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Science and Conservation: One Adventure After Another

 Marine science and active research play a vital role in the NHRCP curriculum and 2018 allowed members of the team to take their experience once again to an international stage, specifically, to the Philippines.

In March, interns and alumni of the program joined the annual Conservation Diver research expedition to Escalante City. The expedition aims to enable local governments to make sustainable and conservation-minded decisions regarding their marine resources by providing a careful analysis of their coastal ecosystems. By utilising the skills of the Ecological Monitoring Program taught at the NHRCP, in combination with biodiversity surveys, the team was able to consult and provide insight on the current state of affairs of the marine environment and propose solutions to tackle these issues.

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The Predators: Crown of Thorns starfish and Drupella

This year like many before it, the NHRCP has focused much of it’s energy into the monitoring and management of corallivores, or those animals which eat corals. They are a completely natural part of coral reef ecosystems, and in normal conditions, these predators serve a valuable role in feeding on weakened or sick coral colonies, allowing the success of the healthiest and fittest corals.

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Shrooms Anyone?

Written by Elouise Haskin

Did you know that there are many kinds of mushrooms out there, ones that aren’t just for eating, poisoning your enemies, or inducing hallucinogenic states? Well, there certainly is! And in this article we aim to introduce you to them! Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of the mushroom corals; or, the Fungiids!

What the Mush Are They All About?

They are a part of the Scleractinian order, containing within it all the reef building (hard) corals. To the untrained eye, mushroom corals can seem a little underwhelming - but that's only to those who haven't given them a chance. Once you've taken them in, you start seeing the reef a whole lot differently! They get their nickname ‘mushroom corals’ by the visual similarities of terrestrial mushrooms and when we compare them to the rest of the structurally complex, firmly attached, and often aesthetically pleasing hard coral they may appear somewhat simplistic and, let’s be honest; easy to overlook. Today we hope to change your mind, and plant the seed of interest for this fascinating group of animals. So, let’s delve into the life of a mushroom coral.

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New Heaven Reef Conservation: The Place Where the Hope is Blooming

Written By: Maythira (May) Kasemsant

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A nature enthusiast who was selected as a first grantee in Reef Ambassador Program for 3-month internship at New Heaven Reef Conservation Program, Koh Tao, Thailand. This blog is for sharing knowledge and experience I got from the program.

When talking about the underwater world, we might associate it with thoughts of a ‘Paradise Under the Sea’.

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The NHRCP Bans Sunscreen from its Boats

As of June 8th, 2018, the NHRCP will be banning all chemical based sunscreens from our boats. In recent years, more and more data has been shown that chemicals such as oxybenzone that is contained in sunscreens can be harmful to coral reef health. Studies have shown that these chemicals can induce bleaching in coral fragments, activate latent viruses in zooxanthellae, deform coral larvae, and damage coral DNA. Other studies have also shown that these chemicals can disrupt the hormones and life stages of fish. Although these studies are not entirely conclusive (most were done in labs and not in the field) they are concerning, and in the face of uncertainty we prefer to follow the precautionary principle and do what we can to protect our local reefs.

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New Heaven Reef Conservation Program