Thursday, 29 April 2010

A Checklist of the Fishes of Fiji and a Bibliography of Fijian Fish

Johnson Seeto & Wayne J. Baldwin have published the USP offical Checklist of the Fishes of Fiji and a Bibliography of Fijian Fish

A Checklist of the Fishes of Fiji and a Bibliography of Fijian Fish

Johnson Seeto & Wayne J. Baldwin
A Checklist of the Fishes of Fiji and a Bibliography of Fijian 
A Checklist of the Fishes of Fiji and a Bibliography of Fijian Fish
Division of Marine Studies
School of Islands and Oceans
Faculty of Science, Technology & Environment
The University of the South Pacific
Suva Campus
Technical Report
February, 2010

You Can Help Give Sharks a Fighting Chance

Sharks are in the fight of their lives. Critical shark species - including hammerheads, oceanic whitetip and spiny dogfish - failed to receive international protection at the recent Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meetings.  

Make a gift and help call for immediate protection of sharks worldwide. 
Global shark populations continue to decline - some by more than 90 percent in the last two decades. And they continue to be fished faster than they can reproduce.

Many scientists fear the worst. Losing these top predators has devastating impacts on our underwater ecosystems and local economies. When sharks disappear, entire food webs can shift and valuable economies become devastated. We need your help.  

Become a Project AWARE Patron today for just 25 ($, £, €) or more. With your support, Project AWARE is securing protection for sharks. We're working to close loopholes in shark legislation, support establishment of effective MPA networks and engage divers in underwater research, data collection and awareness projects.  

Your contribution will help continue fighting for sharks and sustainable ecosystem management. Thank you for helping secure a future for our underwater world.

Dr. Drew Richardson
Chairman, Project AWARE Foundation

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

How the Sea Snake Got Its Stripes

A banded sea krait (Laticauda colubrina) is seen here off the shoreline of Wakatobi, Indonesia. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
ScienceDaily (Apr. 14, 2010) — We all know that looks matter, and for snakes, a colour which works well on land has dramatically different results under water, according to a recent study by biologists from the University of Sydney.

Professor Rick Shine and Dr Adele Pile from the School of Biological Sciences have discovered a sea snake's colouration can influence its susceptibility to algal fouling which can reduce swimming speed by up to 20 percent.

Their study, reported this month in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, sheds new light on how the transition from terrestrial to aquatic life has shaped the evolution of sea snakes.
Professor Shine said sea snakes evolved from venomous land snakes -- such as the highly toxic tiger snake -- who reinvaded the oceans around five million years ago.

"The fact that sea snakes have made the transition from terrestrial to aquatic life, makes them the perfect model to study evolution because we can compare traits between land snakes and sea snakes and hence identify selective forces unique to those habitats," he said.

"The shift from land to water brought with it a new set of challenges, and sea snakes evolved unique physical traits which enabled them to survive in the aquatic environment -- a paddle-shaped tail for swimming, valves to close their nostrils and large lungs to provide oxygen while under water.

"Another consistent attribute of sea snakes involves coloration: most are banded rather than unicoloured, blotched or striped. Fouling by algae has also been reported in several groups of sea snakes, and we wondered if maybe a snake's colour could influence its susceptibility to this."

To test this hypothesis, the scientists turned to a population of sea snakes in the tropical Pacific, in which members of the same species ranged from jet black to brightly black-and-white banded, and many patterns in between. Over a four-year period, the researchers examined free ranging individuals and found that black snakes supported significantly more algal cover than black-and-white snakes.

"Once we knew there was a relationship between a snake's colour and the amount of algal fouling, the next step was to determine if a snake's dark colour was the actual cause of the higher algal levels," Professor Shine said.
To do this, the researchers suspended plastic snake models -- in black, white and black-and-white -- in mid water and scored the amount of algal colonisation over the subsequent days. The results showed that colour directly affects the amount of algal growth, with black surfaces attracting the most algae, followed by black-and-white, and white the least.

"The spores of some marine algae settle out preferentially onto dark-coloured objects, which probably explains why the darker snakes hosted higher algal cover," he said.

The finding raises the crucial question: if snake colour influences rates of algal accumulation, what are the consequences of such accumulation?

"The most obvious such consequence is increased drag and things became really interesting when we tested to see if algal cover affected a snake's swimming speed. Our locomotor trials revealed a 20 percent reduction in swimming speeds in snakes covered with a heavy coating of algae."

Differences in colour involving black versus banded varieties of land snakes typically have been attributed to differences in heat transfer -- that is darker colours absorb more heat, even at the expense of looking more obvious to predators.

But Professor Shine said temperature based explanations can't be applied to the case in sea snakes.
"Unlike on land, colour does not affect the body temperatures of a snake under water. Our data suggests another potential fitness cost of colour in sea snakes, and potentially that of other aquatic animals: susceptibility to algal fouling," he said.

So why are some sea snakes black at all? Is there some hidden benefit to being black that outweighs the increased algal fouling?

"There is clearly a balance of costs and benefits of algal accumulation, which is why we see a variety of colours in the population. For example, a covering of seaweed may slow down the snake and reduce its ability to obtain oxygen from the water directly through its skin, because the algae form a barrier. But on the flip side, the algae might increase the snake's oxygen availability, because of algal photosynthesis, and hence benefit the snake."

Let Your Voice Be Heard This Earth Day!

Sign the Earth Day 2010 Climate Declaration today and help protect our planet's coral reefs! 
JYonoverInd.jpgDid you know that coral reefs could be gone within a generation if we don't take action? 
Coral reefs have thrived on Earth for over 200 million years, yet climate change is severely threatening their survival. Increases in sea surface temperatures, rising sea levels, and more frequent and severe storms lead to coral bleaching, degradation, and death. 
This Earth Day, help protect our coral reefs by lending your support to the Earth Day 2010 Climate Declaration. You can help motivate Congress to pass a comprehensive climate and clean energy bill to rebuild our economy, secure energy independence, and address the climate crisis threatening the future of the world's coral reefs. 
We've already lost almost 20 percent of the world's coral reefs. Scientists predict that unless we take immediate action, we could lose most of our remaining reefs by 2050! We have a narrow window of time to affect positive change, and the time to act is NOW.
Sign the petition! Show Congress that America is serious about clean energy and a sustainable future.
Working together, we can save the world's remaining coral reefs. Learn more about how you can help by reducing carbon emissions, making responsible environmental choices, and supporting the efforts of the Coral Reef Alliance.   
The oldest biological community on the planet needs our help, and with your support we are building a worldwide community to save it.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

New PADI Pros Site

PADI Asia Pacific
Unit 3, 4 Skyline Place
Frenchs Forest NSW 2086

Tel: +61 2 9454 2906
Fax: +61 2 9454 2999
Globally, PADI will soon be launching a completely revised website for PADI professionals.  The PADI Pros web address remains as but all PADI Members will need to click on the link to “Create a New Account” after the new site is launched in mid April. 

You’ll immediately see the difference in the format and design as soon as the new PADI Pros is available. Keep your eye out for the new look & feel and remember to “Create a New Account” when the new format appears.

The “Create a New Account” process is extremely easy as you’ll be prompted when trying to enter the new website.  You’re able to choose a new Username and Password after entering your Name, Member Number, Date of Birth and other information as it appears on your PADI Member Card.  Members who attempt to enter the new PADI Pros without “Creating a New Account” will be denied access.

Thank you for taking the time to review this information and please don’t hesitate to contact the Member Services’ team at if you have any questions relating to the launch of the new PADI Pro site.

Very Best Regards from, 

The PADI Asia Pacific Member Services’ team

Monday, 5 April 2010

Tourism luminary dies - Fiji Times Online

JOAN Moody, co-founder of Moody's Namena Island Resort, a founding member of the Savusavu Tourism Association and a founder of the Namena Marine Reserve, has died in Labasa Hospital after a brief illness.

She was 73.

Mrs Moody and her husband Tom created the resort on remote Namena Island beginning in 1982.

Located 19 nautical miles off the coast of Savusavu, the island, then known as Namenalala to denote emptiness, had never been inhabited due in part to the lack of a water supply.

The Moodys developed the resort themselves including an elaborate water catchment system, solar and wind power generation, and with the steadfast aim of keeping the virgin feel of the 110-acre island intact.

As such, the couple became one the first to practice low-impact and environmentally sustainable development.

Mrs Moody was also instrumental in the creation of the marine reserve in order to protect the stunning barrier reef surrounding Namena Island from being over-fished.

Because of its uniqueness, the resort has been the subject of numerous magazine and newspaper articles around the world and will soon be featured by National Geographic Television.

The Moodys are legendary in the tourism world for remote resort operations.

Prior to coming to Fiji, they operated Pidertupo, a resort in the San Blas islands off the coast of Panama.

After many years of successful operations, their resort was burned to the ground and Mr Moody was seriously wounded in an attacked by alleged operatives of the Noriega regime.

Before this, they were associated with resorts in British Honduras (now known as Belize) and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Mrs Moody's burial will be in America.

The family has established the Joan Moody Memorial Fund for those who may wish to show their respect.

In keeping with Mrs Moody's strong belief in the value of education, the fund will go toward the education of children in the remote Kubulau area of Vanua Levu, where many of the resort employees live.

Some of the fund will also be used in repair efforts in Kubulau after the damage caused by Hurricane Tomas.

The family said deposits could be made direct to: Westpac, account name Namena Limited, account number 1168092700.

Deposits should contain the note "For Joan Moody Memorial Fund". Or donations can be mailed to Moody's Namena Resort, PMG, Savusavu.

Tourism luminary dies - Fiji Times Online