Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunlight on coral

sunlight on coral
sea fans wave together
at dancing wrasse

Friday, October 24, 2008

Shocking rise in number of turtles killed by boats

From The Royal Gazette Friday October 24 2008 (link)

Shocking rise in number of turtles killed by boats

By Amanda Dale

Killed: A dead Hawksbill Hybrid turtle found by Marine police in Hamilton Harbour (rear) and a smaller green turtle (front) found off Spanish Point. Boat strikes are a common cause of such injuries.
Photo: Mark Tatem

More turtles have been killed by boaters in the past two months than in the whole of last year.

Now Marine Police and conservationists are urging boat users to slow down and take extra care in areas close to shore where turtles feed in the vicinity of seagrass beds.

Boaters are reminded that the speed limit within 100 yards of shore is five knots with no wake, although this is relaxed in some areas such as busy Hamilton Harbour and Ferry Reach.

Patrick Talbot, head aquarist at Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo (BAMZ), said it was vital boat operators obeyed marine rules and regulations. He also urged people to avoid dropping trash and rope, fishing line or netting in the water, as turtle deaths due to entanglements are also on the rise.

"We don't know whether this is due to more boat users on the water or a higher turtle population, but this is not a good trend," said Mr. Talbot.

"From August 2007 to August 2008 we had six deaths from boat collisions and four due to entanglements. Whereas since August 2008 we've had five turtles who have been hit by boats and three entanglements. The results are eye-opening."

On Sunday, Marine Police recovered a dead turtle floating near Darrell's Island. In the previous fortnight another two turtles were found. Police officers found a hybrid turtle in the shipping channel off the North Shore, while a smaller green turtle washed up on a beach at Spanish Point.

Mr. Talbot said: "The hybrid had a hole punched into its shell, so the force of the impact must have been quite great in order to put a hole in a shell of an animal almost three feet long.

"The turtle at Spanish Point was fairly small and so we think it was quite young. It was still foaming at the mouth – a sign it had just been hit by a boat, but it died soon after we got it."

He said: "The other two turtles were found over a month ago."

Marine Police have reported most boat collisions in the Paradise Lakes area and that the majority of turtles found have propeller slashes on their shells.

A Police spokesman said: "All boat users are asked to go slow, keep a sharp lookout for any semi-submerged turtles and avoid getting too close to these sea creatures wherever possible."

Mr. Talbot, who manages the wildlife rehabilitation centre at BAMZ, said those turtles hit by boats suffer a painful death.

"These animals tend not to survive. They have entrails hanging out and are in a lot of pain," he said.

"We do what we can for them but mainly when they get hit by a boat, there's not much chance of survival.

"The injuries tend to be split shells but we've also had decapitations and flippers taken off. Mainly though, it's the shell that gets hit first because that's the highest point in the water."

Mr. Talbot said: "It's frustrating when a turtle is brought to us like this. They're a good size so it's very hard to miss these animals.

"These days boats are propelled by engines at high speeds and turtles are found close to shore, so this leads us to believe that many people are moving faster than they should in these areas, and are in places where they shouldn't be.

"Within distance of shore, boats should be moving slowly enough that if a turtle pops its head up there is enough time for it to avoid the boat, or dive out of the way.

"I would just ask people to be mindful and to look out for areas turtles are known to frequent. Please obey the traffic laws, and hopefully we can reduce the number of collisions we are getting. In our opinion one collision is one too many."

Anyone finding a dead or injured turtle should take it to the staff at BAMZ. Contact BAMZ at: 293 2727.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fish Die-off Happening!

Have been seeing and hearing accounts of dead fish either washing up onto beaches, been seen floating around, sick fish swimming around and dead fish lying on the sea floor.

Grouper, parrotfish, hogfish, angelfish, porgys, tomtates and squirrelfish have been mentioned, but perhaps others are affected as well. Affected fish have been seen from Franks Bay to St. Davids and out to North Rock - so it appears to be platform-wide.

The cause is as yet unknown, but may be a dinoflagellate or other kind of toxic algae. Like CSI, scientists at the Department of Conservation Services are collecting dying (but not dead) fish to try to determine the cause. Already dead fish grow too many other kinds of bacteria to be useful for determining the cause of the illness.

Sightings of unusual looking dead fish can be recorded at: fishkill(at)

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Volvo Environment prize for 2008 is awarded to Crawford “Buzz” Holling, one of the world’s most influential ecologists

The Volvo Environment prize for 2008 is awarded to Crawford “Buzz” Holling, one of the world’s most influential ecologists

The Volvo Environment Prize, administered by an independent foundation, this year goes to Buzz Holling, Canadian ecologist and scientist, whose theories on how ecosystems deal with sudden changes have had great global influence. Today, with many worrying about global climate change and unexpected natural disasters, Buzz Holling stresses the importance of increasing our society’s ability to be flexible and cope with change. This is necessary for the continued use of natural resources, because crisis, Holling says, is an inevitable part of nature’s way of

Buzz Holling is perhaps best known as the father of the resilience theory. Resilience is the capacity to deal with change and continue to develop. It refers to the capacity of a socialecological system both to withstand perturbations — from, for instance, climatic or economic shock — and to rebuild and renew itself. Loss of resilience can cause loss of valuable ecosystem services, and may even lead to rapid transition into new ecosystem stages. Examples of this are when over-fishing flips a marine environment into a totally different stage, or when a deforested area turns into savannah or desert.

Over the years, Buzz Holling’s research and theories have influenced scientists and policymakers all over the world and have increased knowledge on governing natural resources and how human society — and nature itself — deals with crisis. His thinking has also influenced the sustainable development debate. He has convincingly demonstrated that change is not only gradual, but often sudden and turbulent, putting great strain on the way humans and nature organize and how they adapt to change.

The Jury of the Volvo Environment Prize says in its citation:
“Crawford (Buzz) Holling is one of the most creative and influential ecologists of our times. His integrative thinking has shed new light on the growth, collapse and regeneration of coupled human-ecological systems.”

Buzz Hollings comments:
“I’m surprised and very honoured. After working for many years trying to understand the relationship between man and nature, it is amazing to see the interest there is worldwide for these issues. We are currently witnessing a terrific example of an emerging crisis with climate change. Our ability to cope with it will of course depend on how we can limit the emissions of greenhouse gases, but just as important is the capacity for adaptation and understanding how the ecosystems will develop and change.”

Buzz Holling is Emeritus Eminent Professor in Ecological Sciences at the University of Florida, USA. He is retired and lives in the city of Nanaimo, close to Vancouver in Canada.

He is the founder of Resilience Alliance, an organization of researchers in numerous countries, and his theory on resilience is the foundation for the newly established Stockholm Resilience Centre at the University of Stockholm. Among his most famous books is Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems, published in 2002.

Buzz Holling will come to Sweden in early November to receive the Volvo Environment Prize at a ceremony in Stockholm. Besides the diploma he will receive a cash amount of SEK 1.5 million (approximately 160,000 Euro or 250,000 USD).

The Volvo Environment Prize Foundation awards the prize to individuals who
explore the way to an equitable and sustainable world. The Volvo Environment
Prize is awarded by an independent foundation, assisted by a Prize Jury composed
of internationally recognized experts in the environmental field. Since 1990 the
Prize has been awarded to 34 individuals. Among the winners are many prominent
names, including three Nobel Prize Winners.

For more information on the Volvo Environment Prize go to

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Protected Marine Invertebrates, Reptiles and Mammals of Bermuda

Will add links and photos when I get a chance...

Protected species
The taking of any "fish" of the following types anywhere within the exclusive economic zone is prohibited—
(1) Marine turtles of all species (Reptilia, Cheloniidae and Dermochelyidae) ;
(2) Marine mammals of all species (Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises) ;
(3) Corals of all types, (including stony corals, sea rods and seafans) ;
(4) Queen conch (Strombus gigas);
(5) Harbour conch (Strombus costatus);
(6) Bermuda cone (Conus bermudensis);
(7) Netted olive (Oliva reticularis);
(8) Bermuda scallop (Pecten ziczac);
(9) Calico scallop (Argopecten gibbus);
(10) Atlantic Pearl Oyster (Pinctada imbricata);
(11) Helmets and Bonnets of all species (Mollusca Cassididae);
(12) Calico clam (Macrocallista maculata);
(13) West indian top-shell (Cittarium pica),

Freshwater molluscs
Ancylus bermudensis
Pisidium volutabundum

Bermuda Skink (Eumeces longirostris)
Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Hawksbill Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Loggerhead Tutle (Caretta caretta)
Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

Cave Organisms
Antriscopia prehensilis
Erebonectes nesioticus
Paracyclopia naessi
Speleophira bivexilla
Speleohira scottodicarloi
Nanocopia minuta
Speleithona bermudensis
Spelaeoecia bermudensis

Atlantasellus cavernicolus
Currassanthura bermudensis
Bermudalana aruboides

Idunella sketi
Cocoharpinia iliffei
Pseudoniphargus grandimanus
Bogidiella bermudensis
Ingolfiella longipes

Typhlatya iliffei
Procaris chacei
Mictocaris halope

Platyops sterreri

Segmented worms
Phallodrilus macmasterae

Monday, October 13, 2008

ICRS Plenary Talks available online

The 11th International Coral Reef Symposium website has posted the Plenary Talks.

See some of the best and brightest established coral reef scientists discuss the threats and ways to manage our reefs, corals and fishes.

They are available at this link: here (link fixed)

Our Sargasso Sea is a "High Seas Gem"

High seas gems in the spotlight

09 October 2008 | IUCN Press Release - LINK

Today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, a joint initiative has been launched to highlight special places in the least protected place on Earth: the high seas. The centerpiece of which is a brochure showcasing 10 “gems” of the high seas.

Link to pdf of brochure: here

The publication, launched by an unusual partnership bringing the Chantecaille Beauté company together with IUCN, World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), and Marine Conservation Biology Institute (MCBI), features sites such as the Ross Sea in the Southern Ocean, the Emperor Seamount Chain in the Pacific Ocean, the Sargasso Sea and Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Saya de Malha Banks in the Indian Ocean.

The 10 sites exemplify the range of habitats in the world’s oceans. “International efforts to identify and protect significant high seas places are in their infancy,” says Jeff Ardron of MCBI. “This booklet should encourage collaborative scientific analysis of high seas ecosystems in need of conservation.”

Currently, less than one percent of our oceans are under any kind of protection, and nearly all of that one percent is located close to shore.

“Unlike national parks on land, most people have never visited these high seas gems, so they have no idea of the richness and staggering beauty of what lies down there,” says Alex Chantecaille, who is Director of Sales Promotion at Chantecaille Beauté and helped oversee this project.

High seas are the open ocean and deep seabed areas outside individual nations’ jurisdiction and make up nearly half of the Earth’s surface and almost two-thirds of the ocean. They provide feeding grounds for great whales, are traversed by imperiled bluefin tunas, and are home to deep-water corals that are thousands of years old.

“Despite the size and importance of the high seas, they are the least protected part of our planet,” says Kristina Gjerde of IUCN. “This brochure is designed to help people see and understand the importance of these remote places to galvanize action at the international level for the first time.”

“The Chantecaille Beauté company has a long history of working towards environmental conservation,” says Sylvie Chantecaille, the owner and founder of the company. “When MCBI and IUCN came to us with their concerns about the high seas, we felt that this was an extraordinary opportunity for us to help these places come alive in the eyes of the public.”

“As the great African conservationist Baba Dioum noted 40 years ago at the IUCN's General Assembly, we will only conserve those places that we know,” says Elliott Norse, MCBI’s President. “We can thank Chantecaille Beauté for helping make these places more widely known, for these are magnificent places that are very much worth saving.”

Friday, October 10, 2008

Photo Friday

Here's a photo of a healthy coral reef off the South Shore of Bermuda.
Always good too see lots of fish and lots of coral!

Have a great long weekend and a Happy Hero's Holiday!