Shark Tagging with St. Thomas Aquinas High School

By Brittany Bartlett, RJD Intern

When I woke up at 4:45am and saw that it was still dark outside, I had every intention of rolling over, putting the pillow over my head, and going straight back to sleep. But, it then hit me that I was going shark tagging down in Islamorada! I quickly jumped up, got ready and was out the door by 5:15am to pick up our photographer, Amanda! It was going to be a great day!

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Crown of thorns starfish: a threat to coral reefs

by Brittany Bartlett, RJD intern

Coral reefs are vulnerable species, highly susceptible to a wide range of disturbances.  And, episodic outbreaks of the Crown-of Thorns coral killing sea star (Acanthaster planci) are one of these dangerous disturbances. These sea star outbreaks threaten the well being of our ocean, as they feed on and deplete reef building coral, altering the current composition of the marine ecosystem.

Until recently the causes and spatio-temporal dynamics of these sea star outbreaks have not been well understood. A recent study by Mohsen Kayal et al (2012) in the south Pacific, however, has been able to examine and describe the entire development and process of the outbreak, as well as the consequences that these epidemics have on benthic communities and resident coral feeding fish.

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