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Posts Tagged ‘Coral’


Hundreds of new marine species have been found on Australia’s coral reefs, surprising biologists worldwide.  The first systematic scientific inventory of spectacular soft corals in the region showed around 300 soft coral species, half of which are believed new to science; nearly one hundred small crustacean species; and an unusual amphipod of the Maxillipiidae family.  This creature has a whip-like back leg that is almost three times the size of its body.

The great biodiversity of reefs are in danger.

The great biodiversity of reefs are in danger.

Also found were a new species of tanaid crustaceans, which are shrimp-like creatures with claws that are larger than their bodies; and a beautiful, rare Cassiopeia jellyfish.”

Between 40 and 60 percent of the tiny amphipod crustaceans listed, in the survey will be formally described for the first time.  This truly earns them the title of the insects of the marine world.  Other major finds included potentially new worm species, known as bristle worms.  They are relatives of leeches and earth worms. As many as two-thirds of species found at Lizard Island alone were believed new to science.

Corals face threats ranging from ocean acidification, pollution, and warming to overfishing and global warming, and this is all the more reason to protect them.  They are an amazing source of biodiversity and beauty that should never be lost, but is on the brink of destruction.

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A third of reef-building corals worldwide are threatened with extinction due to climate change and water pollution, according to the first global assessment on the marine creature by 39 scientists.  Destructive fishing and the degradation of coastal habitats are also possible problems, but not as big as global warming.  The study was compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Conservation International.

Bleached Coral Resulting from Global Warming

Sea temperature rises due to warming bleach and weaken the algae that give the underwater sea life its vibrant colour, and make it more susceptible to diseases.  When corals die off, so do the other plants and animals that depend on coral reefs for food and shelter, and this can lead to the collapse of entire ecosystems, so this is not just a small, centralized problem.  Reef building polyps are the most vulnerable to global warming.

As reefs are home to over 25 percent of marine species, the loss of reefs could also hurt coastal fishing.  The Caribbean has the highest number of highly threatened corals world-wide.  The Indo-Malay-Philippine archipelago also has the highest proportions of vulnerable and almost threatened species in the Indo-Pacific.

“We either reduce our CO2 emission now or many corals will be lost forever,” warned Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN Director General.

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The beach of Aitutaki

Captain James Cook discovered a chain of islands just northwest of New Zealand and named them, aptly, the Cook Islands.  The most beautiful of all of these islands is definitely Aitutaki, which, ironically, was not discovered by Cook, but by William Bligh in 1789, just a few days before the now famous mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty. 

This tiny island is perfect for a nice quiet vacation.  Aitutaki is the home to absolutely beautiful beaches, a 30-mile reef, and a large tropical jungle area.  This makes the island perfect for snorkeling and diving in the pristine waters, lying on the sand of pristine beaches, or hiking through beautiful jungle. 

The best times to travel to this island are from November to February.  This pristine paradise is a wonderful getaway for those looking to escape the fast-paced lifestyle of the modern day.

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The biodiversity in the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef: this is the only living organism large enough to be seen from space.  It stretches 1,200 miles off of the coast of Queensland, Australia.  Amongst the reef, there are hundreds of smaller islands ripe for exploring.  This is the largest marine preserve in the world. Naturally, it is hoe to a plethora of 500 species of beautifully colored coral, 4,000 kinds of shellfish, 1,500 different fish species. 

This reef is perfect for water sports, including sailing, snokeling, and diving.  You can find a travel agency or guides who are willing to help you out on the reef almost anywhere on the northwest coast of Australia.  If you are not into the diving, there is an underwater observatory where you can see all the wonderful underwater biodiversity. 

The best time to travel here is from October to November for the best ocean water conditions.  The clear waters and beauty of the reef is absolutely stunning, and as global warming and changes in climate destroy reefs everywhere, we should try to visit, appreciate, and protect this valuable and unique ecosystem.

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