Updates & Media

Stars of the Reef

September 19, 2014

Granular Sea Star, Choriaster granulatus

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The most familiar members of the phylum Echinodermata are the sea stars (aka starfish). Also contained within this phylum are diverse members such as sea cucumbers, crinoids, brittle stars, and sea urchins. Echinoderms possess an interesting body shape known as …

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Finding Fabulous Fish!

September 18, 2014

Fish Surveys of the Great Barrier Reef

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As fish surveyors, our job is to identify, count, and size all the fish we see within 30m x 4 m transect lines. To do this, we drop one end of our transect tapes at 10m depth, and swim slowly …

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The Fire Salps

September 17, 2014

Pyrosomes

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Several of us have encountered a free-floating colonial tunicate during our dives on leeward reefs.  Known as Pyrosomes (from the Greek, pyro = fire and soma = body), these unusual tunicates consist of cylindrical- or conical-shaped colonies made up of …

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Sessile Sea Squirts

September 16, 2014

Lissoclinum patellum tunicate.

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Tunicates, commonly called sea squirts include a diverse assemblage of invertebrates that are usually attached to the bottom, but also include 10 species that live in the water column.  These invertebrates share some similarities with vertebrates by having a tail, …

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Geomorphology: Large-scale carbonate…

September 15, 2014

Geomorphology

This paper stems from our field research in the Bahamas conducted at the start of the Global Reef expedition. It discusses  how Cay Sal Bank was formed how and why it differs from the rest of the Bahamas. The Bahama …

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Encounter with the Amazing

September 15, 2014

Giant pavona clavus sized against two scientific divers.

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Humans have long been in the habit of naming exceptional trees. The General Sherman sequoia, the Methuselah bristlecone pine, and a certain specimen of Ficus religiosa better known as the Bodhi Tree are three such notable individuals. Humans don’t live …

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Rebirth of the Reef

September 13, 2014

A long dead table acroporid colonized by two table acroporids, Pocillopora, Montipora, branching Acropora and several soft corals.

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The genus Acropora includes the most diverse and abundant corals found on Indo-Pacific reefs, with different species displaying a baffling number of growth forms and color varieties. With over 150 species known to science, these corals often out compete all …

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Hiding in Plain Sight

September 12, 2014

Cuttlefish of the Great Barrier Reef

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The Broadclub Cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus)—the second largest species of cuttlefish (to 50 cm)—is the most commonly seen species of cuttlefish on tropical reefs. Though it ranges from the Andaman Sea in the west to as far east as Fiji, this …

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Death by 1000 Cuts

September 11, 2014

A thicket of staghorn coral that was flattened by Cyclone Ita.

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Worldwide, coral reefs are declining at an alarming rate.  This is most apparent in the Caribbean, where reefs have been transformed from coral gardens – 60-70% of the bottom was carpeted in thickets of elkhorn coral and staghorn coral, mountainous …

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Portraying the Life History of…

September 9, 2014

Steephead Parrotfish Chlorurus microrhinos.

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Parrotfishes represent one of the most conspicuous members of the Indo-Pacific coral reef fauna. They are ideal study subjects for addressing questions regarding population and community ecology for several reasons, including their high diversity and abundance, complex reproductive life histories …

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