Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Who gets the trash?

Look at where Singapore is on the map and where our arrows are pointing. 
Oh look.. a star all to ourselves. the gahmen will be so proud.

"E-waste is routinely exported by developed countries to developing ones, often in violation of the international law. Inspections of 18 European seaports in 2005 found as much as 47 percent of waste destined for export, including e-waste, was illegal. In the UK alone, at least 23,000 metric tonnes of undeclared or 'grey' market electronic waste was illegally shipped in 2003 to the Far East, India, Africa and China. In the US, it is estimated that 50-80 percent of the waste collected for recycling is being exported in this way. This practice is legal because the US has not ratified the Basel Convention. - Greenpeace International"

Read more about what you can do with your old electronic ware from the new ZerowasteSG website. Come to think of it... that old printer has been sitting in my living room collecting dust for quite a few years...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Corallimorphs and shipwrecks

Invasion of the corallimorphs! Wonder if this is happening in our local reefs.

Work TM, Aeby GS, Maragos JE 2008 "Phase Shift from a Coral to a Corallimorph-Dominated Reef Associated with a Shipwreck on Palmyra Atoll" PLoS ONE 3(8): e2989 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002989

Ok.. this isn't the particular species of corallimorph in the paper but i love this.. so bubbly..

Giant cup mushroom coral (Amplexidiscus fenestrafer)

"Corallimorpharians have several life history traits which allow them to rapidly monopolize patches of shallow substrate in tropical habitats. They are competitively superior to some coral species and possess anatomic structures such as elongated marginal tentacles that allow them to kill competing scleractinian corals... Additionally, corallimorpharians have three different modes of clonal replication (fission, pedal laceration and budding) that allow comparatively rapid monopolization of space on the reef...

The subsequent extent of the area dominated by corallimorphs in this study was much greater than other studies where corallimorphs rapidly invaded damaged areas but to a much more localized extent. This may be due to some substance leaching from the ship such as dissolved iron. Iron makes up the major component of steel and other ferrous metals in mooring buoys and ships, and is known to be a limiting resource for many marine organisms. Iron is an essential trace element for algal growth and nitrogen fixation, and equatorial and south Pacific oceanic waters are extremely low in available iron...

The extensive R. howesii invasion and subsequent loss of coral reef habitat at Palmyra Atoll and the potential association of corallimorph invasions with metal objects should serve as a clarion call to managers dealing with large metal objects such as wrecks on reefs. This will be especially relevant at remote low reef islands and atolls such as Palmyra where dissolved iron concentrations may be extremely limiting. The major sources of iron for the oceans are from wind-blown terrestrially derived dust or in coastal regions, from rivers and terrestrial run-off. Islands closer to continental landmasses or reefs at high islands where iron may be available from chemical erosion of volcanic soils may be less vulnerable to impacts of iron enrichment associated with metal objects. If removal of the shipwreck is not possible, regular systematic monitoring of the benthos for invasive organisms, including cnidarians, should be done to verify the rate of spread to support management actions such as removal of the shipwreck."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dying Moray Eels

Always felt Morays were quite amazing predators.. both shy and vicious. Seeing one writhing like that is rather scary. I hope I never ever get to see this in South-East Asia. Or anywhere for that matter.
"It doesn't sound like there has been any sort of major, published, peer-reviewed, quantitative documentation of this yet. But that said, something is not right when so many sport divers not only count dozens of dead or dying eels.. "

btw... was surfing on moray eels and discovered that groupers and moray eels actually engage in cooperative hunting! its old news but first time i've heard it! Check out the cool videos on the open-access PLoS Biology site.
"They found groupers often visited giant morays resting in their crevices and rapidly shook their heads an inch or so from the eels to recruit them in a joint hunt. At times this call took place after a grouper failed in its hunt because prey escaped into a crevice the grouper could not get into but a giant moray might. If the moray emerged, the grouper guided the eel to a crevice where prey was hiding. Groupers sometimes even performed a headstand and shook its head over a prey hiding place to attract moray eels to the site. At times the moray ate the fish it rooted out, while at other times the grouper did." - MSNBC