ST. PETERSBURG, Fl - The Gulf Coast Innovation Challenge has just announced its finalists, and we made the cut! This award provides the opportunity for Dr. Stallings and his team to continue with development of the LAIR Lionfish trap, and compete for nearly half a million dollars of funding that could help bring affordable Lionfish filets to dinner tables along the Gulf. Our social media support played a large part in helping us become finalists, so thank you to everybody who watched our proposal video and clicked like.
For more information about the LAIR, see our Finalist page at GCIC's website:
ST PETERSBURG, FL - On Day One, we examined several fish species local to Tampa Bay, including Red Drum, Silver Trout, Leopard Sea Robins, and much more! Campers explored the external features/characteristics of each fish to gain insight on how the particular species lives, and therefore, how it interacts with its environment and other species.
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ST. PETERSBURG - Fish Ecology Lab masters student, Joseph Curtis, has been awarded the 2014 Guy Harvey Scholarship for his proposal to quantify competition strength between the invasive Lionfish and native mesopredators such as Graysby. The award is funded by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and administered by Florida Sea Grant.
HOMESTEAD, FL - This past week, while diving to collect data for our ongoing lionfish study, Fish Ecology Lab members noticed that the reefs of South Florida are a lot less vibrant than usual. It appears that reefs along the edge of Biscayne National Park are currently experiencing a “bleaching” event.
Coral bleaching occurs when the algal cells that live within corals tissues, tiny dinoflagellates called zooxanthellae, become stressed and are expelled by the coral polyps. These algae give corals their bright colors, so corals without zooxanthellae appear white, or bleached.
What causes these stressors is not fully understood, but it has historically been linked to increases in water temperature. Our divers can attest it is HOT, with some sites registering 87 digress F in 65 feet of water! Check out this paper for more information about this connection: ftp://ftp.unc.edu/pub/marine/brunoj/Bleaching%20papers%20for%20NCEAS%202/Glynn%201993_coral%20bleaching.pdf
Why does bleaching matter?
These microscopic algae are symbionts, living inside the coral for protection and in-turn providing energy to the coral via photosynthesis. Corals use this energy to drive their basic life functions. Without the algae, corals must rely on direct feeding to provide all of their energy needs. This method is less efficient and over time the corals will begin to die as they struggle to keep up with their energy demand.
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