Why is seabird poop good for the environment?
The poop of seabirds is important for the environment, writes Jason Bittel for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Jason Bittel writes that seabird droppings – from Penguins and especially flying seabirds – help to fertilize plants, and whole colonies of seabirds depositing their poop can have a positive affect on coral reefs and climate.
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Happy as a clam is a colloquial expression – a simile to describe a happy person. If a person is said to be ‘as happy as a clam at high water’ it means that they are content and satisfied.
What is the origin of this expression? The website The Phrase Finder believes that it may have originated in America in 1833 in the book The Harpe’s Head – A Legend of Kentucky – “It never occurred to him to be discontented … He was as happy as a clam.” General Robert E Lee used the phrase too in the 1830s.
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Scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) have stated that the coral cover in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the highest ever recorded, since records began 36 years ago, but the ecosystem remains vulnerable.
The Great Barrier Reef on the eastern coast of Australia is the world’s largest natural reef system of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 miles) long. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 and labelled one of the seven natural wonders of the world in 1997.
AIMS scientists have been monitoring the levels of coral coverage in the reef to determine its health. They publish their findings annually.
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What is the difference between the Blacksaddle Filefish (Paraluteres prionurus) and the Valentin’s Sharpnose Pufferfish (Canthigaster valentini)?
The Blacksaddle Filefish and the Valentin’s Sharpnose Pufferfish are both marine (saltwater) fish in the same family – the Monacahnthidae family of Leatherjackets.
The Blacksaddle Filefish and the Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer are both the same size, about 11 centimetres (4 inches) long, and swim together in the same small schools in the tropical reefs of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
The Blacksaddle Filefish is a mimic of the Valentin’s Sharpnose Puffer, so it is extremely difficult to distinguish one from the other.
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The Panther Grouper (Cromileptes altivelis) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Serranidae family of groupers and sea bass. It is also known as the Polka Dot Grouper, High-Finned Grouper, Humpback Grouper, and Barramundi Cod.
The Panther Grouper has a laterally compressed, flat body. It has a greyish-yellowish-brown coloured background with small, darker spots all over its body. It is high at front of its back, which makes it look humpbacked.
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The Pacific Double Saddle Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ulietensis) is a tropical marine (saltwater) fish in the Chaetodontidae family of butterflyfish. It is also known as the False Falcula Butterflyfish.
The Pacific Double Saddle Butterflyfish has a flat, compressed, oval-shaped body. It is white with vertical, thin, black lines down its body and two dark saddles on its back. The fins and tail are bright yellow with a black spot on the tail. It has a black eye band, like a mask over its eyes. Its protruding snout (nose) is usually white.
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The Knobby Finger Coral (Porites duerdeni) is a marine (saltwater) coral in the Poritidae family of polyp stony corals.
The Knobby Finger Coral looks like short, stubby, branching fingers in small, mound-shaped colonies. The top of each finger is spherical. It has widely spaced calices with retracted polyps. It has a well-developed wall reticulum. It can be varied in colour from light grey to yellowish-green and pinkish-red. It is sessile (not moving), with a mouth in each polyp.
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A coral reef has been found in deep water off the coast of Tahiti in the Pacific Ocean. The coral reef was found to be pristine, undamaged, and in good environmental health.
The coral reef is rose-shaped. It is part of a larger reef that stretches for more than 3 kilometres long and 70 metres wide at its widest point.
Laetitia Hédouin and her colleagues at the National Centre for Scientific Research in France undertook diving expeditions off the coast of Tahiti and found the reef. Hédouin said it was a very healthy reef, ‘like a dream come true.’
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The Common Bluestripe Snapper (Lutjanus kasmira) is a fish in the Lutjanidae family of snappers. It is also known as the Bluebanded Snapper, Fourline Snapper, Blue-Line Snapper, and Moonlighter.
The Common Bluestripe Snapper has an oval-shaped body with a steeply sloped head. The back and sides are bright-yellow, with the lower sides and underside of its head fading to white. It has four bright-blue longitudinal stripes. Its fins are yellow.
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What is a reef?
A reef is a ridge of rock or coral or similar material lying beneath the surface of natural water – usually ocean water.
A coral reef is in tropical ocean water.
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The Hawaiian Squirrelfish (Sargocentron xantherythrum) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Holocentridae family. It is also known as the Striped Squirrelfish.
The Hawaiian Squirrelfish is reddish in colour with thin white stipes running along its body. It has sharp gill spines and rough scales. It has a large mouth and large eyes.
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The Foxface Rabbitfish (Siganus vulpinus) is a tropical marine (saltwater) reef fish in the Siganidae family. It is also known as the Black-Face Rabbitfish or Common Foxface.
The Foxface Rabbitfish has a compressed vivid yellow body with a yellow tail. It has white on the head and front part of the body. There is a black band running backwards from its mouth, through its eye, and to the start of its dorsal (back) fin. It has a nose that looks like the nose of a fox.
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The Grey Bamboo Shark (Chiloscyllium griseum) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Hemiscyllidae family of carpet sharks. It is an elasmobranch cartilaginous fish — a fish that does not have a bony skeleton.
The Grey Bamboo Shark is brown with an elongated, cylindrical body. It has short barbels hanging from its mouth. It has a long tail.
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The Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus) is a small marine (saltwater) fish in the Labridae family of wrasse.
The Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse is a rectangular fish with a wide, long, black stripe on its side, from its eye to its tail. Its body is white. Its white body can change to bright electric blue.
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The Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray (Taeniura lymma) is a marine (saltwater) stingray in the Dasyatidae family of stingrays. It is also known as the Bluespotted Fantail Ray, the Bluespotted Stingray, or the Lagoon Ray.
The Bluespotted Ribbontail Ray has an oval-shaped disc with electric blue spots on a greyish-yellow coloured skin. The spots vary in size. It has a pair of blue stripes on its tail. It has large, bright-yellow, protruding eyes, a rounded snout (nose), and a short, thick tail. It is mainly smooth, except for a few small thorns in the middle of its back. Its belly is white.
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The Marine Goldfish (Anthias anthias) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Serranidae family of groupers and sea bass. It is also known as the Swallowtail Sea Perch.
The Marine Goldfish looks like a freshwater goldfish. Its solid colour varies from pink to red, and does not have blotches or markings. It has long fins and an asymmetrical ray-finned tail. Its pelvic fins are yellow but turn red in the breeding season.
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The Pennant Coralfish (Heniochus acuminatus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Chaetodontidae family of butterflyfish. It is also known as the Longfin Bannerfish, the Reef Bannerfish, or the Coachman.
The Pennant Coralfish is a laterally compressed black and white striped fish with a white elongated, trailing white filament. Its fins are yellow. Its head is white with black eyes. Its snout (nose) is spotted with black marks.
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The Devil’s Hand Coral (Lobophytum sp.) is a marine (saltwater) soft coral in the Alcyoniidae family of soft corals. It is also known as Devil’s Hand Leather Coral. It is not a plant.
The Devil’s Hand Coral is beige-brown. It looks like an open hand with its fingers pointing upwards. It is stiff, hard, and inflexible. It is made up of tiny polyps projecting from its leathery surface.
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The Falco Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys falco) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Cirrhitidae family. It is also called the Dwarf Hawkfish.
The Falco Hawkfish is pinkish-red and white with vertical bands. Its dorsal (back) fin has 10 spines with tassels, or fringes, on the tips of the spines.
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The Tomato Clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus) is a tropical marine (saltwater) fish in the Pomacentridae family of clownfish and damselfish. It is also known as the Blackback Anemonefish, Bridled Anemonefish, Fire Clown, or Red Tomato Clownfish.
The Tomato Clownfish has an oval-shaped, flat, compressed body. It is yellow and orange, or reddish, or blackish. Many have white bars or patches behind their eyes, with a black outline. The female is mainly blackish on her sides.
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