Coral reefs are one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world and worth more than $6 billion to the state of Florida alone. Corals, however, are dying at an unprecedented rate because of global and local threats such as climate change, ocean acidification, and disease outbreaks.
Mote Marine Laboratory scientist Dr. Erinn M. Muller aims to understand how these threats are impacting reefs around the world and identify corals that are resilient to the stressors.
On Friday, April 6, she will be presenting two free programs titled “Coral Restoration” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., part of the 2018 “Ding” Darling Lecture Series at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.
The staff scientist and program manager of the Coral Health and Disease Program at Mote Marine in Sarasota, Fla., earned her doctorate in biology from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla., studying “Spatial and temporal dynamics of coral disease in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.”
Dr. Muller has written numerous published papers on coral bleaching and disease and has won several awards for her work, including the International Society for Reef Studies Young Scientist of the Year Award in 2015.
Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis.
As usual, Wildlife Drive closes on Friday, but visitors are welcome to enjoy the free Visitor & Education Center, Indigo Trail, and recreational opportunities at Tarpon Bay Explorers, the refuge’s official recreation concession located at its Tarpon Bay Recreation Area.
For more information, call 1-239-472-1100, ext. 241 or log on to dingdarlingsociety.org/articles/lecture-and-film-series.
Grabbing a few shots from Andy’s camera to share with you today!
He was all excited after his latest visit to The Dunes, where he saw hundreds of Lesser Scaups, a rare sight indeed. From everyone he talked to, the consensus was that it might have been the first time that species had ever been seen there.
Fun fact from The Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
The Lesser Scaup spend the winter farther south than any other diving duck in their genus (Aythya) — some go as far south as Central America and the Caribbean.
We know of at least one bird lover who was certainly glad these fellas made a pit stop on Sanibel!
“Count your rainbows. Not your thunderstorms.”
– Alyssa Knight
Should you have any photos you’d like to share, please email them to Dina@OceansReach.com.
Today’s Guest Photographer: Barbra Philips
On Thursday, April 5, the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS) will host a free “Meet the Artist” reception for bird photographer David Jeffrey.
Jeffrey, a talented amateur photographer who winters on Captiva Island, became seriously interested in bird photography in 2010, after retiring from a career in finance. The self-taught photographer took inspiration from Arthur Morris, author of The Art of Bird Photography.
“I feel a deep connection with the birds I photograph,” said Jeffrey, who lives in Massachusetts, but photographs regularly at the refuge. “I am particularly pleased if the bird is catching food, trying to attract a mate, building a nest, feeding its young, or trying to frighten off a potential rival…. I am also fond of the portrait-like quality of one or two birds expressing absolute peace. I feel that peace when I photograph them.”
Jeffrey is currently exhibiting 30 bird images at the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center Auditorium through April 30, 2018. The public is welcome to view Jeffrey’s images, about half of which he shot at “Ding” Darling, in the admission-free Visitor & Education Center during regular hours, daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The “Meet the Artist” reception on April 5th is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon.
Now this is certainly unusual!
Longtime guest Don. P. from Farmington Hills, MI, who found a rare Junonia during his visit here last year, shares this photo along with the story of finding this most unique-looking shell:
I found this shell while at Ocean’s Reach last year, after I had found the Junonia shell. I thought it was covered with something that had attached itself to the shell. I tried to scrape it off, but it wouldn’t come off.
I then tried soaking it in bleach water, as that takes off almost everything that “sticks” to shells. That didn’t work either. I was about ready to throw it away, when I decided to see what kind of shell was under all the “stuff” stuck to it, as it had a pretty shape.
To my amazement, when I googled “hairy shells” it turned out that it is the hairy version of a Triton shell. It is called a Hairy Triton and the “hair” is naturally occurring on the shell.
In my 25 years or so of shelling on Sanibel, I had never seen one. To me it’s as unique a find as the Junonia, but now that I know what to look for, maybe I’ll find more on our next visit!
Looking forward to our next visit … can’t wait … it’s been a long winter in Michigan!
As always, we love hearing from you, Don, and look forward to your next visit, too. We’ll have the sunshine ready and waiting for you, and hopefully another unique shell find, too!
Many of our friends are “hooked” on fishing! We certainly can’t blame them, as the waters around Sanibel are ideal for casting a line.
Owner Bob. G. shared this photo of a recent fishing excursion in which he caught a nice-sized permit. Now Bob is too modest to mention it, but many anglers regard the permit as one of the most difficult gamefish to catch.
In “The Definitive Guide to Permit Fishing,” Joel Brothers writes:
“The elusive Permit has been called ‘the grey ghost of the flats,’ and has frustrated more anglers than possibly any other fish, anywhere in the world. Along with Tarpon and Bonefish, they comprise “The Big Three” of flats fishing. Permit fishing is the most difficult type of fishing you will ever do. With eyes of a hawk, unbelievable hearing, and a sense of smell that would make a bloodhound cry, Permit are definitely one of the most difficult fish to catch, fresh or salt water.”
Congratulations, Bob — Great catch!
Of course, we’re talking about your wife, Judy, you lucky guy. But the permit’s pretty nice, too.