Reef Check Italia EcoDivers Discover Coral Day 2016

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. 

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NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS - BANGKA REEF CHECK ITALIA ECOEXPEDITION 2015

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.

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Soft corals and coral farming

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.

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THE COMPLEX INTERACTIONS BETWEEN SPONGES AND CORALS - AN INTERESTING CASE FROM SULAWESI 

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). 

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Bangka Island’s Coral Reefs in Urgent Need of Protection

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. 

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CORALS ID IN THE HEART OF THE “CORAL TRIANGLE” 

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. 

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Bangka (Indonesia) 2013

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.

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TRUE AND FALSE BLACK CORALS OF THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA 

Antipathella subpinnata, true black coral
Antipathella subpinnata, true black coral

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.

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Reef Check Italy Highlights The “Biodiversity Of The Northern Adriatic” In 2nd Meeting 

Foto di Adriano Gamberini
Foto di Adriano Gamberini

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. 

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Reef Check Italia celebrates International Day For Biological Diversity 

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.

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Reef Check Italia campaigns to protect Mediterranean gorgonians and red coral

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.

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REEF CHECK SPOTLIGHT: CORAL- WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN? 

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. 

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Pulau Bangka (2011), an Heaven that can not wait

The 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

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Ctenophore Mnemiopsis leidyi is arrived

(Picture by J. Javidpour)
(Picture by J. Javidpour)

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.

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THE PASSAGE OF BASKING SHARKS

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.

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The Spread of Percnon gibbesi

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.

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CIESM JellyWatch Program: Monitoring jellyfish swarms along Mediterranean coastlines and in the open sea.

DESCRIPTION
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. 

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A peculiar calyx sponge found in the sea of Porto Cesareo (Apulia - Italy)

by Rossella Baldacconi

Calyx nicaeensis (Risso, 1826)

Phylum: Porifera
Classe: Demospongiae
Ordine: Haplosclerida
Famiglia: Phloeodictydae
Genere: Calyx

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. 

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Sponges die-off in the Adriatic sea

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.

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THE “GREAT” WITE SHARK

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.


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