AIC Chair’s Report, February 2018: An update on 6 months of activities, actions and needs

by Kristine Bucchianeri, AIC Executive Director

39thUSCRTF_Chairs Report

USCRTF Co-chairs, Dr. Russell Callender (NOAA) and Marshall Critchfield (DOI), listen to the AIC Chair’s report, presented by AIC Chair Jean-Pierre Oriol (USVI)

The U.S. All Islands Coral Reef Committee (AIC) just finished up a highly productive week in Washington DC, participating in the 39th US Coral Ref Task Force Meeting and wanted to share with you some highlights of what has been happening since the AIC last met in August 2017.

Four of the AIC Jurisdictions were hit by hurricanes in the past 6 months, and are actively working on recovery efforts.  Florida continues to deal with an unprecedented coral disease outbreak. Despite this, advances were made in watersheds restoration efforts, in building resilience and educating more people about the essential services provided by coral reefs worldwide.

The AIC presented a new initiative last week, that will help ensure coral reefs thrive and continue to survive while facing continual threats from warming oceans, changing acidity, natural disasters and local stressors.  The AIC is moving forward with establishing resilient coral nurseries in each of the jurisdictions to build stronger local breeding stocks of corals, but also to build local capacity in the newest available technologies to help to preserve and protect this important ecosystem. More information on our Plan of Action will be coming soon.

39thUSCRTF_AIC Dinner

AIC Members, Advisers and invited guests had an informal dinner during the Task Force meeting.

Additionally strengthening federal-jurisdiction integration and partnerships, the Coral Reef Management Fellowship Program, and the reauthorization of Coral Reef Conservation Act (of 2000) remain top priorities.

Additionally, the AIC participated in some successful meetings on the USCRTF Watershed Partnership Initiative, a lively meeting of the Climate Change Working Group, and meetings with other essential partners to coral reef conservation efforts.

For more information and details, check out the newest AIC Chair’s  Report presented at the 39th USCRTF Meeting in Washington DC.  

from All Islands Coral Reef Blog


Liveaboards at Guadalupe Island Pay Less, Dive More!

As the best place in the world to cage dive with great white sharks, remote and pristine Guadalupe Island in Mexico offers cage diving amazing visibility, a four month shark season, and a better overall shark experience to other cage diving destinations. America’s Shark Boat based in San Diego, California offers more for less, come diving this year for an amazing all inclusive rate of just $2795!

About Guadalupe island Cage Diving

Cage divers and shark divers travel to the remote island of Guadalupe for one reason, diving with multiple great white sharks. Guadalupe happens to be one of the four places in the world where this is possible, and of all these destinations, this Mexican island boasts the clearest and warmest waters. While most of the diving here takes place within the confines of a professional shark cage, new rules and regulations prohibit out of cage diving with these magnificent predators. On America’s Shark Boat both certified divers and non-divers can participate. Located about 22 hours from the mainland, Guadalupe can only be reached by liveaboard. Typically, itineraries last 4 to 5 nights, and the best time to dive in Guadalupe is from June to November.

Guadalupe Island White Shark Research Expeditions

America’s Shark Boat is excited to announce several shark diving research cage diving expeditions in 2018. This is your chance to meet the stars of Shark Week and participate in shark research and shark conservation at Guadalupe Island!

Dr Craig O’Connell Shark Dates

Shark research is ongoing at Guadalupe Island, and this year we’ll be hosting Shark Weeks Dr. Craig O’Connell. You know him from Jungle Sharks, Sharks Among Us, Shark Island, Ninja Sharks and Great White Invasion to name a few fintastic shark programs. Dr O’Connell will be with us to share his knowledge of white sharks and shark research on: October 15th October 20th

Dr Chris Lowe Shark Lab Research Dates

We’ll also be hosting Shark Weeks Dr. Chris Lowe from Cal State Labs. We have worked with Dr. Lowe on may projects at Guadalupe Island, and this year he and his team will be back to unveil an exciting and groundbreaking project for the great white sharks: August 6-11 Our cage diving tours are small and intimate, ensuring extended diving time and complete safety for all our guests. We have our own boat and a highly skilled crew, and since we are not a booking agency, you’ll always know what to expect and who you will be dealing with. We never take any shortcuts – not when it comes to your safety, nor the safety and protection of the sharks. Let’s dive!

Reef Worlds Inc (, the leading sustainable underwater tourism development firm in the U.S. Designing and building experiential “Underwater Worlds” for the environment and select waterfront resort developments, cruise lines, and private island ownership.

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Guam Year of the Reef 2018 launches with two events in February

By AIC Guest Blogger: Whitney Hoot,  Coral Reef Resilience Coordinator, Bureau of Statistics and Plans, Government of Guam


Mr. Carl Dominguez, Director of BSP, Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio, Senator Louise B. Muña, and Guardians of the Reef participants point out just one of the many “Guardians” present at the proclamation signing on February 2nd. Credit: Whitney Hoot, Guam BSP

Guam Year of the Reef 2018 (GYOR) launched on February 2nd with a proclamation signing by Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio and presentation of a legislative resolution by Senator Louise B. Muña. Held outside at the Governor’s Complex in view of the reefs of East Agana Bay, the event was well attended, including over 100 participants from the Guardians of the Reef program, representing four local high schools. The “Guardians” are 11th and 12th grade students trained to teach 3rd graders about coral reef ecosystems. At the event, both students and adults declared their commitment to protecting coral reefs by signing the Reef Pledge.

On February 10th, the Guam Community Coral Reef Monitoring Program (GCCRMP) held the second Reef Exploration, Experiences, and Fun (REEF) Celebration. Over 1,300 community members have participated in this program by completing training to learn how to collect data and monitor the health of reef flat habitats. This event, which was supported by the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans (BSP) and NOAA, featured GCCRMP’s Adopt-a-Reef groups and showcased the efforts of local organizations such as the University of Guam’s Marine Lab, Micronesian Conservation Coalition, and Humatak Community Foundation.


Piti Pete, the orange-spine unicornfish (Naso lituratus), made a surprise appearance at the REEF Celebration on February 10th. Credit: Patrick Keeler, Guam BSP

Presentations emphasized that although Guam’s reefs have severely deteriorated, there is an important source of hope among the many dedicated citizens, natural resource managers, and community leaders who care deeply about Guam’s coral reefs. Attendees nodded their heads when viewing slides showing degraded reefs, demonstrating their awareness of the dire situation, but clapped enthusiastically as groups and individuals were recognized for their tireless efforts to conserve coral reefs. Ms. Val Brown, NOAA Fisheries, gave participants another reason to celebrate: GCCRMP is being renamed Friends of Reefs Guam (FOR Guam), as the program will be expanded to include activities outside of monitoring, such as coral reef restoration – another source of hope for Guam’s reefs.

More information on GYOR is available here: Updates will also be posted on the GYOR Facebook page (@GuamYearoftheReef2018) and Twitter account (@GuamYOR2018).GYOR2018 logo for AIC blog

from All Islands Coral Reef Blog

It’s International Year of the Reef!

At the 31st General Meeting (November 2016 in Paris, France), the International Coral Reef Initiative declared 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef.IYOR2018_Blue

What is International Year of the Reef (IYOR)?

IYOR is a global effort to increase awareness and understanding on the values and threats to coral reefs and to support related conservation, research and management efforts.  During the last IYOR in 2008, more than 630 events were organized in over 65 countries and territories around the world!

What is the focus of #IYOR2018?

The ICRI is encouraging all members and partners to:

  • strengthen awareness globally about the value of, and threats to, coral reefs and associated ecosystems;
  • promote partnerships between governments, the private sector, academia and civil society on the management of coral reefs;
  • identify and implement effective management strategies for conservation, increased resiliency and sustainable use of these ecosystems and promoting best practices; and
  • share information on best practices in relation to sustainable coral reef management.

What can I do to support #IYOR2018?

  • Keep an eye on the AIC Facebook page. We’ll be posting events throughout the US and updates on ways to get involved.
  • Follow @IYOR2018 on Facebook or twitter to stay up to date on International Efforts
  • Reach out to your favorite Coral Reef organization and see what they have planned.
  • Or host an event to raise awareness among your friends. Some ideas to get you started:

from All Islands Coral Reef Blog

Top down photos with a smartphone


I recently shipped out a Smartphone Floater to a customer that has a Samsung Note8 phone. His immediate concern was that he was going to flood the box and ruin his phone.  I’ve been making a type of floater box for iPhones for the past six years or more.  I’m sure in that time, someone has had an accident and got water inside the box because not everyone is perfect.  That being said, I’ve never had that problem. I put the phone in the box, place it on the surface of the water and hold it where I want to take a picture.

Today I made a quick video about it for youtube.

And here’s a video I shot back in 2011 over my 400g.

Then I thought, lemme take some quick pictures with my iPhone 7 Plus in that same floater box you saw in the first video.  These were resized to fit the website, and I did adjust the colors a bit in Lightroom so it would be a little less blue. This first picture is a close up of a Montipora sp, called Sunset Monti.

The Milka coral is purple, so under blue lights this is about as good as it gets with a cellphone camera and no filter.

Below is a Pavona. I’ve had pavona in my reefs for over 10 years. It’s also called a Cactus coral.

I wish this picture was better. The oranges were popping so hard, but I think the sand muted the shot. More of the sunset monti in the lower left corner.

The Sebae anemone with some of the Skunks.

A large colony of Sunset montipora.

My lobophyllia looks blue-grey from above.  It looks so different from the side, you’d never believe it can be this color.

Below is the Lime In The Sky acropora. Green with bright blue tips, hard to capture with a smartphone camera and no gel filter.

Some Darth Maul palys peek out from under a Hammer coral.

A bunch of tiny new branches of Melev’s Shadowcaster acro bursting out of a puddle of DNA. 🙂

Below, the pink and green coral is one of two Drew’s Acros in my reef. The bright green coral is a Porites.

This green Favia brain coral (below) is a very slow grower, I’ve had it for years. Got it from Duane when visiting him once.

These are pink and green Blastomussa coral polyps.

This is an Elkhorn montipora I got from Duane.

Some brown birdsnest with blue-ish polyps.

A red acropora from Duane is growing nicely.

Two more acropora, including the Blue Tort (left).

Milka colony from above.

The other Drew’s acro.

This tiny twig is green skinned like the Orion Slave girl from Star Trek.  We’re calling it the Joanie Brosas coral. lol

And a closeup of the branches of Melev’s Shadowcaster acro.

So that’s it. I took all these pictures in about 5 minutes in that floater box, and didn’t use any gels. Some light editing in Lightroom to prep them so I could share them with you. I’d be cautious when doing top down photography, but you could say that about any DSLR brand on the market as well. Be smart, be careful, and show us your pretty reefs.

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from Melev’s Reef blogs

The Reef Trace App is here!


The iOS version of Reef Trace has been out for a few weeks. The Android version comes out next, work starts on it next month. Reef Trace has partnered with Melev’s Reef, and provides you with some really cool features. It’s $8.99 in the App store.

Track your water test results, and share them easily via social media right from the app. Water testing videos are being included within the app, which falls to me to complete. I’ve already done the ELOS test kit videos. The instructions and color cards are in the app, safely always accessible. Your data is stored in the cloud, and the app works on all iOS devices. You can track multiple tanks with the single app, which is great for those maintenance accounts. I need to add my water parms from tonight, so I can start to get some really nice graphing going.

Water testing videos and written instructions are included within the app. I’m filming these as I get more kit brands. I’ve already done the ELOS test kit videos. 

The LFS locator finds stores within 45 miles of your location, and you can move the target to other areas to see what stores are near that spot. 

Below, I moved it toward San Antonio to see what stores it would find. You can also let Reef Trace know what stores are out there, especially if you notice one is missing.

Critter ID is built into the app, so you can visually explore the things we find at the LFS or in our aquariums. 

Plaza is still evolving, showing livestock and drygoods available in your area.

TDS measurements allow us to aggregate what our water measures across the nation, seeing how our source water is doing. I’d like to see us add our measurements quarterly, if not monthly. Let’s watch the trends and see things develop.

Next for the app will be the ability to track PAR measurements. We want to learn what PAR numbers you are getting under the light fixtures you’ve purchased, and again we can see how things average across the nation. Let’s get some baselines figured out — measure right under the light at 0″ (surface of water), 6″, 12″, 18″ and 24″ , and what fixture you have. Then we can begin to share what corals are thriving at what PAR measurement. As 1000s add their data, we’ll be able to learn what coral does best at, and place our livestock in the prime locations for ideal results. I’m super excited about this, an idea I suggested four years ago during my MACNA talk. It’s finally something we can do, pooling our collective and sharing our results. I love this!

Grab your app, and get involved. Click the image below to go to the app store.

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from Melev’s Reef blogs

This view never gets old


Each day when I roll out of bed, the first thing to greet me is my reef. The actinics are on, and I get a nice view to start my day. As I work in my office, this is my view. Of course, I refill my coffee cup repeatedly, so I also get to check on all the anemones and clowns. And Dory of course. She’s at the bottom in this picture, at 7 o’clock.

My schedule is different from most people because I’m naturally nocturnal. I tend to get up at the crack of noon, which is why you see me online late at night so often. I get a lot done when people are sleeping – that’s been true for decades. lol

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from Melev’s Reef blogs