“Coral reefs are the world’s underwater rainforests”


Coral are the rainforest of the ocean. Its reefs quickly create new species. The biodiversity of life on the reef is comparable to the multiplicity of life forms in the rainforests. There are 30 of 34 known animal phyla living on the reef. About 2800 species of fish are known to live in the reef region. Of the 500 or so species of reef building corals found throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, about 350 are known to be on the Barrier Reef. It could be decades before scientists have a complete list of all the plants and animals found on any one reef. Many species are still to be identified and named. Preserving and nurturing the coral will protect the entire food chain and our web of life as we know it.

In the richest of all regions of coral reef development (central Indo-Pacific), a single acre of coral reef habitat may harbor many types of marine algae, hundreds of brightly hued fish species, and thousands of different kinds of invertebrate animals. Coral reefs are the largest living structure on the planet.

500 million years ago the first coral reef grew. Now the world’s coral reefs are in crisis

The economic importance of maintaining a healthy coral and pollution free coastal shoreline cannot be under estimated:

1. Coral reefs cover are home to 25% of all marine fish species.
2. 500 million people rely on coral reefs for their food and livelihoods.
3. Coral reefs form natural barriers that protect nearby shorelines from the eroding forces of the sea, thereby protecting coastal dwellings, agricultural land and beaches.
4. Coral reefs, protect parts of Florida from be submerged.
5. Medicines made coral have been used in the treatment of cancer, HIV, cardiovascular diseases and ulcers.
6. Corals’ porous limestone skeletons have been used for human bone grafts.
7. It is estimated that coral reefs provide $375 billion per year around the world in goods and services.

Threats to the world’s coral reefs include:
1. Pollution -waste products from gasoline and oil, trash, plastic, cans, bottles, cosmetics, human carelessness, agriculture waste run off
2. Disease – bacterial, white pox, band and rapid wasting disease, coral bleaching, shedding – a sick environment equals sick coral
3. Over-fishing -destroying the food chain by taking all the largest fish and other sea creatures
4. Dynamite and cyanide fishing  especially in the Far East -Indonesia, Phillipines, Malasia, China, Japan
5. Sedimentation – muddy freshwater enters the sea by realizing that gaps in continuous fringing and offshore reefs faced the river mouths.
6. Bleaching caused by rising ocean temperatures from global warming

Healthy coral

If the present rate of destruction continues:

a. 70% of the world’s coral reefs will be destroyed by the year 2050.
b.  25% of coral reefs have already disappeared and an estimated two-thirds of all coral reefs are at risk today.1
c. 88% of the reefs in Southeast Asia – the most species rich reefs on earth – are at risk.
d. Since 1975, more than 90% of the reefs in the Florida Keys have lost their living coral cover.

Only we can change this destruction

  1. Take care and help clean up the our streams, shores, ocean and all waterways.
  2. Decreasing our carbon footprint
  3. When diving being respectful of the environment and staying off the coral.
  4. Take pictures of coral for souvenirs.
  5. Refusing to buy fish that are harvested by in long lines, dynamiting or cynanide poisoning ( the last two methods are from the Far East).
  6. Recycle, reuse and take trash home for proper discard on land, lake , stream, the seashore or ocean.

Support organizations that are helping protect the coral reef and sealife. Get involved.

Coral reefs are a world treasure. Our economic and health depend on them staying healthy.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.terradaily.com//Coral_reefs_quickly_create.html

Excerpts courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southeast_Asian_coral_reefs

Excerpts courtesy of  http://www.barrierreefaustralia.com/great-barrier-reef-info2.html

Excerpts courtesy of   http://www.nature.org/joinanddonate/rescuereef/explore/facts.html

Image courtesy of  http://images.google.com/foodweb

Image courtesy of  http://www.uncwil.edu/bio/images/JRPBahamasspongesandcoral.jpg

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“Why must we save these endangered animals and forests?”


Our future as a species may be tied to saving these animals and forests from extinction.

Besides the beauty and the uniqueness of these ancient animals and forests, scientists are finding that
1. Leatherback turtle blood clots quickly so sharks can not detect their scent after being injured. This  may help scientists unravel clues to stem bleeding in humans. After surgery or injury, bleeding can cause death if not quickly stopped.

2. Cheetah’s are the fastest land animal. Their muscle protein structure may help understand their speed and help in muscle rehabilitation after an accident.

Cheetahs may run free in India

3. The naked mole rat is being studied for his longevity and extended family structure.

4. Leatherback turtles, the biggest species of turtle, can dive deeper than other turtles, leading experts to wonder how they regulate buoyancy. That and the shape of their shells could give clues to submarine or ship design.
5. Honey bee sting is used to decrease pain in joints from arthritis.
6. Frogs and lizards feet and a spider’s webs are being studied for their stickiness and its strength.
7. Tropical forests soak up greenhouse gases and are the treasure house for plants used to heal and a new source of income for poor nations.

Conserving endangered animals, sea life, the oceans, wetlands, forests and the air we breathe may take on such economic value that we will do whatever it takes to save them and us.

Resources


Excerpts
courtesy of   http://www.reuters.com

Images 1 and 3. courtesy of Nature’s Crusaders library

Image 2. courtesy of   http://costaricanconservationnetwork.wordpress.com/leatherback.jpg

“Lime in the coconut -no it is an octopus!”


Nature’s Crusaders welcomes the first cephalopod Amphioctopus marginatus to use a tool. Not like a hammer,  but this octopus adopts coconut shells from the muddy shallow sea bottom and makes itself a portable home by putting one shell below its body and one or more above it . Then it anchors its body to half of the coconut shell below by suction.

With its legs extended over the bottom shell, the octopus proceeds to tip toe across the muddy bottom on its eight legs. The Coconut Octopus would be more vulnerable to predators in shallower waters, so it carries these shells for protection and camouflage.
To see this amazing octopus in action click here.

Resources


Excerpts
courtesy of  National Geographic

Excerpts courtesy of  http://blogs.discovermagazine.com

Image courtesy of   http://wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/Octopus_marginatus.jpg

Video courtesy of  http://www.youtube.com

“Female mosquites love the delicious odors given off by humans”


Back in the days of my high school science project, my most memorable one was on mosquitoes. Culex pipien pipiens was the species. My mission was to find out whether they laid more viable (more to hatch) eggs with or without a human blood meal. As I reported the findings in front of an auditorium full of people in Champagne Urbana, Illinois, an unusual reaction spread through my audience. One row at a time each person began scratching as I described how I feed the mosquitoes a human blood meal-my arm stuck in their cage. At the height of the mosquito population, it numbered about 300 hungry females. Research has advanced significantly since my days with the mosquito abatement service. The Culex p.p. did lay more viable eggs on human blood if you are interested.

Why  did all these mosquitoes prefer a human blood meal to the gerbil or guinea pig meal?

Well it seems researchers now understands why humans are such a delicacy. It seems we give off more carbon dioxide and nonanal odors than these other animals. This combination is irresistible to female mosquitoes.
How do they detect these odors?
We give them off through  our skin. Nonanal molecules are an end product of fat digestion and when we breathe our skin exudes the combination of these odors. When it is hot, we sweat and give off heat, CO2 and nonanal odors. These odors are sensed by the receptor sense cells on the antennae of the head of the mosquito and it can hone in on that essence from many feet away. They will land and where ever the concentration of the odors is the strongest they will drill through clothes including jeans to suck the blood that carries the desired chemicals to the surface of the skin.
The UC Davis research on the nonanal odor was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health; a cooperative research agreement with Bedoukian Research, a supplier of specialty aroma and flavor ingredients headquartered in Connecticut; and the National Science Foundation.
Resources

Excerpts courtesy of   http://news.yahoo.com/livescience/whyhumanblooddrivesmosquitoeswild
Excerpts courtesy of   http://www.news.ucdavis.edu

Excerpts courtesy of  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sensory_receptor

Excerpts courtesy of   http://www.springerlink.com

Image mosquito mouth parts  courtesy of  http://www.vanderbilt.edu/maxpalp.jpg
Image mosquitobloodmeal  courtesy of   http://www.biolib.cz.jpg

“Nature’s Gallery of blue wonders – really true blue” part 2″


Nature’s blue wonders

The biggest and the loudest animal alive today is the Blue Whale.

This giant Blue Whale Balaenoptera musculus has a heart the size of a Volkswagon beetle car and weighs about 1,000 pounds (450 kg). A full grown man could crawl through the aorta in this whale and its beating heart causes 14,00o

endangered blue whale

pounds (6,400 kg) of blood to circulate through its body. A adult man could crawl through the aorta (a major blood vessel).Endangered, this blue whale , the largest animal to ever live on Earth can grow to 94 feet (29 meters) in length and weigh more 174 tons, This baleen whale is a filter feeder. They live in family groups called pods.

Large Blues butterflies and red ants unusual partners for life.

As caterpillars the Big Blues Maculinea arion feed on wild thyme or marjoram flowers for the first few days to weeks of development. Once well fed, they drop to the ground and begin secreting sweet fluids to attract red ants Myrmica sabuleti. The ants carry the caterpillar back to their ant nest underground and stroked the caterpillar with its antennae.

Large Blue Butterfly

This stroking causes more sweet secretions to ooze from the caterpillar’s body to feed the ants. This process continues until the Large Blue raises its body half way off the ground. This signals the ants to stop feeding and carry the Large Blue to its winter resting quarters in the ants’ tunnel.

After hibernation is over in spring, the caterpillars will then begin to eat the red ant’s eggs and larvae for up to 3 weeks. It will then hang itself by its legs on the ant nest’s roof and spin a chrysalis around itself. The caterpillar will spend a further 3 weeks transforming into the Large Blue butterfly adult.

When it emerges as a butterfly, red ants will escort the newly emerged butterfly to the surface, taking it to a low plant or shrub nearby. The red ants will encircle the butterfly and ward off any predators that attempt to attack the butterfly as it dries out. After the butterfly is ready to fly away, the ants will return to their nest. For more unusual factoid about the Large Blue Butterflies click here.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/whales/species/Bluewhale.shtml

Excerpts courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Large_Blue_(butterfly)

Image courtesy of http://www.thetechherald.com/media/images/200922/800pxBlueWhaleWithCalf_1.jpg

Image courtesy of http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/06/090615185420-large.jpg

“Sea turtles in court enviroment vs government”


Turtle Restoration Project, an environmental group, blames the WTO ruling for the death of 13,000 sea turtles in India last year.

Sea turtle conservationists in California and family shrimp fishers from Florida filed a federal lawsuit today against the U. S. State Department for violations of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for allowing shrimp caught in ways that are deadly to sea turtles to be sold in the United States.

These two groups may seem like odd bedfellows, but both groups have the health of the ocean creatures at the forefront of their interests. How did this happen? Well when American shrimpers complied with the WTO ruling and changed their nets and adjusted their fishing practices to help save the turtles the foreign shrimp fishermen did not comply. By continuing to use the old nets that have no TED (Turtle Extruder Devices) they are accelerating the demise of the endangered sea turtles.

Shrimp fisheries are the largest known mortality factor for adult turtles. Because turtles breathe air, they frequently drown when they become entangled in fishing gear and are unable to surface.

sea turtle drowning in shrimp net

This problem needs to be solved quickly, because thousands of sea turtles are drowning in these nets in our Caribbean waters and overseas as well. Just recently Bangladesh environmentalists have been demanding that shrimp fisherman the poorest of the poor and the shrimp fisheries work together to avoid the total destruction of the seas around Bangladesh due to the use of these old style nets and the repeated over fishing of the same coastline areas.

Please adopt a sea turtle this year and help keep our turtles from drowning in these nests.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://seaturtles.org/article.php?id=1468

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.seattlepi.com/business/case1.shtml

Excerpts courtesy of http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=29926&Cr=fao&Cr1=fish

Image courtesy of http://www.mnn.com/sites/default/files/turtle.pri__0.jpg

“Be a Dobson Fly 4 Halloween or next costume event”


The adult Dobson fly has a unique face that puts any zombie mask to shame. This critter may look like something from a horror movie, but they are beneficial insects.

Check out this illustration for unique costume possibilities for your next party or Halloween.

Mother Nature makes the best costumes or camophalage

Mother Nature makes the best costumes or camouflage

This image is the face of the Dobson fly magnified.

Dobson fly magnefied

Dobson fly head magnified

Both male and female of the eastern Dobson flies can reach lengths up to five inches (12.5 cm), measured from the tips of their pincers to the tips of their four wings, which, when not in use, are folded along the length of their walking -stick-like bodies. Their wingspans can be twice as long as their body length, and the wings themselves are densely lined with intersecting veins. Additionally, Dobson flies have segmented antennae similar to ants and wasps.

Found across the eastern side of North America east of the Continental Divide from Canada to Mexico near flowing streams where the larvae grow up. The hellgrammites are the larva and they live under stones or occasionally on snags where they feed on a variety of soft-bodied nymphs of insects like the net-spinning caddisflies and blackflies

The adults catch theri prey with the long pincers that extent out of its head. They are so strong if your finger or toe got pinched it might bleed.

Giant pinchers of Doson fly

Giant pincers of Doson fly

Dobson Fly adult

Dobson Fly adult

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dobsonfl

Excerpts courtesy of http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/misc/eastern dobsonfly.htm

Image 1. (illustration) (left )courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/Corydalus_cornutus_illustration.png

Image 2. (micrograph) (right) courtesy of http://i.livescience.com/images/ls_ugliest_dobsonfly_02.jpg

Image 3. (left) courtesy of http://lamar.colostate.edu/~secarney/AntCourse/133-BIG_Bug.jpg

Image 3. (right) courtesy of http://www.flytyingforum.com/uploads/gallery41c5ff989c417.jpg

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