take a closer look at the infographic to learn more. Lastly, don’t forget May 23rd is International Turtle Day!

Test your knowledge: Coral reefs

Fishing in the Maldives

Image via Wikipedia

Every once in a while it is fun to test your knowledge and see if you are as smart as you think you are in a certain subject. Today it is time see how well you know coral reefs. Have fun with these ten questions …

  1. It has been found that some coral reefs have been growing since a) 10 million years old b) 50 million years ago c) 1 million years ago.
  2. Single coral organisms, called polyps, can live on their own. true or false?
  3. Coral reefs are typically found in which zone of the ocean? a) the twilight zone b) the sunlight zone c) mid-day zone
  4. Coral reefs are simply coral colonies that have joined together. true or false?
  5. Corals are a) insectivores b) carnivores 3) herbivores.
  6. Corals are a) endangered b) threatened 3) extinct.
  7. What is credited to the diverse colors of coral reefs?
  8. Coral reefs support over a) 10% b) 25% c) 50% of life in the oceans.
  9. Corals are closely related to a) horseshoe crabs and spiders b) sea anemones and jellies c) crabs and shrimp.
  10. Corals will die immediately if they do not feed off the byproducts of photosynthesis of the algae they host. true or false?

Find your answers here.

How does coral bleaching result?

Coral bleaching is due to the fact that the algae part of the coral reef ecosystem can no longer photosynthesize properly – therfore, losing the “reef” structure and the corals remain white – since the zooxannthellea are not around (that’s the algae – and responsible for the color of the coral). This occurs due to a lack of sunlight – mostly from a build up of substances (usually, man made – on the surface of the ocean).

What gives a beach its unique features?

cfiles45766

Tides. Winds. Waves. You might think of those right away when you ask yourself “Why are beaches so different from one another?” The story of how and why beaches are unique is more than what we witness while lying in a beach chair watching the tide go out hour by hour. The personality of a beach actually started long before … depending on what type of activity occurs near it.

If a beach is on a coast with a lot of earthquakes and volcanoes than it means that coast is active. Active coasts are going to be rocky, jagged, and edgy. Think “lots of cliffs”. This is easily seen along the West coast of the U.S. On the other hand, a beach might have a gentle slope with dunes leading to the sea. Think “the picture above”. There may be earthquakes but they’re rare and no volcanoes. This would mean the coast is passive. Being an active or passive coast is the foundation of a beach. Almost like its genetics or DNA.

active_passiveSo what gives a beach its true character is what it relates with on a daily basis. Just like the people and media we interact with on a daily basis shape our true character. For instance, does a beach have an expansive estuary nearby? Does a beach have an energetic or dormant volcano nearby? If this is the case the coast would also be considered primary. Primary coasts have been created by land based factors such as drowned river valleys, glaciers, or volcanoes. On the other hand, the ocean can play an important role in shaping a coast as well. Maybe there is considerable wave erosion lapping the shore? Are coral reefs, barrier islands, or other marine depositions nearby that helped to form a shoreline? These coasts are called secondary.

Beaches are either on a passive or active foundation and each have prevailing short term factors of primary (land based erosion) or secondary (ocean based erosion). The combination of characteristics give each beach a distinctive quality. Just like each one of us each beach is valuable and precious.

Christmas critter countdown: Christmas tree worm

Admittedly, at this point my kind readers know that I’m a nut over some ocean humor (despite the rolling eyes from loved ones!). So if you’ll indulge me this holiday season I now have a list of twelve ornamental-appropriate organisms. My first one to share is the Christmas tree worm.

Christmas critter countdown: Chrsitams tree worms

The Christmas tree worm, found in tropical coral reefs worldwide, has some amazing spiral plumes (i.e., tentacles) are used for feeding and breathing. The Christmas tree worm prefers to feast on phytoplankton floating in the water nearby. Learn more here.

A bromance in the sea

There’s an eel – the giant moray – that teams up with the roving coral grouper to hunt for grub (i.e., cooperative hunting). The eel is slick enough to slither into crevices and flush out food for a feast. How’s that for a wingman!?

Look at them hitting the scene!

Giant moray and the roving coral grouper (also, known as a trout). Image (c) Science news

The giant moray and the roving coral grouper (also, known as a trout). Image (c) Science news