Species Comings and Goings

From Blogfish: Blue Crabs are Disappearing from Chesapeake Bay

The Chesapeake Bay's famous blue crabs -- feisty crustaceans that are both a regional symbol and a multimillion-dollar catch -- are hovering at historically low population levels, scientists say, as pollution, climate change and overfishing threaten the bay's ultimate survivor.

This fall, a committee of federal and state scientists found that the crab's population was at its second-lowest level in the past 17 years, having fallen to about one-third the population of 1993. They forecast that the current crabbing season, which ends Dec. 15 in Maryland, will produce one of the lowest harvests since 1945. *

Electricity Revives Bali Coral Reefs from PhysOrg.com

(AP) -- Just a few years ago, the lush coral reefs off Bali island were dying out, bleached by rising temperatures, blasted by dynamite fishing and poisoned by cyanide. Now they are coming back, thanks to an unlikely remedy: electricity.


Reefs Find Shelter from the Heat

It's not stability they need, but variation, according to a new study on the ability of coral reefs to endure in the age of climate change. As ocean temperatures rise, corals have the best chances of survival in "tough love" seas with wide-ranging seasonal temperatures. Conversely, reefs living in environments with stable but higher temperatures are more susceptible to fatal bleaching.

"This finding is a ray of hope in a growing sea of coral bleaching events and threatened marine wildlife," said Dr. Tim McClanahan, lead author of the study and a senior scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society's Coral Reef Programs. "With rising surface temperatures threatening reef systems globally, these sites serve as high diversity refuges for corals trying to survive." ...

Source: Wildlife Conservation Society

New Hope for NYC Nest Eggs

In the middle of one of the world's busiest harbors, a sanctuary for egrets, cormorants, and night herons will remain bird turf, thanks to a collaborative effort by Congressman José E. Serrano, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and other preservation groups. Serrano and the Trust for Public Land signed over the deed for South Brother Island to the New York City Parks Department, preserving one of the city's last wild places for generations to come.

The seven-acre island sits half a mile off the Bronx shoreline in New York's East River. It has been in private hands since the earliest days of European settlement in the New World. Because previous owners never developed the property for commercial uses, it has emerged as an important habitat for native wildlife.

Source: Wildlife Conservation Society

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Corals are ocean-dwelling invertebrates in the same phylum as jellyfish. Corals are tiny and create an exoskeleton that is fixed to something hard, like the remains of previously existing corals. So these organisms build up a geological stratum, a reef, beneath the surface of the sea, often close…

I remember posting about the chesapeake blue crabs last year. If I remember correctly one of the big problems was that a combination of pollution and warmer waters due to global warming were turning them all into females and there weren't enough males to go around.