Bleaching – A Bad Look for Your Hair, An Even Worse Look for Our Coral Reefs

Coral Bleaching is a phenomenon that most within the dive community are well aware of given the threats that it poses to these fragile ecosystems. But beyond this niche community, many remain ignorant of what’s happening below the waves, and advocates who bring this reality into the light are crucial players in generating the attention necessary to help protect these dying ecosystems. Back in the 90s’, bleaching was brought into the limelight by some incredibly unsuspecting groups. So unsuspecting, that they most likely did not even realize it themselves.

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My Unforgettable Experience


As New Heaven Reef Conservation Interns, we are fortunate enough to get a hands-on experience with baby Hawksbill turtles. With feedings and health checks every day, a true bond is soon created. This month, I was lucky enough to release one of them into the ocean. The experience was one that was truly unforgettable and will contribute to the success of Hawksbill turtle populations for years to come. This once in a lifetime opportunity felt only appropriate to share with other conservation lovers.

jenny turt 1

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WTF is That? Valonia ventricosa

Today we are going to explore the strange and alien Valonia ventricosa, or the Sailor’s Eye. You may remember your first days diving on the coral reefs, watching all the fish and exploring the benthos. At some point in your underwater adventures you probably stumbled upon what looked to be a bit of treasure. Maybe it’s a ball of silver, or some sort of jewelry bead for giants. If you would have touched it (which hopefully you didn’t) it would have collapsed like a deflated balloon, leaving you wondering is this is something from the reef, or from the humans above?

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Coral Bleaching on Koh Tao: May Update

Mass coral bleaching events are becoming more frequent and severe across the planet’s tropical oceans, and Koh Tao is no exception. Koh Tao has experienced several coral bleaching events over the last three decades, most notably those in 1998, 2010, 2014, and 2016. Now, it appears as though 2019 could be another bad year for the corals of our island as sea water temperatures have continued to heat up over the last few months. Coral bleaching is primarily a factor of sea water temperatures, with higher temperatures for long periods of time causing the most severe bleaching and mortality. So, we felt it was important to look at temperatures for the island over the last 20 years, using satellite data supplied by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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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 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 After 7 years of data collection, we are starting to see some interesting trends.

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New Heaven Reef Conservation Program