A new paper published by MIT has provided a deeper understanding into how coral utilize their external cilia in respiratory and metabolic processes. “These microenvironmental [findings] are not only important, but also unexpected,” says Roman Stocker, an associate...
Hello Everybody! My name is Joe Frith and I have been interning here at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory in Ruskin, FL for the past 2 months. I would first like to say “thank you” to Dr. Judy St. Leger, Eric, Kevin, Roy, Craig, Jon and the rest of the staff here at the Lab for giving me this opportunity and making this a meaningful experience. I’m currently an undergraduate at the University of Missouri-Columbia completing my degree in Fisheries and Wildlife with a minor in Biology
There are two Academy groups currently in the Philippines for the 2014 Biodiversity Expedition: one from Research, and the other from the Aquarium. Though we’re staying at different locations, we collaborate when we can, like tonight. It all started with a 90-minute night dive at Anilao Pier to try to collect a Bobbitt worm—a creature that lives in the sand, has jaws like a bear trap, and might be several meters long. It shoots up with lightning speed to catch fish and other animals, yanking them down into the muck like something out of a nightmare. In the 1990s, Academy Senior Curator Terry Gosliner named the Bobbitt worm after Lorena Bobbitt (and her legendary attack on her husband), and Academy crews have been trying to collect this animal both for display and for our preserved collection ever since. One look at the photo shows you why catching this animal isn’t easy, but take a look at this video for an even better demonstration. Tonight’s effort was unsuccessful, though I did get my hand on one of the worms—yes, my hand. My wife is less than thrilled about these attempts, but she understands that we have to do what we have to do for science. More efforts are planned, and hopefully there will be success. Hopefully. After the worm hunt, there was a party—a party that started without us. Apparently it began with a whole roast pig (enjoyed by both Research and Aquarium Staff), but by the time the worm hunters arrived, things had changed drastically. Let’s just say that while there was still much fun to be had, there wasn’t much pig. Expeditions like this are an amazing amount of work, similar to running a triathlon. Instead of the events being swimming, running, and biking, the events are collection, processing, and animal care. The endurance needed to put out so much energy every single day is huge, but it’s also incredibly fulfilling when everything’s going well. Tonight’s party was a short break from the draining but rewarding work of the expedition … and the only picture I can find of the event is this one of me gnawing on a pig’s head. Ah, science—we love you. —Rich Ross, Aquatic Biologist
Greetings from Aniloa! After three and a half days of collecting in the field, we’ve amassed a nice collection of corals, invertebrates, and fish to ship back to the Academy—here’s a quick overview. The sites we’ve visited thus far include Twin Rocks, Devil’s Point, Bethlehem, Mapating Point, Dari Laut, Matu Point, and Anilao Pier, and we currently have 70 specimens on hand. They come from varying genera—Acropora, Fungia, Turbinaria, Tubastrea, Sinularia, and Sarcophyton—and they’re being kept in a temporary field aquarium set up at the Anilao Beach Club. (Rich Ross will be blogging about that setup later, so I won’t go into it here.) We were also able to acquire three snake anemones while on a night dive at Anilao Pier, and we’ll continue our quest for the elusive Bobbitt worm tonight during another night dive at the same location. Oh, and one more highlight: On this afternoon’s dive at Matu Point, Rich was able to collect a pair of ghost pipefish, which were way up there on our list of acquisitions for this expedition. With a couple more days of diving and collecting ahead, Aquarium Team One should be on track to collect most, if not all, of what we have set out for on this trip. —Seth Wolters, Assistant Curator for Steinhart Aquarium
The production team that filmed “The Cove”, a popular documentary that brought to light the extreme dolphin slaughtering in Japan, is back with a brand new movie that will focus on the larger issues of illegal wildlife trafficking and the possibility of mass extinction that are both taking place in oceans and seas across the globe as we speak. Simply called “6″, this movie utilizes state-of-the-art equipment and undercover tactics to expose the black market trading of endangered species, such as products made from whale sharks, giant clams, and hundreds of others. The trailer for the movie, posted above, shows some of the guerrilla reporting tactics used by the team, as they scour the streets of various Asian communities exposing black market dealers, who obviously aren’t always thrilled to find out they’re being investigated by the production team. Also displayed in the brief promo is a more positive side effect of the team’s efforts…a public awareness campaign involving a mobile projector, a fast car, and one very talented NASCAR driver. The trailer shows Leilani Munter driving a Jaguar fitted with a video projector around various parts of what we presume to be cities in the United States. The projector blasts imagery of marine life onto surrounding buildings, no doubt captivating pedestrians and drivers alike. Since increasing public awareness about travesties such as those currently taking place on the black market is so paramount to sparking a change.