OMG I Thought You Were Dead!

Carysfort Reef 1975 to 2014

A dramatic time series of photos documenting the 95 percent loss of coral cover from Carysfort Reef, Key Largo, Florida since 1975. The photos capture the loss of a once thriving colony of elkhorn coral, Acropora palmata (Photos: Phil Dustan)

I shouted with euphoric joy through my regulator, 20 feet underwater. I can only imagine how wide my eyes were. It must have been difficult to discern between an expression of delighted surprise and a textbook example of wide-eyed diver panic. My eyes were transfixed on an old friend with a funny name whom I hadn’t laid eyes on in years. I had heard he was dead – or at least gravely ill. But there in front of me, larger than life, vibrant and embracing the sun, my friend was very much alive and healthy, clearly enjoying the good life in Cuba.

Several years earlier, I joined an expedition to explore a corner of the Gulf of Mexico I had only heard about from colleagues: The magnificent coral reef ecosystem of Veracruz, Mexico. Seated inside the DeepRover submersible with great anticipation for a vibrant reef that lay below me, I was lowered from the deck of a Mexican Navy ship into the warm blue waters below and radioed the ship that I was going to begin my descent.

Read the full post at EcoWatch.com

EcoWatch 

 

New York Times Travel Show 2014: Outlook for Travel to Cuba

A panel of experts on travel to Cuba, led by tourism officials from Cuba, share their knowledge and passion for Cuba and provide the latest updates on what Cuba offers Americans, information on People-to-People licenses and updates to this alluring forbidden destination. Join John McAuliff, Fund for Reconciliation & Development Cuba, Peggy Goldman, president, Friendly Planet Travel and tourism officials from Cuba including, Ing. Eloy Govea Rodriguez, commercial director, Havanatur Celimar; Lic Hugo Mustell Mon, commercial director, Havanatur Group and Dr. David E. Guggenheim, president, Ocean Doctor.

Denver Divers & Colorado Ocean Coalition – Cuba Presentation

Denver Divers and Colorado Ocean Coalition are teaming up for a very special Blue Drinks, featuring everything Cuba!

60 Minutes showed us what to expect diving in Cuba. The 12-minute segment hosted by Anderson Cooper became a siren song for many divers.

Now meet the star of the segment, “Ocean Doctor”, Dr. David Guggenheim!

Dr. Guggenheim has dedicated the last 13 years of his life to conservation efforts for coral reefs and turtles in and around Cuba. During his presentation at Denver Divers, Dr. Guggenheim will talk about research results from his partnership with the University of Havana. Of course he plans to answer all your questions regarding travel to Cuba and diving in the pristine waters surrounding the island.

If you have ever dreamed of diving or traveling to Cuba, but did not want to risk the illegal activity of traveling there without the government’s permission, you do not want to miss this presentation. Denver Divers has partnered with the “Ocean Doctor ” to sponsor a legal Educational Tour of Havana and Jardines de la Reina.

For more information on Dr. Guggenheim and his non-profit, Ocean Doctor, please visit http://oceandoctor.org/gardens

Special Cuban snacks and a Cuban “Blue Drink” will be provided.

Please do not forget to carpool, as parking in front of the shop fills up quickly.

Researchers Discover Planet’s Northernmost Coral Reef

Researchers have discovered the world's northermost coral reefs off Japan's Tsushima Island (Image: Kaoru Sugihara)

Researchers have discovered the world’s northermost coral reefs off Japan’s Tsushima Island (Image: Kaoru Sugihara)

Coral reefs are typically found in the warm, clear waters of the tropics and subtropics. Researchers in Japan have recently discovered a coral reef far north of any previously discovered on the planet, off the coast of Japan’s Tsushima Island at 34 degrees north latitude. As a reference, this would put the reef north of the city of Atlanta, Georgia. While cold water and deep water corals are found in polar regions, the types of reef-building corals discovered in Japan are generally much more sensitive to cold water and to cloudy or turbid waters, making this discovery all the more remarkable, especially in light of winter water temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit), considered extremely low and most often fatal to most coral reefs. [Read more…]

Coral Reefs Collapsed, then Recovered After 2,500 Years

Encouraging or Saddening?

Image by nashworld via Flickr

In a study led by Lauren T. Toth at Florida Institute of Technology published in the journal, Science, coral reef ecosystems in the tropical eastern Pacific “collapsed for 2500 years, representing as much as 40% of their history, beginning about 4000 years ago.” A series of powerful El Nino events, which include periods of significantly warmer ocean temperature every three to seven years, coincided with the 2,500-year period of coral decline. This was followed by a cycle of La Nina events characterized by much cooler water, beginning 3,200 to 3,800 years ago. Corals recovered during the millenia since but now face a return to extreme weather conditions like those that wiped them out, due to climate change impacts. [Read more…]

Seagrass Protects Coral Reefs from Ocean Acidification

turtle grasses near Munson Rocks

The BBC reports on research pointing to the importance of seagrasses to protecting coral reefs against the impacts of ocean acidification, caused by carbon dioxide from fossil fuel emissions dissolving in seawater, causing unprecedented increases in the ocean’s acidity.

Dr. Richard Unsworth of Swansea University, along with a team of scientists from Oxford University and James Cook University in Australia, found several types of seagrass which may reduce the acidity of water around reefs, protecting them from erosion from acidifying seas. [Read more…]

Saving the Oceans from Acidification Starts With an End to Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Great Barrier Reef 008

We’ve described ocean acidification as potentially the “the gravest and most immediate planetary threat yet,” and as more and more research results become public, it appears that this threat is, indeed, every bit as potent as we had feared.Yet it has been a painfully slow process for ocean acidification to gain traction in the media and is still far from being a “mainstream” issue. So when the San Francisco Chronicle recently called for action to deal with the issue, we took notice. [Read more…]

VIDEO: Future of the Oceans Panel | Ocean Inspiration | Jacques Cousteau’s 100th Anniversary

Ocean Inspiration: A Tribute to Jacques CousteauJacques Cousteau’s 100th anniversary is an opportunity to come together and reflect on the future of Planet Ocean. Ocean Inspiration is a time to reconnect with our creative and intellectual capacity, and together move forward to positively impact our future.

Explorers, dancers, scientists, artists, musicians, filmmakers, family and friends will come together in this once in a lifetime event. Through spirited discussions and live performances, the audience will be encouraged to create their own form of ocean advocacy. May 18 & 20, 2011: New York, NY / Washington, DC [Read more…]

Parrot Fish: The Constant Gardeners of the World’s Reefs

Australian scientists have urged greater consideration for the brilliantly-hued parrot fishes that tend and renew the world’s imperilled coral reefs.

“Parrotfishes are the constant gardeners of the reef. They play a crucial role in keeping it healthy, suppressing weed, removing sediment and helping the corals to regrow after a setback,” explains Professor David Bellwood of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.

In a major new study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, Prof. Bellwood, Dr Andrew Hoey and Prof. Terry Hughes have investigated parrot fish populations on 18 coral island reefs extending from Mauritius in the west Indian Ocean to Tahiti in the central Pacific.

“Parrot fish fulfill a number of key roles on the reef. They remove sick and dead corals and clean areas for new corals to settle, they remove weedy growth, and they cart away literally tonnes of sand and sediment that would otherwise smother the corals,” Prof Bellwood explains.

Read the rest of this article at ARC Coral Reef Studies…

Note: Newswire stories are provided as a courtesy of OceanDoctor.org. Content of these articles is provided by external sources.

A Fragile Empire: National Geographic Examines Threats to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

"A Fragile Empire" can be found in the May 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine on newstands April 26

“A Fragile Empire” can be found in the May 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine on newsstands April 26 (Photo: National Geographic)

Earlier this year, World Resources Institute released its “Reefs at Risk Revisited Report” (featured on The Ocean Doctor Radio Show) which spelled out a rather grim future for coral reefs due to both local and global threats, should we fail to take action. One of the bright spots in its report was Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which has fared better than many other reefs around the world and has in place strong protections and management practices. But even this massive and remote reef system isn’t immune from the impacts affecting coral reefs worldwide. In “A Fragile Empire” National Geographic Magazine (May 2011) writer Jennifer S. Holland explores the various factors that are threatening Australia’s monumental reef. From rising water temperatures, to bleaching, massive flooding and high levels of acidity, the reef is in danger of collapsing and the prospect for recovery is uncertain.

A warming climate is pushing corals against the upper limit of their thermal tolerance, evidenced by mass bleachings like the one in 1997-98. A 60-year decline in ocean phytoplankton — microscopic organisms that form the base of the food chain — may also be playing a role. Recent flooding in Australia washed enormous plumes of sediments and toxins far offshore to the reef tract. And now, thanks to increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, the oceans are becoming more and more acidic as more of this atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in seawater. As the oceans become more acid, limiting the ability of organisms, like corals and shellfish, to build their limestone shells and skeletons.

[Read more…]