Barbary Coast Divers

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Reserved for Friday, Sat & Sun nights (we think 2pm check-in for Friday)

Marine News

KALININGRAD, August 22 (RIA Novosti, Anatoly Nilov)

The number of jellyfish in the Baltic Sea has sharply increased

Residents of the Kaliningrad region say that in some places seawater resembled broth."The sharp increase in the number of jellyfish is linked with the...heat," Vsevolod Bondarenko, a representative of the bio-ecological faculty of the Kaliningrad-based Kant Russian State University, said Monday. Jellyfish usually approach the coast searching for plankton in warm windless weather, he said. Bondarenko said that if the storm that had hit the Kaliningrad region came again, the jellyfish would not have approached the coast. "This means that the weather will be warm and calm in the near future." These Jellyfish are not harmful to people. It is a rare occasion when common jellyfish appears in the Baltic Sea.

Conservation Plan Developed by Unlikely Partners
The Morro Bay Commercial Fisherman’s Organization, The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense applauded the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (PFMC) decision to ban bottom trawling in large swaths of the ocean off the central California coast. Trawl fishermen and environmentalists laid the groundwork for consensus before the Council vote. As a result, this action will protect many historic fishing grounds, fishing families, livelihoods and public access to fresh local seafood while also protecting ocean ecosystems.

The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense identified the region between Point Conception and Point Sur (the central California coast) as a high priority for ocean conservation, as it contains one of the richest assemblages of habitats and marine life in the world. Based on an analysis of threats to biological diversity and ecological health in this region, the two groups concluded that trawling should be reduced.

To soften the economic impacts of creating large no-trawl zones, The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense teamed up to purchase vessels and permits from trawlers willing to sell, contingent upon a commitment by the federal government to establish no-trawl zones.


Undersea Forest Not Under the Sea

It takes good gardening skills to maintain a kelp forest. The giant kelp in Monterey Bay Aquarium's three story Kelp Forest exhibit grows up to six inches a day—equal to the growth rate in the wild. And there are over 100 species of seaweeds growing in the exhibit, at first look it appears to be a gardener's nightmare! Join aquarist Barbara Utter to learn just what it takes to create a living kelp forest...

The Aquarium's kelp forest was the first one ever built by human hands. At the time it was created, it was one big experiment and no one really knew exactly what was required to grow a kelp forest indoors.

Experts did what they could to ensure that the plants get the sunlight they need. Features such as surging swells and moistening spray were also added to give the kelp forest a taste of home and a good chance of survival.

Reef Research & Awareness Illegal Destruction of Coral Reefs Worsened Impact of Tsunami

The illegal mining of corals off the southwest coast of Sri Lanka permitted far more onshore destruction from the 26 December 2004 tsunami than occurred in nearby areas whose coral reefs were intact. This is the principal finding of a team of researchers from the United States and Sri Lanka who studied the area earlier this year. Their report is published in the 16 August issue of Eos, the newspaper of the American Geophysical Union.

Some of the differences were startling. Lead author Harindra Fernando of Arizona State University reports that in the town of Peraliya, a wave of 30-foot height swept one mile inland, carrying a passenger train about 200 feet off its tracks, with a death toll of 1,700. Yet, a mere two miles south, in Hikkaduwa, the tsunami measured just 7-10 feet in height, traveled only 50 meters 200 feet inland, and caused no deaths.

The researchers found that this pattern of patchy inundation to be characteristic of the study area and was not related to such coastline features as headlands, bays, and river channels. Rather, the key factor was the presence or absence of coral and rock reefs offshore.

At Hikkaduwa, the hotel strip is fronted by a rock reef and further protected by coral reefs that the local hoteliers protect and nurture, the researchers report. Relatively little damage and few deaths were recorded from there to Dodanduwa, around six kilometers to the south.

From Hikkaduwa north to Akuralla, however, damage and loss of life was extensive. Local residents, interviewed by the authors, say that coral reefs in that area had been decimated by illegal mining, especially by use of explosives that result in harvests of both coral and fish.

Some eyewitnesses to the tsunami described a visible reduction in the height of the water wall and its deflection parallel with the shore as it approached the coral reef. The researchers conclude that waves that had been blocked by the reef caused even more inundation and damage where they found low resistance gaps due to removal of coral by humans.

The scientists note that the brunt of the tsunami had hit Sri Lanka's eastern shore, but that the southwestern, or leeward, side had also been hit hard. Their analysis of the available data concludes that two or three waves hit the area within an hour, having been channeled and bent around the southern tip of the island, and that another wave struck around two hours later, having bounced back after hitting India or the Maldives.

They say that existing computer models cannot adequately explain or predict the wave amplitudes in southwest Sri Lanka, likely due to small scale ocean processes, including topographic variations due to coral removal, that are not yet well understood.

The authors note that low-lying Maldives islands directly in the path of the tsunami escaped destruction. They suggest that this may have been due to the presence of healthy coral reefs surrounding the islands. Apparently, in Sri Lanka, very little healthy coral was damaged by the tsunami.

The research was funded by the BBC, which produced a documentary film on the tsunami, the National Science Foundation, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

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updated 8/26/05