Before reefs become deserts: Keeping coral healthy in Hawaii

Many of Hawaii’s once-thriving coral reefs are now struggling to recover from recent extreme coral bleaching caused by rising water temperatures. These periodic increased temperatures combined with coastal runoff, fishing pressure and other impacts are all suspected of contributing to slow reef recovery. As a way of understanding which factors had the biggest impacts on Hawaii’s corals, a group of researchers from the collaborative Ocean Tipping Points project, co-led by Larry Crowder , the Edward Ricketts Provostial Professor of Marine Ecology and Conservation at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station and senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment , completed the first-ever comprehensive map of how both humans and natural events influence overall reef health. This new study was published March 1 in PLOS One. “When we jumped into the water in west Hawaii, over half of the coral reef was dead,” said Lisa Wedding, research associate at Stanford’s...
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Billionaire Settlement Funds to Prevent More Reef Damage in Cayman

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen settled for undisclosed amount with the Cayman Islands government after his megayacht “Tatoosh” damaged a significant amount of reef in 2016 . Now the funds from that settlement are being used to make sure such an event never happens again. This week, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment installed the first of four megayacht moorings off Grand Cayman’s West Bay. The moorings are being paid for using the money from the Allen settlement and can accommodate yachts of more than 100 feet in length. Installing the mooring is no easy task as it weighs 30,000 pounds and is attached to two-inch thick chain. “We thought it was an appropriate use of the funds from the Tatoosh settlement, to prevent this same type of issue happening again,” Scott Slaybaugh, deputy director of the department, told the Cayman Compass . In just the last month alone, Grand Cayman...
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One of the Ocean’s Deadliest Creatures Filmed Near Australian Beach Brightly Colored Blue-Ringed Octopus is One of the Ocean’s Deadliest From neon-green poison dart frogs to monarch butterflies , some of nature’s flashiest creatures have evolved vibrant ways of telling potential predators: “don’t mess with me.” Such is the case with this vividly colored blue-ringed octopus, filmed off the coast of Kiama, New South Wales, Australia . When the cephalopods are agitated or threatened, iridescent blue rings flash across their entire bodies, an evolutionarily courteous warning to those who might see the octopus as their next meal. Or in the case of humans, attract curious onlookers. (Related: Watch Blue-Ringed Octopus Pounces on Unsuspecting Crab ) There are at least 10 species of blue-ringed octopuses , ranging from Japan to Australia. Smaller species like the blue-lined octopus are found mostly in shallow waters, leading to increased interaction with humans looking to enjoy the same places. Despite its small and squishy...
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Tell Congress to Ban the Trade of Shark Fins in the U.S.

Dear Members of Congress: The demand for shark fins is one of the greatest threats facing shark populations around the world. Fins from as many as 73 … Original link