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
Did you know that the amount of plastic straws that are used in just a single day in the U.S. when lined up side by side could circle the globe 2 1/2 times?
A moment on our lips, a lifetime in the ocean. Once in the ocean, plastic straws are believed to persist for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, where they cause injury, illness, and death to wildlife.
The documentary STRAWS wraps up the sixth annual free “Ding” Darling Wednesday Film Series on April 4, at 1 p.m. in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center auditorium.
An official selection for film festivals around the world, STRAWS is a 30-minute documentary about plastic straw litter and how we can effect a sea of change – one straw at a time.
With colorful straw history animation and segments narrated by Oscar winner Tim Robbins, STRAWS leaves audiences with a clear understanding of the problems caused by plastic pollution and empowers individuals to be part of the solution.
This is the last of the seven-film series hosted by the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge this season.
Seating is free, but is limited and on a first-come basis. A short discussion will follow the film.
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.
One of our favorite annual events on the island for families, the 24th Annual Spring Festival for the Children’s Education Center of the Islands will be held on Saturday, March 31, 2018 from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Sanibel City Park (next to the Sanibel Community House).
The Festival begins with a free Easter Egg Hunt by age group at 9:00 a.m. sharp. The games, crafts and contests will begin immediately after and continue until 11:00 a.m.
A $10 armband will allow each child unlimited fun to participate in all activities. The festival fun will include pony and unicorn rides, a bounce house, giant slide, face painting, arts & crafts and much more.
Best of all, the Easter Bunny will make an appearance at 10:15 and will be available for free pictures!
The festival will also include a silent auction with over 60 baskets from which to choose.
The Children’s Education Center of the Islands is a non-profit preschool run by a parent board teaching children ages 12 months to 5 years old. The school relies on the support of the community. Proceeds from the Spring Festival will benefit the CECI Scholarship fund and capital improvements. All residents and visitors are welcome to attend.
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!