Archives for February 2016

Rediscovering Fiji’s Coral Reefs

By Jeff Chanin, Member of the CORAL International Council In November 2015, I boarded a 9:30 p.m. flight from Los Angeles and eleven hours later awoke to another dawn in another world. It was my fourth visit to Fiji since my first in 1980, and as I stepped off the jet, I was again welcomed by a chorus of island birds drifting my way on a warm tropical breeze. Fiji is a land of song, gentle people, and warmth above and below. I knew this was just the start of so much more to come.   On this live-aboard trip, I spent ten days on the Nai’a with 17 people from around the globe, cruising and diving Fiji’s Bligh Waters. Our itinerary included a return to one of my favorite dive destinations on the planet—the Namena Marine Reserve. Five years ago I made a day trip to Namena’s amazing reefs, diving twice among its brilliantly colored soft corals and huge schools of fish. This time, I was looking forward to several days’ of … [Read more...]

Biodiversity—what is it?

Biologists talk a lot about biodiversity (aka biological diversity). But what does this really mean? Biodiversity refers to the variety of life. When biodiversity is high, it means there are many different types of organisms and species. Coral reefs have very high biodiversity—more than 25 percent of all marine species are found on coral reefs, which occupy less than one percent of the ocean. And every organism plays a unique role and contributes to how coral reef communities survive and function. When scientists lament the loss of biodiversity, they are not only saying that the number of species has changed on a reef or in a region, but that there may also be changes in how that reef functions. Coral reef species exist in a delicate balance of roles and responsibilities. The herbivores graze and keep algae growth in check. The predators keep the populations of herbivores and weak or injured fish in balance. Parrotfish … [Read more...]