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Aquatic Life’s Reno LED Lights

aquatic-life-reno-saltwater-led-aquarium-light-fixtures-ebd - reefsAttention aquarium hobbyists – Aquatic Life, manufacturers of premium branded aquarium and hydroponics equipment for over 6 years, are now offering their Reno LED fixtures to the public.  These lights, which have only been available to stores as fish display lighting systems, will now be available through distributors throughout North America. For use with fish-only systems or as complimentary lighting over coral aquariums, the new Reno LED fixtures provide good color and sufficient lighting to showcase both fish-only marine and freshwater aquariums. Michael Elliott, co-owner of Aquatic Life, says, “There are a lot of LED fixtures on the market and most are sold at a high price point or offer limited size options for hobbyists. To fill that hole in the market, we created the Reno LED fixtures to offer hobbyists an affordable and efficient lighting system for their aquariums. Now, someone looking for an LED fixture for a 55-gallon tank could get one of ours at retail for under $50. You can’t beat that price.” MORE

Gene Expression and Zooxanthella Symbiosis of Coral Larvae

The relationship between coral polyps and algae is something we as aquarists have been well aware for a long time, but a joint study between James Cook University and The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University creates a link between the inception of symbiosis in coral larvae, expounding the changes throughout the larval stages of growth. “We wanted to investigate the gene expression changes when the symbiosis starts in the coral larvae,” Dr. Chuya Shinzato, co-author and group leader of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) Marine Genomics Unit. The general practice of studying gene expression during coral symbiosis had missed a huge window of time, as evaluation was conducted between twelve and forty-eight after lab-induced introduction of symbiotic zooxanthella to coral larvae, in all studies conducted previously on this matter. 160623095607_1_900x600“This study succeeds in analysing the very early stages of coral symbiosis,” Shinzato said. “We saw suppression of the genes related to mitochondrial metabolism and protein synthesis, which means that the metabolism stops working for a short time.” It was thought previously that a passive relation between larvae and zooxanthella existed, in where the larvae would simply accept the introduction of symbiotic algae, but instead of blind acceptance, this study explains how coral, in their larval stage, will reconstruct its genes in response to environmental factors. “The coral has to change its cell conditions to adjust to the symbiosis, Coral needs to prepare to welcome the symbiont. Then, the mutual relationship can begin.” Preparation for symbiotic acceptance is the focus of this study, but its findings a have much larger implication: “The symbiotic relationship[s] is the basis for these ecosystems, which is why it is so important to study. We must understand the mechanism of coral symbiosis in order to combat coral bleaching” Shinzato adds. Read more here!

NEW Species of Scorpionfish named after ME!

Good morning, or should I say GREAT morning, I got a fish named after me today!! Is that super cool or what?? For years I have been photographing all the new finds made by the Smithsonian, many I have posted for you all to see. Most of the fish and creatures that come up from the deep are new species meaning yours truly was the 1st to take their photos, it’s a honor beyond belief! Below is one of the many press releases; read on… LIVE SPECIMEN OF THE NEW SCORPIONFISH (SCORPAENODES BARRYBROWNI) Discovered by scientists using the manned submersible Curasub in the deep-reef waters of the Caribbean island of Curaçao, a new scorpionfish species is the latest one captured with the help of the sub’s two robotic arms. Found by Dr. Carole C. Baldwin, lead scientist of the Smithsonian’s Deep Reef Observation Project (DROP) and based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, Ms. Diane Pitassy, also affiliated with the Smithsonian in Washington, and Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, the new species is described in the open access journal ZooKeys. In their paper, the authors also discuss the depth distributions and relationships of western Atlantic members of its genus. MORE

Obscure Reef Creatures – the Blackbelly Blenny (Stathmonotus hemphillii)

Blackbelly Blenny (Stathmonotus hemphillii)

This is Mini-B, a Blackbelly Blenny, Stathmonotus hemphillii. He was collected in Fort Lauderdale, FL in mid-2012. This video was taken several months after collection. At this time he was 2.8 cm long. He only ate live copepods for many months, but has finally switched to frozen food from a pipette.

Lurking throughout the Caribbean is a petite piscine which rarely goes noticed and of which little is written—the Blackbelly Blenny. This charismatic little fish is not quite like anything else available to aquarists, especially with regards to its idiosyncratic way of crawl-swimming about the reef. And, with a maximum size of just 5cm, this is definitely a species with great potential in smaller aquariums.MORE

Dr. Luiz Rocha and the Twilight Zone

twilight zone luizrocha 2 - reefs

credit: Luiz Rocha

 Dr. Luiz Rocha is the curator and Follett chair of Ichthyology at the California Academy of Sciences, and he is one of the scientists responsible for bringing us its latest exhibit, Twilight Zone: Deep Reefs Revealed.  The exhibit showcases animal and plant life that lives between 200 and 500 feet below the ocean’s surface – an area that is too deep for normal divers to reach; only 20 to 30 scientists worldwide are able to dive to such an extreme depth. Dr. Rocha (with the help of Rick Paulas), recently published an article on vice.com, where he talked about the incredible amount of care that he must take when making these dives: “When you’re down there, in the Twilight Zone, everything you see is a novelty. It’s incredible and always exciting. Your adrenaline just goes through the roof. But you have to keep an eye on your oxygen and what’s going on with your rebreather, because there’s no margin for error down there. The dangerousness of it all would probably be stifling for some, but the excitement for scientific discovery is what keeps me going. MORE

Coral Morphologic Joins the Mission Blue Sylvia Earle Alliance

 Coral Morphologic is proud to announce a partnership with Mission Blue, an alliance of conservationists founded by Dr. Sylvia Earle, with the shared goal of exploring the ocean and engendering empathy for Earth’s marine life. By joining the Mission Blue network, we look forward to helping advance Mission Blue’s goals, including increasing marine protected areas (Hope Spots) around the globe 20% by 2020, developing sustainable fisheries, and reducing oceanic pollution. Coral Morphologic is committed to educating the public and building new paradigms around the value of the ocean and its essential role as Earth’s life support system. Please explore Mission Blue’s website and watch the eponymous 2015 documentary about Dr. Earle “Mission Blue” on Netflix. More: Coral Morphologic Joins the Mission Blue Sylvia Earle Alliance

New Healthy Staghorn Corals

BAR-Good morning friends, while out searching the reefs last week I encountered a new area full of endangered Staghorn corals and they are beautiful! I ended up finding around 30 little patches or colonies and they are all looking great, this is a super endangered coral! The dominant mode of reproduction for staghorn corals is asexual, with new colonies forming when branches break off a colony and reattach to the substrate. This life history trait allows rapid population recovery from physical disturbances such as storms. However, it makes recovery from disease or bleaching episodes (where entire colonies or even entire stands are killed) very difficult. Since 1980, populations have collapsed throughout their range from disease outbreaks (primarily White band disease), with losses compounded locally by hurricanes, increased predation, bleaching, and other factors. This species is also particularly susceptible to damage from sedimentation and sensitive to temperature and salinity variation. Populations have declined by up to 98% throughout the range, and localized extirpations have occurred. MORE

We’ve Been Misidentifying Trimma tevegae This Whole Time!

The Blotch-tailed Pygmygoby (Trimma caudimaculatum), seen in the usual upside-down swimming posture. Credit: Klaus Stiefel

The Blotch-tailed Pygmygoby (Trimma caudomaculatum), seen in the usual upside-down swimming posture. Credit: Klaus Stiefel

 The genus Trimma is a vast and challenging group of tiny reef-associated fishes (known variably as pygmygobies or dwarfgobies), with perhaps as many as 200 species, many of which still await scientific description. Though they are ubiquitous on Indo-Pacific reefs, relatively few species make their way into the aquarium trade, even though they are often highly colorful and perfectly suited for life in smaller aquaria. One of the most frequently seen members of this group is a blue-striped fish identified as Trimma tevegae and which goes by an endless variety of common names: the Blue-striped Cave Goby, the Bluestripe Pygmygoby, the Bluestripe Dwarfgoby, the Blue Line Flag Tail Goby… and on and on and on. As it turns out, we’ve been identifying this fish incorrectly.MORE


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