1. A behaviour-mediated trophic cascade


    from Journal of Animal Ecology / Added

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    'Patterns of top-down control in a seagrass ecosystem: could a roving apex predator (Galeocerdo cuvier) induce a behaviour-mediated trophic cascade?' By: Derek Burkholder, Michael Heithaus, James Fourqurean, Aaron Wirsing, Lawrence Dill http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1365-2656.12097/abstract This manuscript presents data from a multi-year exclosure study to test a priori hypotheses regarding a behavior-mediated trophic cascade initiated by tiger sharks in a pristine seagrass ecosystem. We present evidence that seagrass communities are heavily influenced by large-bodied grazers, but only in areas where they can graze at lower risk from tiger shark predation. Although recent studies have suggested that roving predators, like tiger sharks, should be unlikely to trigger behavior-mediated cascades our work suggests that spatial heterogeneity can lead to such cascades. This study also suggests that the removal of large bodied predators could have wide-ranging consequeces for foundational species like seagrasses. Therefore, we believe that this manuscript should be of general interest to ecologists working in diverse marine, terrestrial, and freshwater ecosystems.

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    • Ako Rokomate introduces the Reef Rangers! Community Centred Conservation (C3)


      from Community Centred Conservation / Added

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      The Reef Rangers of Kia Island- are a group of students from the North of Fiji with a strong passion and commitment to the environment. Established over a year ago this enthusiastic group of children from the local school- Kia District School comprise over 60 youths from grades 1 through 8 at primary school level in Fiji. Reef Rangers participate in classroom lessons, practical learning sessions and community awareness and outreach with the help of local teachers, community assistants and C3 staff who are there to facilitate the process . In the coming year a select group of 5 Reef Rangers will be representing Fiji and the South Pacific as finalists at the 2013 UNEP Volvo Adventure Awards in Sweden and this kind of international recognition will boost plans to expand the network to other parts of Fiji. The Reef Rangers are an exemplary group of youths who are working together to make an impact and bring about positive environmental change in Fiji. Thanks to the Conservation Leadership Programme and Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation for funding this great project! The Great Sea Reef stretches to an area of over 77 000 squares miles (the largest in Fiji and the third largest in the world) and features high coral cover and diverse marine fauna-many of which are endemic. The breaks in the Great Sea Reef are important spawning sites for local fisheries as well as commercial fish species. The islands around the Great Sea Reef are typified by a dry arid climate resulting in vegetation dominated by grassland, savannah, shrub forests and very little green vegetation. Fishing is the primary income-generating activity and the leading source of income. The people of some islands also function as traditional fishers for the Tui Macuata (Chief of Macuata province) and are obliged to fulfill this cultural role at traditional ceremonies and functions. In light of the high demand and consequent strain on their marine resources, management strategies have been developed in the region in recent years such as the Great Sea Reef conservation site under the umbrella of the Macuata conservation network- Siga Damu a Vanua (an old Fijian war cry). However, while most efforts have been focused on scientific surveys and increasing capacity amongst locals to monitor their resources/fishing grounds, there has been little done to understand and record the socio-economic, taxonomic and cultural importance of their resources from the local perspective which could provide more effective management tools for the successful conservation of not only keystone species but whole trophic systems. Little has been done locally on bridging the gap between indigenous knowledge and modern science. Additionally with the proposed extension of the current marine protected area (MPA), suitable alternative sources of income need to be developed to sustain livelihoods and maintain community commitment to the MPA.

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      • A sea-grass-bed


        from Dr Olaf / Added

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        Here we follow Yanni, who is doing a Masters in Marine Biology on the Gold Coast. Yanni is looking at seagrass beds and finds out that fish and other marine creatures need seagrass beds just like we need our beds to rest. Find out with us who we discover sleeping in the (seagrass) bed...

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        • Back to the scene: Broadwater dugong sighting


          from Mic Smith / Added

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          There is at least one dugong that is commonly seen in the north bay of Wavebreak island. Whether it lives with the big herd of 1000 further north on the Amity Banks or is a loner that frequents this area is unknown but both are equally likely. The dugong feeds on seagrass beds across the channel from Wavebreak at South Straddy. Sustained dredging would wreck those seagrass beds and dugongs would never hang out there again because they are only interested in places with lots of seagrass because they like to graze alll the time like cows. Queensland is the world capital for dugongs and Moreton Bay Marine Park (which Wavebreak Island borders) has the biggest population of dugongs on the doorstep of a city. This video by shows the places where the dugong hangs out. This is one of the reasons to protest development of Wavebreak Island on Sunday. Read more http://blankgc.com.au/seagrass-bringing-turtles-and-dugongs-to-the-seaway/

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          • Beautiful Cyrene 3 - sandfish sea cucumber


            from SgBeachBum / Added

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            This clip shows a sandfish sea cucumber (Holothuria scabra) moving around in a seagrass meadow on Cyrene reef. About sea cucumbers in general : http://www.wildsingapore.com/chekjawa/text/p630.htm Quote : "Wormy Echinoderms: Sea cucumbers are echinoderms but look quite different from their cousins. They don't have arms or spines; and are soft and worm-like. But like other echinoderms, they are symmetrical along five axes along the length of the body. Instead of lying on their mouths like sea stars, brittle stars, sand dollars and sea urchins, sea cucumbers lie on their sides with their mouths on one end and backsides on the other. Feeding with their feet! Most sea cucumbers have tube feet. The tube feet around the mouth are modified into branched or feathery feeding tentacles. There can be 10-30 such tentacles, which can be completely retracted into the body. Most have tiny tube feet which are used to cling to surfaces and things. Only a few use their tube feet to creep on. In some, tube feet emerge in rows concentrated on the flattened lower half that faces the surface (called the sole). In others, the tube feet may be scattered all over their body. Sea cucumbers that lack tube feet include synaptid sea cucumbers and those sea cucumbers that burrow. Morphing sea cucumbers: Instead of a hard skeleton, the bodies of sea cucumbers are mostly made up of mutable connective tissue that they can rapidly change from soft to rock hard. This tissue plus well-developed layers of muscles (around the body and along its length) helps them to move about; flow into narrow places to hide; or disuade predators from taking a bite out of them. They also have ossicles (hard pieces of calcium carbonate), but these are microscopic and widely distributed in their mutable connective tissue. In some sea cucumbers, their ossicles can give their skin a stiff and rough texture. Sea cucumber ossicles take on a wondrous variety of delicate shapes and are used to identify sea cucumber species! Breathing through their backsides! A unique feature of sea cucumbers is an internal breathing system of branching tubes along the length of their bodies. Called respiratory trees, most large sea cucumbers have a pair of these, each connected to the opening on the backside. To breathe, the sea cucumber pumps water in through its backside and up through the respiratory trees. The water is then flushed out through the backside again. With this constant flow of water, some tiny creatures find the backside of a seacucumber a cosy and safe place to be! These include pea crabs and the Pearlfish. Dust Busters of the Sea: Most sea cucumbers eat detritus, collecting this in their sticky, mucus-covered branched or feathery tentacles by sweeping the sea bottom or waving their tentacles in the water. The tentacles are then inserted one by one into the mouth and sucked clean. Some simply shovel sediments into their mouths with their tentacles and process the edible bits, leaving behind them a trail of sausage-like lumps of processed sediments. Some sea cucumbers have been estimated to process 130kg of sediments per year! Repulsive vomiting: Being soft and slow, sea cucumbers protect themselves by hiding or being unpleasant to deal with. To repel and distract predators, some sea cucumbers vomit their entire digestive system and other internal organs such as the respiratory tree and even their reproductive organs. Depending on the species, these can emerge from the front or back end of a sea cucumber. Some species eject toxic or sticky strings (called Cuvierian tubules) from their backsides. These immobilise the predator in a gummy mess or release toxins. The sea cucumber eventually regrows its innards and arsenal of Cuvierian tubules. Please don't make sea cucumbers expel their intestines. Not all do this. Those that do cannot eat until they re-grow their innards. Cucumber babies: Most sea cucumbers have separate genders and are usually either male or female. Their reproductive organs are near the front of their body. In most species, sperm and eggs are released simultaneously for external fertilisation. Some spawning sea cucumbers raise their front end in a cobra-like posture when releasing their eggs and sperm. Sea cucumbers undergo metamorphosis and their larvae look nothing like their adults. The form that first hatches from the eggs are bilaterally symmetrical and free-swimming, drifting with the plankton. They eventually settle down and develop into tiny sea cucumbers. Here is a fascinating photo of a sea cucumber larva on Image Quest 3-D Marine Library Role in the habitat: Sea cucumbers can make up 90% of the deep sea ecosystem. Since this ecosystem makes up about 70% of the surface of the earth, sea cucumbers can be considered the dominant organisms on earth! Being so numerous, sea cucumbers are important to the ecosystem. Their larvae are probably important in plankton-based food chains. The constant processing of sediment by countless sea cucumbers possibly plays a role in nutrient recycling. Human uses: Some large sea cucumbers are considered delicacies and harvested for food. Others may be collected for the live aquarium trade. Scientists are also studying the toxins of sea cucumbers for possible medical and other applications. Status and threats: Some edible sea cucumbers are globally threatened by over-collection. In Singapore, the main threat is habitat loss due to reclamation or human activities along the coast that pollute the water."

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            • Certainteed Mainstreet Vinyl Siding Installation Prices 973 487 3704-New Jersey home owners love Dutchlap Seagrass-NJ Warranty r


              from NJ Discount Vinyl Siding / Added

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              Certainteed Mainstreet Vinyl Siding Installation Prices 973 487 3704-New Jersey home owners love Dutchlap Seagrass-NJ Warranty reviews for d5 vs Monogram 46 XL Landmark Cedar Impressions- Affordable cost local contractor-Essex county Morris Bergen Passaic FREE ESTIMATES: 973-487-3704 http://NJDiscountVinylSiding.com

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              • Christ In Action Assessment Team Moves Into The Disaster | Hurricane Irene | 2011


                from Christ In Action / Added

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                While Hurricane Irene didn't live up to the media hype, Irene was still a Category 1 Hurricane, packing winds of 90 to 100 mph, when it made landfall in North Carolina. Hurricane Irene killed at least 18 people as it moved from the Caribbean to New England, caused an estimated $3 billion in damage, and cut electric power to more than 6 million homes and businesses across the the eastern U.S. Many areas along the Atlantic coast have experienced extensive damage, including portions of Highway 12 (which runs the length of the N.C. Barrier Islands), having been swept away. Strategically and safely staged in Greensboro, NC, the Christ In Action (CIA) team moves into the disaster zone after the storm passes and works with Dare County Emergency Management officials to prioritize their relief efforts where they are most needed. Christ In Action, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 1982 as an evangelistic organization by Dr. Denny & Sandy Nissley. Since then it has grown into an international ministry touching millions of lives around the world. In the late 90's the focus shifted from street ministry to disaster relief. Today, the mission remains unchanged, we continue taking the love of Jesus to where it's most desperately needed and hardest to find, bringing hope to America's families. Christ In Action's international headquarters is in Manassas, VA with another base of operation located on the West Coast, in Ramona, CA. In 2001 CIA was launched in the United Kingdom, known as Kergyma180 (K180), headquartered in London, England with another base in Falkirk, Scotland. For more information, visit www.christinaction.com

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                • C3 Madagascar - Protect seagrass - protect our coastal fisheries


                  from Community Centred Conservation / Added

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                  Community Centred Conservation (C3) has worked closely with Madagascar National Parks in Nosy Hara Marine Park since 2009. We regularly work with the boy scouts of Diego to organize social marketing events and environmental activities throughout the northern regions of Madagascar. Here is some coverage of our work on Madagascar TV! For more info: http://www.c-3.org.uk The gorgeous area of Ampasindava is only 34km from Diego city. Ampasindava, one of the most beautiful places within the region with nice beaches and clean sea. Unfortunately the ocean is threatened by pollution, particularly plastic bags, so C3 and the scouts of Diego conducted a clean up in Ampasindava. The goal is to show the local communities to keep tidy the village and teach them not to throw the plastic bags into the ocean which negatively affect marine biodiversity. Ismael Leandre, C3 Programme Officer notes that plastic bags and waste kills marine species including coral reef and seagrass. Plastic bags snag on the coral reef, preventing its survival. Seagrass beds constitute the nursery grounds of many fish species and the threatened dugong and green turtle; thus if these critical habitats are polluted, local fishers' livelihoods will ultimately suffer. Thanks to Tusk Trust, Future for Nature Foundation and Rufford Foundation for funding our work in Madagascar!

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                  • Community Centred Conservation C3 - Dugong Feeding Trails - Busuanga Palawan Philippines


                    from Community Centred Conservation / Added

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                    Dugongs populations are globally recognized as vulnerable, but have recently been classed as critically endangered in the Philippines. Dugongs have been hunted in the past using nets, prong, hook, spear, harpoon, and dynamite and the meat sold openly in public markets. Nowadays, bycatch in fishing nets is the most significant threat to the species' survival. Dugongs are also threatened by capture in fish corrals, seaweed farms and through the unregulated use of blast fishing. The dugong is reliant on shallow coastal seagrass and thus shares almost all of its habitat and natural resources with humans. Therefore, in order to successfully protect dugongs in the Philippines, it is essential that the human component is well-considered. The support and involvement of local communities is key to ensuring the continuation of the dugong in the Philippines. Busuanga Island is a recognized stronghold for dugongs in the Philippines, and our research aims to involve local communities to identify key sites for dugong conservation action. Since 2010, our team of researchers has developed strong relationships with local communities and established a community reporting network for dugong sightings. In addition, we have conducted traditional ecological knowledge interviews with expert fishermen to identify key areas for the species around the island. We are currently focussing on these key areas, using boat transect surveys to develop population estimates and more fully understand their ecology. Using these data, we will work to build community support and work with Local Government Units (LGUs) to establish locally-managed dugong sanctuaries, where activities that threaten the species’ survival (e.g. motor boat activity, net fishing) are controlled. The uniqueness of the dugong also makes it a great candidate for sustainable conservation through dugong-watching eco-tours, and an awe-inspiring flagship species for marine environmental awareness programmes.

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                    • Community Centred Conservation (C3) - Madagascar's Junior Ecoguards


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                      Our Junior Ecoguards are children aged between 11 and 16 years old from remote, marginalized fishing communities where most people survive on less than a dollar a day. These young people are being empowered by environmental education and training and performance art to spread conservation messages and activities across their communities by means of a travelling theatre. They have had great success with proven positive impacts in increasing local knowledge about conservation and changing behaviour (e.g stopping sea turtle poaching) which helps protect their endangered species and habitats for the future. They also directly get involved with protection of coral reefs, mangrove forests and seagrass beds, all essential resources for their main food source; fish and seafood. Their work has been recognized as innovative and exemplary by several international awards.

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