Indonesia's Bangka Island, north of Sulawesi, sits along the Indo-Pacific's "Coral Triangle," which is second only to the Amazon rainforest in biodiversity. This is what makes me, part of a Reef Check Italia EcoExpedition, and thousands of other divers come here in the first place.
In the year in which researchers of a consortium, established by NOAA, XL Catlin Seaview Survey, The University of Queensland (Australia) and Reef Check, announced
the third global coral bleaching event ever, the coral reefs
of Bangka Island in North Sulawesi, Indonesia look like they are not affected at all by this phenomenon. These are the evaluations that come from the recent expedition that Reef Check Italia has carried out, for the fifth year, at the Coral Eye Outpost in Bangka.
Soft Corals and Coral Farming: an introduction in the Tropical Ecodiver course 2015
This year the course on corals identification and coral reefs monitoring approaches held from 26th of October to 2nd of November in the wonderful location of Bangka Island (North Sulawesi, Indonesia) surrounded by the huge biodiversity of Celebes Sea got for the first time a specific class on soft corals.
By Gianfranco Rossi, Reef Check Italia onlus
Chalinula nematifera is a common Indo-Pacific encrusting sponge able to overgrow living corals. Distribution data of C. nematifera are fragmentary; its presence is documented as a potential threat for coral reefs in the Mexican Pacific coast (Ávila and Carballo 2009).
Pulau Bangka is an Indonesian island situated in the heart of the area with the world's highest level of marine biodiversity, called "The Coral Triangle". Coral reefs are the main source of livelihood for the local population of 2,700 people, both in terms of fishing and tourism.
By Gianfranco Rossi, Reef Check Italia onlus
Coral reefs are among the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. You just need a diving mask to understand the value of this statement. Unfortunately, only few people realize that corals are not just one of the components of this extraordinary variety of life forms and colors, but are themselves the true essence of the reef.
The Reef Check protocol was designed following the awareness that there were no adequate data to establish a “baseline” of the health of coral reefs of the planet. The advantage of the protocol consisted, above all, in the possibility of involving volunteer scuba divers, led by marine biologists, who could give a vital contribution to the collection of data otherwise not obtainable.
Submitted by Reef Check Italy's Gianfranco Rossi
Photos by Luca Pucci
In recent years, the development of new diving technologies has made it possible to dive deeper in what is defined as the mesophotic area or “twilight zone”- the deeper half of the photic zone,
namely the zone between where solar radiation still penetrates and the point at which it disappears.
The Northern Adriatic Sea is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea. The western side, extending from the Gulf of Trieste to Ancona, Italy, is characterized by sandy shores that slope gently. The seabed consists of fine sand and silt, with an average depth of 35m. The ecosystem of the Northern Adriatic Sea is one of the most productive ecosystems in the Mediterranean because it is able to host an extraordinary variety of organisms.
Divers of Subtridente Pesaro, scientists of Reef Check Italia Onlus and public institutions came together in June for the protection and conservation of biodiversity of the northern Adriatic Coastal Marine Environment.
Paramuricea clavata is an endemic gorgonian of the Mediterranean Sea. Its presence characterizes some of the very best dive sites. Its role is crucial for maintaining the integrity of one of the areas with the highest rate of biodiversity on the planet: the Mediterranean coralligenous.
Story and Photos by Reef Check Italy’s Gianfranco Rossi
When people use the word “coral”, they are generally referring to a group of organisms belonging to the phylum Cnidaria, Class Anthozoa and Order Scleractinia. These are the hard corals that build coral reefs.
island of Bangka is a location in the heart of the famous "Coral Triangle". Many human activities in conjunction with the actual warming of the planet are threatening its survival.
Report of an expedition of Reef Check Italy and Polytechnic University of Marche aimed to contribute to the protection and conservation of the Island
Federico Betti – Reef Check Italia Associate Project Manager
The project “Watch for jellyfish”, lead by professor Boero of the university of Salento, recorded the first sighting in the Western Mediterranean of the famous Mnemiopsis leidyi; it is a ctenophore, an organism similar to jellyfishes because of the rounded shape, the jelly structure and the transparent body, but lacking of stinging cells, which are substituted by sticky cells, used to catch the zooplankton it feeds on.
Federico Betti – Reef Check Italia Associate Program Manager
On June 11, along the coast of Ancona (Italy) a young male of basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) was found dead, caught in a fishing net; it was 3,65 meters long, from the snout to the caudal peduncle, while adults of this species may reach a maximum length of more than 10 meters.
The news aroused people curiosity, but the presence of this species in the Adriatic waters is not occasional: every year, at the beginning of summer, many sightings are made in the area. Let see why.
By Federico Betti – Reef Check Italia Associate Program Manager
Percnon gibbesi is a beautiful crab belonging to the family Grapsidae, easily recognisable by the extremely thin carapace, the long and flattened legs, and the colourful coat, brown with red lines and yellow circles close to the articulations.
It may be found in the first centimetres under the surface, on ravine rich rocks, where it quickly hides if scared.
Jellyfish have always inhabited the Mediterranean Sea, but “jelly blooms” were rare episodes until the last eight years when massive swarms of gelatinous organisms have become a frequent sight in coastal waters. Such events represent undoubtedly a nuisance for people, and in some cases they become a real health hazard.
by Rossella Baldacconi
Calyx nicaeensis (Risso, 1826)
The populations of Calyx nicaeensis have suffered a great decrease, drastically reducing in several areas of the Mediterranean Sea. This endangered and rare sponge at the present is still not included in any list of protected animal.
Cristina Gioia Di Camillo Reef Check Italia Onlus
In the last years scuba diving became an indispensable tool for marine biologists not only for the possibility to collect samples but also to directly observe the organisms in their natural
environment. Moreover, long-term monitoring allow to study their life cycle and sometimes to attend to unexpected events, such as mass mortality cases of one or more species.
Several factors, for example the global warming, the use of pollutants, the over-harvest of commercial species and the introduction of alien species, may promote disease outbreaks in marine animals.
by Federico Betti – Reef Check Italia Associate Program Manager
In the past few days, the media reported the news of the finding, in the Australian waters of Queensland, of a three meters long white shark Carcharodon carcharias, dead because of the bites of another white shark.
Cannibalism is not unusual in this species, and what caused a sensation is the fact that the size of the bites indicates that the assailant had to be a more than 6 meters long shark, immediately
called “the super shark”.
In reality, it is assessed that white sharks may exceed a length of 7 meters, as it is shown, between the others, by the specimens of 7 meters and 14 centimeters long fished in 1987 close to Malta; otherwise, description of much bigger animals (eight, ten, twelve meters) are not considered reliable.