11 September 2008

Make Singapore a coral haven

Singapore has done a good job in saving the coral reefs this year for the IYOR campaign. Singapore's coral reefs could turn the island into a "coral paradise" in 10 years with more protection and better management. At least 10% of Singapore's coral reefs, mostly along the southern islands, would be turned into sanctuaries.
These could be categorised into "no-go zones", where access is granted for only scientific purposes. Other areas with limited access could be allowed, or opened under proper management.
Currently, areas such as the Chek Jawa Wetlands and Pulau Seduku are protected by the National Parks Board(NParks), which monitors the area. Vessels entering these wetlands also need a permit from NParks. However, more areas should be covered, including the southern islands such as Kusu Island and St John's Island, as well as diving spot Pulau Hantu, and live-firing areas like Pulau Sedong and Pulau Senang, suggested Mr Francis Lee, chairman of consultative group Marine Roundtable. Singapore has not paid enough attention to marine conservation, added Mr Lee. "Management of our seas has been limited to prevent pollution from factories and oil tankers, and I think we've done a wonderful job in that area, but not so in serving the marine ecosystem." He added that the cost of such measures should be borne by the Government.
After all, coral reefs may be a valuable source of biomedical products and serve as educational and tourists draws.
He said:"The region has more than 2,500 fish species, and 500 to 600 times more than the Caribbean, and 25 times more than the Mediterranean."
He added that Singapore may well have half or more of this biodiversity. Common species fond there includes butterfly fish, and brain and staghorn corals.
Professor Chou Loke Ming of the National University of Singapore's department of biological sciences said that there have been "positive signals" such as the translocation of corals when a development is built upon the site of a reef. He added:"Coral-reef conservation and restoration run over the long term. It's not just a one-off exercise; it has to be sustained effort."
We wished that the rest of the world would make an effort in saving these ocean forests like Singapore.

adapted from: My Paper, Wednesday September 10, 2008

08 September 2008

Only after

Only after all the oceans are polluted
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only after the last coral reef has been destroyed
Only then will you find that money is not everything

What could we do to save the corals from ending up like the dinosaurs?
1-do not litter near coastal areas
2-when you go scuba-diving, leave what you see alone in their natural habitat instead of collecting them for souvenirs.

If everyone is making an effort to save the earth and not to mention the coral reefs, maybe saving gaia or IYOR would not be needed anymore to remind everyone how important it is to save dying corals and the earth.

25 August 2008

Why are coral reefs so important?

Coral reefs are home to many unique animals and plants that could not survive anywhere else. Tens of thousands of plant and animal species live in coral reef areas. Coral is very important ic controlling how much carbon dioxide is in the oceans. Without coral, the amount of carbon dioxide in the water would rise dramatically, which would affect all living things on Earth. Coral reefs also protect coastlines from strong currents and waves by slowing the water down before it reaches the shore. That's why they are called barrier reefs.

adapted from: On the job- Sea life scientist-Have you got what it takes to be a marine biologist? by Lisa Thompson

Humans helping corals, corals helping humans

Marine biologists may have found a new form of first aid for injured coral reefs. Reseachers at the University of Guam have managed to grow 10 species of coral. They hope this will lead to the "farming" of coral by aquarium suppliers. Live patches of farmed coral could be applied to reefs that have been damaged, helping the reefs to regenerate. Someday, there even could be a bank of corals to be transplanted into damaged reefs all over the world.

Coral help humans in many ways, and some of those ways are personal. Corals, for example, can be used to make medicines. Australian scientists have developed a sunscreen from substances in corals. The corals use the substances to protect themselves from the sun's ultraviolet rays. It has an SPF(sun protection factor)of more than 50. Even animals that live in the coral help humans. Scientists in the United States have created a potent pain-killing drug from the poison of reef-dwelling sea snails.

adapted from: On the job- Sea life scientist-Have you got what it takes to be a marine biologist? by Lisa Thompson

Reef types

There are three kinds of coral reefs: fringing rees, barrier reefs, and atolls.
  • Fringing reefs grow right up to the shore.

  • Barrier reefs are seperated from the shore by a wide, deep lagoon.

  • Atolls are coral reefs that surround a shallow lagoon. They are created when an island that is surrounded by barrier reefs sinks below the water, leaving a cicular reef, the atoll.

Why is there so many crown-of-thorns starfishes?

Why do crown-of-thorns starfish numbers get out of hand? No one knows the answer yet, but one theory is that the runoff from chemicals that are used in farming is allowing more starfish eggs to survive. Another reason could be that the main predator of the crown-of-thorns starfish which is the giant triton(a large sea snail), has been hunted extensively by humans. The giant triton's shell is a popular souvenir.

adapted from: On the job- Sea life scientist-Have you got what it takes to be a marine biologist? by Lisa Thompson

The Four Big Threats to Coral Reefs

1. Coral diseases
Scientists believe that runoff nutrients and sediment from the land, as well as high sea temperatures in summer, can cause coral diseases. There are about 30 known coral diseases, and the Great Barrier Reef has at least six of them. They include black-band disease, white syndrome, and coral tumours. Coral diseases are carried and spread by bacteria, fungi, algae, and worms.

2.Coral bleaching (as shown in the previous post)

3.Crown-of thorns starfish
Small numbers of this starfish on a reef are normal. They are simply part of the coral reef ecosystem. In large numbers, they eat corals faster than corals can grow and reproduce. A crown-of thorns starfish eats an area of coralthe same size as itself in a single day. In one year, one of these starfish can destroy 6 square yards of coral. If there are hundreds of them on a reef, it means destruction of the reef

People damage coral reefs in three main ways- through pollution, tourism, and fishing.
Not all coral reefs around the world are as healthy as the Great Barrier Reef. Since 2000, almost 30% of the world's reefs have been destroyed. It is estimated that 11% have been lost because of humans, through pollution, overfishing, dynamite fishing, minig of sand, or onshore building and development. Scientists think that two of every three reefs could disappear in the next 40 years! We need to protect and preserve these rain forests of the sea.

adapted from: On the job- Sea life scientist-Have you got what it takes to be a marine biologist? by Lisa Thompson

19 August 2008

Corals in Singapore

Singapore reefs are found around islands south of the mainland, like Sentosa, Pulau Hantu, The Sisters, Pulau Satumu and many others. Despite being whithin one of the world's busiest ports,Singapore's reefs still support rich biological communities.

15 August 2008

Global Warming and coral reefs

The world is getting warmer. Coral bleaching occurred in almost all tropical oceans as far back as 1997. Reef areas in the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Seychelles have been greatly affected by bleaching.

In 2002,the worst bleaching ever recorded occurred in the Great Barrier Reef. It affected 60 percent of surveyed reefs,and the damage was very severe in some areas. Most reefs survived, but full recovery of badly damaged reefs may take decades.

adapted from: Sea life scientist-Have you got what it takes to be a marine biologist.

coral bleaching

Coral reefs are sentitive to temperature, needing water that is never cooler than about 20 degree celcius and never warmer than 29 degree celcius. Bleaching of coral reefs has occured due to locally rising sea temperatures, thought to be caused by climate changes brought about by El Nino. These sensitive organisms die in water that is too warm - a rise of only one or two degrees is enough to start the bleaching process. The algae that live inside the polyp die, and the remaining polyp turns white and also dies. By the late 1990s, it was thought that more than half of the Great Barrier Reef had been affected by bleaching.

adapted by: caring for the planet-seas and oceans, by Neil Champion

13 August 2008

Coral polyp

The polyp is supported in a stone-like cup. It makes the cup from substances dissolved in seawater. The cup, called a theca, anchors the polyp to the older layers below and to the polyps around it.
The tentacles catch food, although the coral gets most of its food from tiny single-celled plants that live inside the coral tissues.

adapted from: How it works- Exploring The Oceans, by Stephen Hall

10 August 2008

Animals that use the corals to protect themselves

There are many different animals that use coral reefs to camouflage themselves to hide from their enemies or predators. Blending perfectly with the backdrop of sponges and corals, the scorpion fish waits for its prey, such as small fishes and crustaceans. The purple stonefish matches the coral-covered rocks on the sea floor. The pipefish has adapted its shape and colour to match the kelp and coral that grow under the sea. The red-and-white hawkfish camouflages itself by darting in and out of red branched corals.

adpted from: Time Warner discoveries library- Under the Sea

How coral atolls form

A coral reef starts to grow around a volcanic island. The volcano becomes inactive and erodes away or sinks while the reef keeps growing. When the islandhas sunk completely, the reef appears a ring- or horseshoe-shaped from above. It has a shallow lagoon in the middle.

adapted from: How It Works- Exporing the OCEANS, by Stephen Hall

The brain coral

The brain coral looks exactly like a human brain except that it is much larger. It grows slowly and have annual growth rings like a tree.

07 August 2008

Corals in danger

Coral reefs are being damaged all over the world. Coral reefs grow very slowly, so every reef that is destroyed will take another hundred years to grow. Corals are like forests,we take corals to make things like necklaces. Some fishermen use poison to catch tropical fishes from the reefs which are then sold to pet shops. Careless divers are also responsible for damaging these beautiful corals.

04 August 2008

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is the largest sanctuaries in the world. It extends for 2,000 km(1,240 miles) along the coast of northeastern coast of Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is made up of 2900 separate reefs. the coral reefs boasts a diversity of species rivaled in number only by the diversity found in tropical rain forest.

adapted from: Time Warner discoveries library- Under the Sea and sea life scientist-Have you got what it takes to be a marine biologist? By Lisa Thompson.

Marine Parks

Coral reefs are breaking down all over the world from the effects of pollution and overfishing. To prevent this, most tropical coutries are creating marine parks to help protect coral areas from further damage. Tourists can enjoy the reefs and the fishes at these parks.

adapted from: Time Warner discoveries library- Under the Sea

Coral types and communities

There are more than 500 species of coral, such as sea fan coral, hard brain coral, bubble coral, mushroom coral, staghorn coral and soft fire coral, grow together. They have a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours, yet they all have the same basic body plan- a simple sacklike stomach and a mouth that is surrounded by a ring of poison filled tentacles. They live side by side with goldfish, giant clams, surgeonfish and many other sea dwellers.

adapted from: Time Warner discoveries library- Under the Sea

the home to many living things

Corals are home to many different types of animals. Crutaceans, sea urchins , molluscs, clams and some fishes are some of them. Clownfishes lives and hides from its enemies and predators within the tentacles of the coral reef anemone. It escapes being stung by covering itself in a layer of mucus from the anemone. The anemone is fooled into thinking the the fish is part of itself.

adapted fom: Time Warner discoveries library- Under the Sea

How corals get their food

Each polyp has many round plant cells living in its body and these cells photosynthesises. the corals are able to catch their own food with their stinging tentacles, but most of the food is made by the plant cells. Coral reefs need th efood from these plant cells to grow quickly.

adapted fom: Time Warner discoveries library- Under the Sea

How coral reefs are formed

These marine homes grow in warm shallow seas and are built by coral animals, or polyps, with softbodies and mouths that are ringed by stinging tentacles. The polyps construct thimble-shaped skeletons of lime stone around themselves. As the polyps grow upwards, they keep dividing in two. They leave their skeletons behind them, however, and fuse together to make coral reef.

adapted from: Time Warner discoveries library- Under the Sea

31 July 2008

John Bruno and Elizabeth Selig confirmed that this coverage is decreasing by 1% per year for the studied period. In comparison, the Amazonian forest “only” disappears at a rate of 0.4% per year.The dramatic consequence of the regression of the coral is that, in 2003, only half of the coral living in 1980 is still alive.
This indicates that the disappearing rate has drastically increased for the last 20 years.
There is an even more alarming result with a decrease of the coral reefs by 1.5% per year with the possibly of totally disappearing within few years.

adapted from:www.myclimatechange.net

29 July 2008

save the coral reefs

Pollution and rising sea temperatures are slowly destroying coral reefs in many parts of the world. Even the world biggest coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef which is visible from space is slowly being destroyed.

Save the coral reefs for the younger generation to come.