Coral Reef Alliance | E-Current Newsletter
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May 2013: Worm Wins Photo Contest/ Four Stars for CORAL/ A Coral Mystery Solved/ Mangrove Makeover/ CORAL at Resilience Symposium/ Sponges vs. Corals

Christmas tree worm Worm Wins Photo Contest

Congratulations to CORAL supporter Thomas McDonald of Roanoke, Virginia, for submitting the winning photo in our May E-Current photo contest! Thomas captured these striking gold-colored Christmas tree worms (Spirobranchus giganteus) while diving the Palancar Reef, located off Cozumel, Mexico, one of CORAL's project sites. The Palancar Reef is Cozumel's most popular dive site, attracting up to 150 divers each day, so CORAL is working with our partners in the marine tourism industry to ensure that the activities of these divers do not harm the reef. By lessening the human footprint on the reef, we preserve it for current and future generations of people—like Thomas—who want to witness and document its beauty. Our next contest winner will be announced in July; visit our photo contest page to learn how to submit your work. Download the Winning Photo

Charity Navigator logo Four Stars for CORAL

America's largest and most trusted independent evaluator of non-profits has just awarded CORAL its highest and most prestigious ranking—four stars! Charity Navigator's President and CEO noted in his announcement that this status "differentiates the Coral Reef Alliance from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust." We are honored that our commitments to strong leadership, sound fiscal management, and transparency have been acknowledged by this organization—and applaud you and the rest of our supporters for helping us attain this distinct recognition.

Please make a gift today, to ensure that we have the resources to sustain healthy reefs and reef communities around the world in the fiscally responsible manner for which we are being recognized. Read More

pulsating xenid A Coral Mystery Solved

Scientists have long wondered why a soft coral in the Gulf of Eilat pulses nonstop. Heteroxenia fuscescens resembles a bunch of flowers attached to the hard corals and the bottom of the reef. The "flowers" are living polyps that open and close their petal-like tentacles constantly. But why? It turns out that the pulsing increases the rate at which the coral's algae "tenants" can photosynthesize. Read More

mangrove cleanup Mangrove Makeover

With the help of 40 high-energy high school students, CORAL's Cozumel team and staff from the National Commission of Protected Areas held a mangrove cleanup in April on the north side of the island. The Cozumel mangrove is part of a larger area that was declared a natural protected area by the Mexican government in September 2012. Mangroves are important to coral reefs as places where juvenile reef fish can grow, making for healthier and more robust coral reef fish communities. Once the fish grow large enough in the mangrove, they make their way to the reef. Read More

AMNH CORAL at Resilience Symposium

In April, three CORAL staff—Naneng Setiasih, Coral Triangle Regional Manager in Indonesia, Jenny Myton, Field Manager in Honduras, and Madhavi Colton, Reefs Tomorrow Initiative Program Director—took part in the 2013 Milstein Science Symposium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The three-day symposium brought together resource managers, researchers, educators, island leaders, policymakers, and conservation practitioners to present and analyze real-world case studies of ecological and social resilience—the ability of systems to absorb, resist, or recover from stressors and adapt to change while maintaining critical functions and benefits. Read More

barrel sponge Sponges vs. Corals

Sponges can overtake corals when reefs are overfished in the Caribbean, according to a new National Science Foundation study published in PLOS One. Joseph Pawlik and his colleagues from the University of North Carolina studied Conch Reef off of Key Largo, Florida, and found that fish like angelfish and parrotfish play an important role in keeping sponges in check—by eating those that lack bad-tasting chemicals. Read More

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