Ocean Facts

Why do corals turn white?

When corals start to lose their color, this is the first stage of what has come to be known as “coral Bleaching”.

When the ocean water becomes too warm the rising sea water temperatures have been identified as the main cause of “stress” for corals. This “stress” causes corals to expel their food source that lives just under their tissue and gives the corals their nutrition and brilliant color. This food source is an alga called zooxanthellae and when it leaves the coral or dies the corals appear to turn completely white, hence the term “bleached”.

There are many causes for this event to occur and most of them are linked to man’s involvement with the industrial age and over population.

What is a leather back turtle?

The leatherback is the only sea turtle that does not have a hard shell, their shell is soft and feels like leather. The leatherback is the largest turtle specie and the largest living reptile in the world. Mature males can reach up to more than 6 feet and weight up to 2,000 lbs.

Leatherbacks do not have a sharp beak like other turtles so mostly feed on soft bodied prey such as jellyfish and other open water pelagic foods.

Leatherback are found all over the world and are known to nest in at least 5 Islands in Fiji. They are also known to be the deepest diving turtles often reaching depths of 1,000 feet or more.

Porcupine Puffer

The porcupine puffer or balloon fish is a peaceful fish with a defense mechanism that makes it quite unique.

They have long spines that lay flat along their body when not threatened or in danger. However, when they feel threatened they can expand their body like a balloon and the spines then stick straight out like a porcupine making them almost impossible to swallow by other fish.

This is a docile Puffer, generally getting along with other larger fish, and its own kind. Their diet consists of snails and other small crustaceans and can grow to over 11 inches. They are found in most tropical oceans of the world.

 

That noise we often hear:

In the South Pacific and throughout Asia there is a practice known as dynamite fishing. This is the most destructive type of fishing imaginable.

Fishermen in small boats simply cruise along the edge of the coral reef and use dynamite or homemade bombs and drop them in the water causing a loud and destructive blast. When the bombs go off they can kill hundreds of thousands of fish, coral and invertebrates with one blast.

The fishermen then either dive into the water or scoop along the surface all the dead or dying fish and leave the reef destroyed with little chance for natural recovery over the next 10 – 20 years.