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Sea horses, occasionally spotted by scuba divers in San Diego Bay, are on display at the
Chula Vista Nature Center for the first time in years.
Visitors will be able to see the distinctive fish up close. “The thing I hear most from
the kids is they've heard about sea horses, but they've never seen them,” said Gretchen Dever, the nature center's
fisheries curator. “It's something you don't get to see every day.” Six went on display in early December in a tall,
75-gallon tank. The sea horses are about the length of a finger and can grow as long as 12 inches. They eat tiny,
freeze-dried mysid shrimp, which they suck in with their vacuum-like snouts. Nature center officials bought the specimens
from a breeder in Mexico who specializes in sea horses, Dever said. The exhibit is one of many at the nature center,
including green sea turtles, shorebirds, hawks, stingrays and jellyfish. Though rarely seen in captivity, the Pacific
sea horse is not endangered. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species lists it as “vulnerable”
because of its shrinking habitat. San Diego forms the northern boundary of the habitat, which stretches south through
Mexico and into Peru. “Most people don't know there are sea horses in San Diego Bay,” said Ben Vallejos, the nature
center's operations manager. Click
Click here to learn more about the
One of the most significant questions facing marine ecologists today, is just how much of an impact
global variations in the environment are having on the dispersal of larval and juvenile marine species from open oceans
to coral reefs. Previously, tracking how fish larvae migrate was done through direct observation by divers on older
larvae found near the reefs, after they'd spent weeks to months in the plankton. This method did not permit divers to
follow small larvae, diving larvae or larvae as they returned to the reefs at night. How tiny coral reef fish larvae
locate the reef habitat across vast expanses of water has remained an enduring mystery. Click
Head offshore to experience some underwater night
life as twilight signals rush hour on Florida's coral reefs. Click
Their results demonstrate how predators' direct and indirect effects shaped the way killifish evolved:
(1) Killifish from high predation environments are younger at maturity and produce more offspring -- the predicted
direct evolutionary response to high mortality rates. (2) More food caused all fish to grow faster, then mature at a
larger body size and earlier age, plus produce more babies. (3) Killifish from high predation environments gained more
from high rations -- an indirect evolutionary response to high mortality rates. Their increase in size at maturity,
decrease in age at maturity and increase in the number of babies produced were all more pronounced than those seen in
killifish from the killifish-only environment -- differences that show that the high predation killifish were better
adapted to convert high food rations into the production of more babies. Click
If they build it, the plants will come. That is the hope of Israeli environmental expert Eli
Cohen, who was recently invited by the New York State Department of Environment Protection, to see how the region's
wastewater can be better treated. He might have a solution for Brooklyn... Cohen founded and manages Ayala Water and
Ecology, a company ... that uses aquatic plants to clean polluted water, air and soil, in a natural way. The branch of
science is called phyto-remediation, and it is a field that promises to give hope for humanity. Cohen just returned from
New York and explains the mission: "They showed me that they have problems [with their sewage water]. Their systems
can't cope with the new regulations, and the water going out to Hudson River isn't [clean] enough." Click
In an important paper published a few months back in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and
Systematics, Willis et al. (2006) report that "on tropical coral reefs, the simultaneous mass spawning of many species
of stony corals represents a unique breeding strategy among animals and suggests that hybridization might have played a
role in the evolution of this functionally important group," which they describe as "the cornerstone of the coral reef
ecosystem," which they say is "increasingly threatened by human and climate-related impacts." They also note that "an
upsurge of studies on the reproduction of scleractinian corals has shown that synchronized spawning among more than two
species occurs in the majority of reef regions," and that "in highly synchronized events, up to 35 species in sympatry
may spawn within two hours of each other." Click
Why is one of the world’s greatest rivers drying up? Well it’s got nothing to do with the giant dam built
on it, according to the Chinese government. Water levels on the Yangtze are currently the lowest on record, and records
began in 1866. This is according to China Daily, quoting the Changjiang Times (which I can’t read as it’s not in
English, sorry about that). Officials say less rainfall is to blame for the levels, which have led to many ships running
aground. The Yangtze River Water Resource Commission says, “The lack of rain is the major reason for the drying-up of
the Yangtze.” The newspaper though also notes that large amounts of water were stored behind the controversial Three
Gorges Dam last month, leading to a 50% lower volume of water flowing downriver. Click
Non-native mangrove plants were thought to have been eradicated nearly a decade ago from a Mission Bay
salt marsh they had colonized. But on Saturday, volunteers will be back on soggy ground trying again to get rid of the
die-hard bushes. Like most invasive plants, mangroves refuse to go quickly or easily. Years of work to exile such
outsiders from San Diego's urban environment have mainly served to keep the species at bay rather than eliminate it.
That's the case in the marsh and many of the city's natural spaces, which are haunted by arundo donax, pampas grass and
several other plants that don't belong. Cities nationwide have similar problems, partly because the highly disturbed
landscapes offer numerous footholds for imported plants. San Diego is of particular concern because the mild climate
means almost anything grows. The result is even less suitable habitat for native birds and other animals in the few
unpaved patches where they might be able to survive. “Invasive species are some of the most difficult and challenging
aspects of habitat maintenance and restoration, especially in an urban environment,” said Chris Redfern, executive
director of the local chapter of the Audubon Society. Click
Callers during this Show.
Kenny from Indiana calls
and talks about the Denitrater he recently bought for his
new aquarium. Tom and Nevin talk about some of the problems
Kenny's had with his new aquarium.
Robert in New Jersey
calls and says his new Penguin 150B Filter is barely
Dennis from Spokane calls
and talks about the Fancy Guppies that he has developed from
some common guppies.
The Bailey Brothers
encourage YOU to call Pet Fish Talk
during the show and talk about your pet fish.
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