23rd May 2018

Happy World Turtle Day!

Did you know today is World Turtle Day? Here at Coral Cay Conservation in the Philippines, we are lucky enough to be able to appreciate these wonderful creatures on a daily basis! Sea turtles rely on healthy coral reefs for feeding habitats. As juveniles, Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) and Green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles feed on an array of food items including seaweeds and sea grass, invertebrates, small fish, and other items they may get their chompers on. As adults Hawksbills will rely heavily on sponges, while Greens will become essentially vegetarian, feeding on seagrass.

Photo courtesy of Anik Levac

CCC’s base is located directly in front of a pristine Marine Protected Area (MPA), which houses a high diversity of corals and the aforementioned species, which is great for the turtles! During dive and survey training we are regularly visited by our curious turtle residents, including Chloe the juvenile Green turtle, Zak the giant and Zoe the charismatic adult Hawksbills. It is brilliant to see these amazing creatures joining us on our dives, and is another constant reminder of why it is so important to keep our coral reefs and oceans healthy! 

Photo courtesy of Anik Levac

 

 

 

 

Meet Zoe – one of our resident Hawksbill sea turtles. She is regularly seen chomping away on sponges around our house reef, completely undisturbed by our divers! Our Project Scientist had a really close encounter with her this week. Anik was inspecting a foliose coral quite close to the sandy bottom, when Zoe quickly crept a few inches underneath her to snatch a food item from under the coral. What a surprise that was! 

Photo courtesy of Maisy Fuller

 

 

 

This is Chloe, our lovely little Green sea turtle! She regularly drops in on survey practice, investigating our skills as researchers. Although a little distracting, we don’t mind her company. Our volunteer, Jack, recently had his closest encounter with a sea turtle, pictured here.

From all of us at CCC, happy World Turtle Day 2018!

14th May 2018

Deptherapy Team mark IYOR 2018 with launch of new environmental project

A team of UK Armed Forces veterans is launching a project to ‘give back’ to the marine environment that they credit with turning their lives around.


The 30 wounded in service veterans, all suffering from life changing physical and / or mental injuries, are Programme Members of scuba diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy.


The aim of the ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ project is to raise awareness of the fragility of the world’s oceans and for each Deptherapy Programme Member to make their own practical contribution to environmental protection to help safeguard the future.
The project comes at a time when the world’s attention is increasingly focused on environmental sustainability, the scourge of plastic pollution and the health of the planet. 2018 has been designated the Third International Year of the Reef (IYOR 2018).

Deptherapy Ambassador and trainee Divemaster Ben Lee at Roots Red Sea, Egypt. Photo: Dmitry Knyazev

Deptherapy Ambassador and former Royal Engineer Ben Lee, who lost both legs and sustained other injuries in an IED explosion in Afghanistan is leading the ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ project. Ben is currently training to be a Divemaster and recently won the Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund ‘Recognising Achievement’ Award.


On his motivation to lead the project, Ben Lee said:
“The Red Sea and Deptherapy changed my life forever. If I could, I would live underwater - the tranquility, the beauty, it just blows your mind. You feel at one with nature. I want to help teach my son to dive. I want him to enjoy the oceans, but we are killing our seas; global warming, pollution, over fishing and plastic waste are destroying our reefs and our aquatic life. These are our oceans, and as surely as we fought for our Country, we must now, as that same ‘Band of Brothers,’ fight to save our oceans. We stood to arms in Afghan or Iraq, we now stand to arms, united in our determination to fight for the future of our oceans.”

Deptherapy’s next dive training programme, which takes place from 17th to 24th May at Roots Red Sea in Egypt, marks the start of the ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ project.


Tom Dallison, Head of Science at Coral Cay Conservation, will accompany the programme and lead six Deptherapy team members on a coral reef surveying and conservation course. The five day course will develop skills in underwater environmental survey techniques and species identification, in order to prepare the divers for an expedition to Truk Lagoon later this year.


Part of the Roots Red Sea programme and all of the Truk expedition are funded by the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s 2016 Libor Fund.


On the Truk expedition in August, the Deptherapy team will independently map the health of the marine life on the wreck of the former Naval Tanker, the Shinkoku Maru, and produce a detailed report of their findings.


Tom Dallison explained more about the project:

“Deptherapy does magnificent work, offering incredible opportunities to injured veterans. I am honoured to have this chance to facilitate their efforts whilst incorporating my own passion into their cause – the conservation of our ocean’s fauna and flora.
Working closely with a team during the Roots expedition, we will, collectively, develop a deep understanding of the marine life in the Red Sea, delving into the ecology and behaviour of marine organisms, whilst focusing on the current impacts faced by coral reefs and the methods used to monitor their health.
By building an affinity to the marine world, Deptherapy will boast six newly trained conservation-advocates for their Truk Lagoon expedition and future programmes.”


During the Roots trip, all Programme Members will also take part in a ‘Dive Against Debris’ underwater and beach clean up. Several Members have also volunteered to give environmental presentations to the rest of the team.

Long time partner of the Deptherapy charity, PADI are fully supporting the ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ project. Two of PADI’s Pillars of Change focus on People & Community and Healing & Wellness, making Deptherapy the perfect charity for PADI to support.

Emma Hewitt, PADI Regional Manager UK South & Ireland, explained:
“Deptherapy has demonstrated that by adapting teaching techniques, those with perceived limitations can overcome them and become scuba divers. The PADI Adaptive Techniques program has been designed using these same techniques. PADI is proud to partner Deptherapy and is committed to helping to bring more troops through their programmes in the years ahead.”


PADI will also be supporting this project through its own Project AWARE® Foundation.
PADI Regional Manager for Egypt, Ahmed Sayed said:
“When ocean health is combined with the health of those within Deptherapy’s program it is all the more powerful. Project AWARE is grateful for all the support Deptherapy gives. It is fantastic to see two charities working together for the good of so many and I am honoured that Egypt will host the first stage of this project.”


As well as PADI and Coral Cay Conservation, a division of the Lifesigns Group founded by Deptherapy Patron Alistair Cole, the ‘Protecting Our Oceans’ project has the support of many other key individuals and organisations within the scuba diving community.


Patrons of Deptherapy Paul Rose and Andy Torbet have both pledged their support for the project, whilst David Jones, Founder of environmental organisation Just One Ocean, has come onboard as a Technical Advisor.


On working with Deptherapy and this project, Andy Torbet said:
“In 2018 plastic pollution, especially that in our oceans, seas, rivers and lakes has become front page news. This is great for those of us working on these problems for years. As divers, we have seen the plastic detritus and damage it causes first-hand and often out of sight of those who do not venture beneath the surface of the ocean.

 

When asked to describe myself, I always say Diver and Ex-Soldier. Deptherapy touches on both these passions as it uses one to help the other. Diving, along with the hard work of the volunteers that run the charity, and those involved in the programmes, have proved miraculous in helping individuals with very serious physical and mental injuries. It is not hyperbole to say it has saved people’s lives.

 

As the Deptherapy programmes continue to help those with massive, life altering injuries or serious mental health issues, those within the problem are trying to give back to the environment that has helped them - our oceans. The majority of the Deptherapy veterans feel the underwater world saved them, now it’s time for some payback.”


Pledge your support and find out more about the work of Deptherapy & Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk.

21st May 2018

Travel Tips - Ordinance Survey

It's the beginning of another week and today's Travel Tip is all about navigating in the UK. We've got 2 apps from Ordnance Survey (OS) to share with you for this one as they are fab when used in conjunction: OS Maps App and the OS Locate App.

 

OS maps gives you access to OS maps for the whole of the UK, in a range of scales direct to your phone, you can create and record routes and print out any you want in hard copy. There is a free version but we think it's best to pay for this one if you want the full features.

 

The OS Locate App uses your phone GPS to pinpoint your exact location to an OS national grid reference, this includes a cool compass with a rotatable bezel.

 

Word to the wise these apps do use your phone's GPS so they can drain battery. If you are planning a long hike best to use these apps for confirmation or back up only, and bring along a power bank, just in case!

 

Our weekly travel tips are from our personal experiences only, and we are not receiving any funds from the apps mentioned. 

18th May 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

Happy Freaky Fact Friday everybody! Today all eyes are on the Anableps anableps (Four-eyed Fish), this live bearing (viviparous), surface dwelling fish actually has only 2 eyes, but each eye is separated by a band of tissue and each eye has its own pupil. The upper part of the eye sits above the water and the lower below, the lens then changes in thickness over the whole eye in order to adapt each half to the differing refractive indices of water and air.

 

What's really odd about this species is that the male's gonopodium (the elongated anal fin which they use to inseminate females) is pointed to the left or right, and similarly females' genital pores are either left or right aligned, so partners must be compatible to breed. Think about that the next time you lefties are struggling to use scissors, it could be much worse!

14th May 2018

Travel Tips - Calm

Happy Monday everyone! If anyone is stealing themselves for a difficult week, today's travel tip may well come in handy - the Calm App. This is an app that has been used by our Expedition Leaders when they have had team members experience anxiety during their expedition. It's basically a meditation and sleep app, it sounds a little new age but bear with us!

 

There are options for relaxing music and soundtracks, short stories to help you sleep, plus breathing exercises and calming screen shots. Some are good for instant relief, others are longer term courses for those who are looking to change their coping mechanisms. We just use the free app so cannot access everything, but you can pay a subscription (£34.99 per year) for full access.

 

So, the next time someone steals your lunch from the office fridge / or your housemate leaves all their washing up in the sink, get on the app and learn how to count to 10 with the masters ;)!

 

Our weekly travel tips are from our personal experiences only, and we are not receiving any funds from the websites/apps mentioned.

11th May 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

Goblin sharks (Mitsukurina owstoni) are our focus today. These odd looking deep-sea sharks make up for their sluggish swimming nature by possessing highly protrusible jaws, which are usually held flush to the snout on taut ligaments. This species is thought to be an ambush predator as it is neutrally buoyant and able to sneak up on its prey. Once the prey is in range the ligaments holding the jaw will release, catapulting the jaws out and up at 3.14 m/s, allowing it to capture its prey.

 

Check out the short clip below which shows this rather incredible feat!

8th May 2018

Happy Birthday David Attenborough!

Grabbing the opportunity to wish Sir David Attenborough a very Happy Birthday!

 

Of all the staff that join us the most common source of inspiration that encouraged people to get into the conservation field, is this gentleman. We have grown up watching him, and it's his cadence that we fondly mimic whenever we find ourselves in a narration worthy situation.

 

Many happy returns of the day!

7th May 2018

Travel Tips - Sport Pursuit

If you can't visit a sport/outdoor shop without sneaking home a new addition to your wardrobe, then this is the Travel Tip for you! SportPursuit are a website that specialise in flash sales of everything from tents to compression clothing. What you see is what you get and there are a range of brands on sale, so do your research, browse through their collection and pick your bargain!

You need to be patient as they will not post your purchase until the sale has ended but the savings are fab!

Our weekly travel tips are from our personal experiences only, and we are not receiving any funds from the websites mentioned.

4th May 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

Today we are looking at the weird and wonderful marine creatures that are Frogfish (Antennariidae). If you have friends that practically inhale their food these fish will put them to shame, they are able to enlarge their mouth cavity 12 fold, this sudden increase in size pulls the prey and surrounding water into the mouth in an attack which can be as fast as 6 milliseconds! This is a situation where they are never going to have eyes too big for their stomach, as they can also expand their stomachs to fit prey twice their size!

 

If you think these look a little like Anglerfish, you would be right, they come from the same family, and just like the anglerfish they stalk, and attract their prey using a lure or 'esca'. A moveable section at the end of the front most fin which can be moved to resemble prey. They are masters in aggressive mimicry, and their ability to disguise themselves is second to none, some can even inflate themselves with water to imitate pufferfish!

 

Why not check out this article for more interesting facts on this species?

4th May 2018

Hawaii to (Hopefully) Ban the Use of Harmful Sunscreens.

Some fantastic news coming from the state of Hawaii this morning! They are the first US state to pass a bill (SB2571) banning the use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals which are thought to play a factor in coral bleaching. The law, if signed off by Governor Ige, will come into force in 2021.

 

With 8 million tourists visiting Hawaii's waters each year it's fantastic to see efforts being made to reduce the cumulative negative effect of these chemicals. We will be crossing all our fingers and toes that the Governor makes the decision to help protect the reefs future.

 

Read more here.

30th April 2018

Travel Tips - Revolut

Happy Monday everyone! Today's travel tip is all about money! Anyone who has tried to get traveller's cheques changed in a remote location knows that it can be a nightmare! This is where an international payment card like the Revolut can come in handy.

 

The Revolut card comes with an online app which allows the user to move money from an allocated account, and switch it instantaneously to 24 other currencies, based on the current market value. It can then be used like any other bank card. The app will send you text receipts for any purchases/withdrawals made, and you can switch any remaining foreign currency back to your home currency on returning home. You'll need to top up with an initial £10 to start the account and cover the postage fee (we paid £12 for rush delivery and received the card in time) from that point onward it's free for the standard card.

 

What we have found extra handy is that if your bank decides to forget that you are travelling and block the card you can handily unblock it just by going on the app, brilliant!

 

Our weekly travel tips are from our personal experiences only, and we are not receiving any funds from the apps mentioned.

27th April 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

Today's post is all about the Eastern Emerald Elysia (Elysia chlorotica), a sea slug that is able to convert light energy into fuel (photosynthesis) by being a little klepto!

 

Sap-Sucking Sea Slugs, like the one mentioned above, are the only known animal to practise kleptoplasty (from the Greek - Klepto - to steal), a process whereby they sequester the living chloroplasts from the algae they eat. The chloroplasts, once processed, turn the slug a bright green and they are then able to perform photosynthesis! The chloroplasts alone do not achieve this phenomenon, so it is thought that a specific gene is also stolen from the chloroplast, and incorporated into the slugs own genes!

 

Never was eating your greens more important!

 

Check out the full article here, and you can read more about this weird and wonderful sea slug here.

26th April 2018

CCC Featured in Ocean Challenge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are very pleased to announce that we have recently been featured in Ocean Challenge, the Challenger Society's Oceanography journal, Vol. 22 No. 2. P. 20-25. The article focuses on CCC's work in the Philippines and the benefits of Citizen Scientists.

 

Click the picture to read the article and you can read more about the foundation study in the Triennual Report on our scientific reports page.

 

Joining Forces with Deptherapy!

We are very proud to announce that we will soon be joining the rehabilitation charity, Deptherapy, to assist them with a very exciting training project. Deptherapy are a UK based charity specialising in the "rehabilitation of UK armed service personnel, who have suffered life changing mental or physical injuries, through the medium of scuba diving". Coral Cay Conservation's (CCC) CEO, Alistair Cole, has been a patron of Deptherapy for a number of years, so when they were in need of a marine biologist, he had the perfect organisation in mind for the job :)!

In May, CCC's Head of Science, Tom Dallison, will be heading out to Roots Red Sea, Hurghada, to lead a training programme designed to prepare the team for an expedition heading out to Truk (Chuuk) Lagoon later in the year. Truk is a wreck divers dream, so the team will be focusing on gaining their PADI Wreck Diving Speciality, but Deptherapy wanted to also take every opportunity to foster an interest in, and love of, the marine environment. This is where CCC comes in! Tom will take six Deptherapy members through a coral reef surveying and conservation course, assisted by PADI staff Instructor, Howard Payne. The five day course will focus on species ID and basic underwater survey techniques so that they will be able to build an appreciation for the marine species seen. We can't wait to dive in and start training! 

23rd April 2018

Travel Tips - MapsMe

It’s that time of the week again when we bring you a travel website or app that we have come to swear by for our recces. Today’s Travel Tip is designed to help you navigate in the middle of nowhere. Our Head of Operations used the free MAPS.ME App for the first time in Ecuador to make sure he was taking a bus in the right direction, and it has since become a staple on recces. This one's not for trekking, but has proven to be brilliant for roads, and is a god send if you have zero sense of direction!

 

Just download the necessary maps in advance when you have WiFi, and then the maps can be used offline with your location being determined by GPS. We have found that although this does work in cities it can struggle in very built up areas so if you're heading to somewhere drowning in high rises keep an eye on our posts for a better suited app.

 

Our weekly travel tips are from our personal experiences only. If you have a different app which you prefer, which performs a similar function, tell us about it!

20th April 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

This week we are concentrating on Cymothoa exigua, or the tongue-eating louse. This is rather a 'does what it says on the tin' kinda name!

 

This parasitic isopod enters through the gills of its host fish, attaches itself to its tongue and over time sucks all the blood out of it, to feed its developing young. The tongue atrophies to nothing, until the isopod essentially replaces and performs the same function as the tongue. At this point there is no food source for the isopod so it lives on reserves until its young are released.

 

It isn't really known what happens to the isopod once its performed its reproductive function, but once fully matured it cannot swim, and as its primary food source is gone its likely that it dies. The fish without a tongue (in whatever form that takes) can not eat, so sadly it dies also.

It's not the happiest of stories but how incredible that this 15mm long species is the only known parasite able to entirely replace a host's organ?! Check out more info here.

16th April 2018

Travel Tips - WiFox

Today's Travel Tip is all about how to stay connected on the move. 
FoXnoMad: travel smarter's 'WiFox' is an app with a map showing all the free WiFi passwords in airports and lounges around the world. Details can be updated by users (after verification) so it's pretty up to date, and the map is available offline. This is one that you have to pay for but at £1.99 we figure it's unlikely to break the bank... and let's face it after sitting 8 hours bored out of your mind in an airport it's worth it!

 

Please note the search function can be a bit clunky so make sure you search for the country first, then narrow down to city.

 

Our weekly travel tips are from our personal experiences only. If you have a different app which you prefer, which performs a similar function, tell us about it!

13th April 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

Today's pick is all about boxer/pom-pom crabs (Lybia) and their mutualistic relationship with sea anemones.

 

It's not hard to see how these crabs got their name, as can be seen in the image below they consistently carry around an anemone in each claw, making it look like they are wearing boxing gloves, or holding pom-poms! In return for mobility and food the anemones provide additional protection from large predators through the use of their stinging cells (cnidocytes).

In all honesty we chose the Popular Science article to focus on mainly for the puntastic tagline that is "They keep their friends close and their anemones closer" ha ha ha:), but there is some really interesting info in it too! For instance a crab that loses one of its anemones will force the remaining one to reproduce asexually. 

13th April 2018

Waitrose Banning Disposable Cups by Autumn!

We are so pleased to see Waitrose taking action against plastic pollution and banning the use of disposable cups in all their stores by Autumn. A staggering 2.5 billion coffee cups are chucked away every year in the UK and unfortunately most of these cannot be recycled due to the plastic lining.

 

The small frustration that you may feel when you forget your re-usable cup and can't get your coffee is nothing compared to the decades that it takes for one single use coffee cup to degrade. Get ahead of the game and buy yourself a reusable cup, in fact buy two and keep one at the office in case you forget yours at home! It will taste even sweeter when it's guilt free.

10th April 2018

Iceland Foods Leads the Pack on Banning Palm Oil!

Some fantastic news coming from Iceland Foods this morning! They will be switching from palm oil to alternatives in all their own brand products from the end of 2018! Anyone who is attempting to go palm oil free knows that it is pervasive in everything from soaps to biscuits, and sometimes a real challenge to avoid as it has so many alternative names.

 

Calling out WaitroseMorrisons, Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury's to follow suit and take action against the destruction of rainforests around the world.

 

Check out this article for some handy tips on how to avoid palm oil in the meantime:
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/-…/palm-oil_b_14265408.html

9th April 2018

Travel Tips - Google Translate

It's the beginning of another week and today our Travel Tip is all about getting by when you don't know the local language. Remember a smile is worth a thousand words but if you don't know the difference between your Buenos días and こんばんは, then you need to get the GoogleTranslate App. It's come along in leaps and bounds over the last few years, and has proven to be incredibly helpful to all of us at Coral Cay during our last few recces.

 

With new features available with Wifi such as translation from photos for signage assistance, and 2-way speech translation this app has proven to be rather a god send when even one's best charades don't quite get the point across!

 

Tip: sometimes the camera view can be a little glitchy so for a clearer translation take a photo then highlight the section you want to translate.

6th April 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

We've got a seriously eye-watering Freaky Fact Friday for you today! Who here has heard of the Pearlfish and their rather novel way of finding shelter? Safe harbours can be few and far between on the ocean floor so when a Pearlfish needs to take quick cover it will make use of the nearest Sea Cucumber and swim up its bum! Unfortunately, Sea Cucumbers breathe out of their anus so there isn't a huge amount that they can do to protect themselves. The Pearlfish will then make its home in its host's respiratory tree.

 

You would have seen videos of the clever defence system that Sea Cucumbers are able to use where they expel their very toxic viscera to ward off predators. This viscera includes their respiratory tree so there are questions as to why Sea Cucumbers don't just eviscerate their unwelcome visitors. Considering it takes 2-4 weeks to regenerate the organs lost we assume it's simply not worth the weeks of vulnerability.

 

If you feel up to it you can watch a video of this phenomenon below!

2nd April 2018

Travel Tips - Red Cross First Aid App

If you had to deal with a family member having a suspected heart attack, or perhaps a friend experiencing an anaphylactic shock would you know what to do? The third instalment for our Travel Tips series is an App we think everyone should have on their phone.

 

The British Red Cross has created a fab First Aid App which has been designed to help you to react efficiently and correctly to 18 common first aid scenarios. The App is free and available entirely offline, and takes you step by step through the procedures needed to ascertain whether your diagnoses is correct and how to help.

 

Please note remedies have been designed for countries where emergency services are available promptly, if you will be travelling to countries where this is not the case consider joining us for an Emergency Care Program Course.

30th March 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

We know that your week isn't complete without an instalment from this series so we hope this weeks little insight lives up to expectation!

 

This week we are looking at Protandrous Hermaphroditism in the marine world. It may be a new term to some of you but we're certain that you will recognise some of the examples! or we may just inadvertently ruin Finding Nemo for you...

 

A hermaphrodite is an organism that has complete or partial reproductive organs normally associated with both male and female sexes and is quite common throughout biology. When a hermaphroditic organism is born as one sex and changes to the other sex during its life cycle, it is termed as sequential hermaphroditism. Still with us? Good. This is where Protandrous Hermaphroditism comes in. If the organism is born as a Male and switches to the sex of Female in its life cycle, it is an example of Protandry or Protandrous Hermaphroditism! Female to Male? Protogyny or Protogynous Hermaphroditism.

Protandry is common in Amphiprion sp. or Clownfish. Living in symbiosis with their Anemone, a 'harem' of Clownfish, dominated by one-large female, one smaller reproductive male, and multiple even smaller non-reproductive males. Dominance is driven by size (and sex) here. But what happens if that dominant, sexually mature female dies or is removed from the harem? Well, its quite simple. The large reproductive male switches sex and becomes the dominant reproductive female. The next largest non-reproductive male in the harem will then become reproductive and the social structure of the harem is restored! If Finding Nemo was scientifically accurate, it would have been a completely different film...

 

We're sorry if you can never look at a Clownfish the same way, but this process is really common and is also found in parasitic Isopods, Ctenophores and Platyhelminthes!

 

There's a great little article by Ocean Bite that provides further examples and the causes of this behaviour: https://oceanbites.org/sea-of-love-hermaphroditic-fishes/

28th March 2018

How do we Protect Cryptic Species?

Cryptic species are difficult to survey on coral reefs - it's in their name! But how do we even think about protecting them if we don't know what species are there or how many there are?

Three words; Underwater Biofluorescence Census.

 

A new approach developed by Maarten De Brauwer and his team has, quite literally, shone the light on this elusive set of reef inhabitants. Through their studies in Coral Triangle and northern Australia, they found that cryptic fishes were 70.9 times more likely to be biofluorescent than their conspicuous counter parts! Plus, they've produced some INCREDIBLE photos!

 

You can check out this article, as well as this published paper in Conservation Biology - 

Biofluorescence as a survey tool for cryptic marine species.

26th March 2018

Travel Tip - Dark Sky

Happy Monday everyone! In the 2nd instalment of our travel tips series we are looking at weather apps. Whether travelling alone or in a group preparation is key. This is where a local weather app like Dark Sky comes in handy.

 

The maps on The Dark Sky Company weather app are easy to read, predict precipitation, humidity, visibility, and more, perfect for if you are planning on heading up a mountain or undertaking some cross country skiing!

23rd March 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

This series wouldn't be complete without mentioning seahorses, one of the Syngnthidae (also including pipefish and seadragons), the only family that experience male pregnancy. Seahorses have long been touted as being monogamous, this is truer for seahorses than lobsters (sorry Phoebe!) as it has been found that many will stay with the same partner for more than one breeding cycle, but most species studied are not monogamous. This is a shame for our rather romanticised view, but good news for conservation purposes! You can read more about this here.

 

Seahorses are some of the slowest swimming fish (the Dwarf Seahorse travels at a warp speed of five feet in one hour) but this has made them into deadly predators, as they are able to sneak up on their prey without creating any disturbance in the surrounding water.

21st March 2018

Fighting Against Plastic Pollution!

We get queries all the time from people wondering what they can do to help our oceans. Other than join us of course ;), there are loads of actions you can take on  a daily basis to fight against one of the biggest threats to our oceans - plastic pollution. There has never been a better time than now, in the Third International Year of the Reef #IYOR2018.

 

5 Gyres is a great place to start. They give you the science behind all the different types of plastic pollution, from microbeads to cigarette butts, and what you can do to take action! Their current push is to tackle the issue of single-use polystyrene products. Polystyrene is extremely difficult to recycle, and therefore it is up to each and everyone of us to avoid its use by refusing any plastics with the number 6 on the bottom, it's time to Nix the 6! You can follow their campaign on #sneakystyrene.

19th March 2018

Travel Tip - Rome2Rio

Mondays are rather challenging at the best of times so why not start your week with the 3 Ps: Practise denial, Procrastinate and Plan for your next holiday! OK, perhaps not the healthiest of policies but it works for us! Every Monday we will be telling you about an app or website that we have found hugely helpful on our travels. We would love you to join in by telling us about others that you have found.

 

First up is Rome2rio. A transport website and app for tourist and (slightly) off the beaten track travel. This is brilliant for figuring out how you are going to get from place to place when multiple modes of transport are needed. Head here for a great jumping off point to work out how much your travel is going to cost, info on ferry/train/flight terminals, and the duration of each transport option.

 

Our weekly travel tips are from our personal experiences only. If you have a different app which you prefer, which performs a similar function, tell us about it below!

16th March 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

Today we are looking at the strange world of Siphonophorae. The strangest thing about these individual organisms is that they are in fact, not, they are actually a colonial organism made up of multiple polyp or Medusae zooids, with each zooid serving a specific function for survival.

 

A great example of a Siphonophore is the Portuguese Man-of-War (Physalia physalis). It looks like a jellyfish but is actually comprised of 4 polyp sections: the gas filled bladder (pneumatophore) which allows it to float; the dactylozooids, tentacles which capture prey; gastrozooids, the digestive system; and gonozooids, the reproductive system. They are rather beautiful but beware they pack a seriously painful sting! Read more here.

12th March 2018

Some Fantastic Resources for IYOR 2018!

With the 3rd International Year of the Reef (IYOR2018) in full swing, make sure you have all the resources available to take action this year. Follow this link for some stunning posters, brochures, teaching materials and more supplied by IYOR2018.

 

We will be updating you throughout the year on our plans for IYOR so watch this space, but in the meantime, download some resources and push #IYOR2018 within your organisation, friends and family and the wider public!

10th March 2018

Cleaning the Beach at Tuno, San Francisco

On the 10th March 2018, CCC and the community of Barangay Tuno (Municipality San Francisco) came together to address the issue of plastic pollution within our marine environment. The community of Tuno are fortunate enough to reside on one the best beaches within the Municipality, which receives frequent visitors and families from the wider community to swim and relax. This, unfortunately, has resulted in alarge amount of plastic being left behind. As a result, the pro-active Barangay of Tuno are trying to come up with effective waste management practices to both encourage and ensure visitors are responsibly disposing their waste items.

More than 60 children and adults attended the event from the community, with additonal attendance from the Philippines National Police, Army Reserved Command, and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

 

Within 2-hours, a total of 5 sacks of non-biodegradable trash was removed from the beach. For some further incentive, we brought with us our trusty bubble tank and 'charged' each particiapnt 15 pieces of trash if they wanted to give it a go! Bargain!

 

A massive thank you to all who participated in the morning's even, and remember: If you are unsure of the waste management practices within a community - take your rubbish with you!

9th March 2018

Happy Freaky Fact Friday!

Today it's all about the weird self-preservation method used by Swell Sharks (Cephaloscyllium ventriosum). If threatened this species of cat shark will bend into a u-shape, grab its tail fin in its mouth, and gulp down water allowing it to expand twice in size. This makes it very hard to remove from the small crevices and caves where it makes its home, and rather a mouthful to eat! Then, once the threat is gone they expel the water from their stomachs creating a sound like a dogs bark! You can't make this stuff up! Check out more info here.

8th March 2018

Happy International Women's Day!

Happy International Women's Day all! This is an annual event in the calendar which encourages all of us to #PressForProgress in gender inclusivity. Take a moment today to think about what stereotypes and biases you hold, and challenge yourself to change.

 

Scuba diving has long been a male dominated sport but efforts are being made to encourage more women to take part. The ratio is now 60/40, so there's still room for improvement but it's great to see some progress. If you own a dive shop why not check out this article which includes some great pointers on attracting more women into this brilliant sport.

7th March 2018

CoTs Removal at Napantao House Reef

During the survey practise portion of our most recent training session it became apparent that Napantao House Reef was in need of a Crown of Thorns (CoTS) removal dive. A CoTs starfish diet consists of coral, but their preference is for acropora. They are a natural part of any reef system and in low numbers help coral reefs to maintain diversity, however when an outbreak occurs the damage they can do to a reef far outweighs the speed with which it can replenish itself. By carrying out a cull we can keep CoTs to manageable levels.

 

Between both CCC staff and volunteers, a total of 32 CoTS were removed. The Skills Development Programme survey practice will allow consistent monitoring of CoTS within Napantao House Reef, to ensure CoTS numbers are controlled post-habagat.

Project Scientist Chelsea Waters, and Maisy Fuller, Science Officer, remove a CoTs safely from the reef. Photo courtesy of Ceri Webster, CCC Volunteer.

28th February 2018

Inspiring the Next Generation of Conservation Advocates!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are loving this post from one of our recent CCC volunteers. It's such a joy to hear about the ways in which our staff and volunteers spread the word about the importance of coral reefs, and help to inspire a new generation of conservation advocates. After all, what kid doesn't want to learn all about parrotfish poop?! You never know Lisa, you may be responsible for sending two more marine biologists out into the world!

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