Picture of the week: Black grouper

Extremely cold weather US caused by polar vortex

The extremely low temperatures in the US are caused by a polar vortex moving southwards. Normally strong circular jet streams ‘lock’ polar temperatures, prohibiting them from moving south.  Warm air now entering the arctic zone not only causes a meltdown of the sea ice but creates a weaker and wavy jet stream, permitting the cold weather to penetrate into southern countries, even reaching southern states like Florida and causing cold fronts in the  Bahamas.

Chinese tourist divers reputation

Tourists at Bali Beach

Why are Chinese tourists and scubadivers abusive towards wildlife? Showing little respect for the underwater world and other divers. Breaking coral while taking selfies with their Gopros or  while rushing over the coral reef or shipwrecks. Scuba divers from China have the reputation of arriving and diving in groups, not always sufficiently instructed or supervised by the crew or dive masters. Demanding from the trip organizer ‘guaranteed’’ encounters with rare species such as mantas, dolphins or sharks. Insufficient training often causes dive accidents like a diver getting lost, caught in a current, or losing diving equipment.


News: Blue carbon a solution for Indonesia?

Blue carbon  is the carbon carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. The Blue Carbon Initiative currently focuses on carbon in coastal ecosystems - mangroves, tidal marshes, and seagrasses. Mangroves are tropical forests that thrive in salt water and found in a variety of coastal settings worldwide. Mangroves store greater amounts of carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem, which helps reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In Indonesia, the shrimp farming boom triggered large-scale mangrove conversion to aquacultures in this country. In 30 year around  40% of Indonesian Mangroves around its numerous island have disappeared. Projects are being developed at sites to protect and restore coastal ecosystems for their blue carbon value. An example is the Surodadi project where attempts are made to protect the mangroves and stimulate new growth of colonies by building protective fences that prevent the mud to flow back to sea at low at low tides. Professor Daniel Murdiyarso is one of the researchers investigating deforestation of the Indonesia Mangroves around the island of Surodadi.

Is Indonesia able (=willing)  to incorporate the Blue Carbon initiative in its financial planning?  It already received 4.4. billion dollars from the UN to bring down the massive deforestation, the major cause of its super high CO2 emissions. While the result of this investment is not yet clear, Indonesia has planned to build some dozens of new coal plants in the coming year. 

News: IVF to save bleaching GB reef corals

Coral spawning: a spectacular annual event.

ivf corals for the Reef: scientists from  Southern Cross University in Australia are undertaking the largest and most complicated coral regeneration attempt ever on the Great Barrier Reef that could help save the dying coral reefs in the northern sectors. This week they will collect millions of coral eggs and sperm during the annual and beautiful coral spawning event on the reef in the first step of the ambitious project. The grown larvae will be released after a couple of weeks on the damaged sites of the reef. see further: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/06/08/australia/great-barrier-reef-coral-ivf-intl/index.html

Another project under study is to genetically engineer new coral species that are more resistant to rising sea water temperature levels. Similar to the Red Sea corals that are known to survive even much higher temperatures than those of the Barrier reef.