What’s up with Seahorses on Koh Tao?

Seahorse SaiNuanKeep your eyes open, according to locally collected citizen science data April is the month to see seahorses on Koh Tao. These sightings are not as common as you might think, and each observation is an invaluable piece of information in understanding the puzzle of these shy, curious creatures’ populations that are hiding out there in the waters around our island. We began our seahorse studies in 2012, and since 2013, the community of Koh Tao has been working with iSeahorse.org to track and monitor seahorse populations as observed by divers. Any divers who see a seahorse either underwater or even washed up on the beach are able to report their sightings to the site, or to iNaturalist.org. After 7 years of data collection, we are starting to see some interesting trends.

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Are Christmas Tree Worms Bad for Corals?

If you have ever been diving or snorkeling in a coral reef you have probably seen and fell in love with the Christmas Tree Worms. Their bright colors and intricate anatomy make them a highly conspicuous feature on the reefs, which invites viewers in for a closer look. But what exactly are these animals, and what kind of role do they play regarding symbiosis on the coral reef?

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Coral Spawning and Larval Culturing on Koh Tao

It was another successful year of coral spawning and larval culturing on Koh Tao, our 9th successful season since we started this project in 2010 with the Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai. This year was extraordinary for the number of corals that successfully released their gametes, with our team observing species from 9 different genera going over the 3 nights of observation in March. And, for the first time on Koh Tao, we also observed a species of soft coral (Sinularia) releasing their egg bundles. This miraculous event happens only a few times per year, and we are increasingly able to be there at the right time and place, and equipped with the knowledge and skills to help improve their reproductive success.

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Underwater Weed(s) - Macroalgae of Koh Tao

Macroalgae have been painted with a broad brush as being inherently bad for the beautiful, vibrant, yet rapidly declining coral reef ecosystems across our planet. While the reputations that many of these underwater weeds have earned are well deserved and grounded in scientific understanding, the story is always more complex and nuanced than it first appears. Algae have taken quite the PR hit in recent decades, as tropical reefs, particularly those in the Caribbean and the Bahamas, have become overrun with these dense forests of brown, green and black marine plants. Not offering the same colourful beauty and habitat diversity of a thriving coral reef, it’s no wonder why they’ve come under such heavy fire from marine biologists and dive enthusiast. But there’s so much more to the story here.

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World Oceans Day on Koh Tao

It’s the wonderful time of the year - World Oceans Day is coming up of course! Join us on June the 8th as we celebrate the most expansive and yet overlooked ecosystems on our planet for a day dedicated to giving back to our planet’s oceans that give so much to us. Come down to the New Heaven Reef Conservation Program and dive in with us, as we explore.

 “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you're connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” ~ Sylvia Earle

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New Heaven Reef Conservation Program