Weekly Roundup March 1st - March 6th

This week marked the start of a new group of students amongst which were:

2 interns

1 x 4 week course

1`x 2 week course

1 x 3 day course

&

1 x Conservation Diver Instructor Trainee

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We started the week learning about our Ecological Monitoring Program and the species that we record as indicator species along the reef.

 

First up was the invertebrate EMP

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Marbled Sea Cucumber (Bohadschia graeffei)

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       Jorunna Nudibranch (Jorunna funebris)

Our students made their way through the transect counting all of the invertebrate species that fell into our indicator species list.

 


Then came the Fish EMP and a chance for the guys to have a second run at invertebrates

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The transect line 

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   Longfin Bannerfish (Heniochus acuminatus)

 

The most exciting part of the week however was that our students were lucky enough to join us around coral spawning time and it’s safe to say the coral did not disappoint. We were able to catch a whole range of coral genera releasing their gamete bundles into the big wide world.

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The aftermath of Fungids spawning

 

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          The start of Goniastrea spawning after the initial setting period       

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   Acropora mid spawn

 

To round of the week we ended with Substrate EMP and Coral Taxonomy

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Let’s see what the next week brings

Until then remember its

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Plastic Pollution, how can we reduce it?

June 8th marked World Ocean’s Day, and with it the reminder to really think about our oceans and the impact we have on them through plastic pollution.

As we know, plastic pollution is a huge issue worldwide with estimates of up to 8 million tonnes of plastic making its way into waterways each year. This marine debris can now be found from the ocean’s surface down to the deep sea, with a plastic bag finding its way down to 36,000 feet (10,975 metres) in the Mariana Trench.

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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.

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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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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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New Heaven Reef Conservation Program