Thursday, September 3, 2015


THE OLDEST rain forest on earth

Executive summary by darmansjah

BORNEO The tropical rain forest dos not get any rainier than on the island of Borneo. Covering hundreds of thousands of square miles across the borders of Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, Borneo’s rain forest is pounded by up to 160 inches (406 cm) of monsoon per year. The montane and lowland forests protect a dizzying array of plants and animals, including orangutans, pygmy elephants, and the Sumatran rhinoceros. A single dipterocarp tree can host 1,000 kinds of insects. And the count has just begun. Since 2007, more than 120 new species have been found, among them the world’s longest insect (a stick insect 1.6 feet, or 0.5 m, long) and a colourful ‘ninja slug’ that shoots hormonal darts into its mate.

HONK IF YOU LOVE HORNBILLS More than 380 birds species make their homes in Borneo’s rich rain forests. One of the most spectacular is the rhinoceros hornbill, whose colourful casque, a hollow keratin structure on its bill, amplifies its harsh honking call.

TAKING THE LEAP An infant holds tight as a proboscis monkey leaps toward a  hanging vine. The endangered monkeys are one of 13 primate species found on Borneo, ranging from orangutans to slow lorises.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Great Barrier Reef

World’s largest grouping of reefs

Executive summary by darmansjah

AUSTRALIA Stretching for 1,250 miles (2,012 km) along the coast of Queensland, Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest grouping of coral reefs. At least 2,900 individual reefs, along with some 300 islets and 600 continental islands, are sprinkled across an area of ocean larger than Great Britain.

This massive reef is all made of and by tiny, simple organisms. Coral polyps are tentacle animals with protective limestone skeletons. Dead corals build up over millions of generations into reefs. Only the colorful, topmost layer is alive. The 400 coral species of the Great Barrier Reef underpin an ecosystem that includes at least 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 species of mollusks, and 240 species of birds.

LIVING COLOR A rainbow of coral greets a diving marine scientist on the Great Barrier Reef. Living coral animals make up only the top layer of the reef; beneath them are millions of years’ worth of skeletal coral remains.

INFINITE VARIETY The reef is home to the quick and the dead, including shipwrecks, crescent-tailed bigeyes, humphead warsse, and broccoli coral.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Kelp Forests

Executive summary by darmansjah

A giant kelp can live up to seven years

CALIFORNA Layered like terrestrial rain forests ,from their swaying canopies to their shadowed floors, the giant kelp forest of the California coast are among the  world’s richest ecosystems. Cold, nutrient-rich waters feed the underwater forests, which consist mainly of two kinds of brown macroalgae; giant kelp and bull kelp. Each plant is anchored to rock by gripping holdfasts and held upright by gas bladders. They grow prodigiously-giant kelp can gain 18 inches (45 cm) a day-but they need light to do so and thus are not found below about 100 feet (30 m). waving in the coastal currents, kelp forests shelter a variety of sea life, from snails and sea urchins to rockfish, sea otters, seals, and whales.

SAFE HARBOR A harbor seal curls through strands of kelp. Many marine mammals, including whales, sea lions, and sea otters, find prey and take shelter from storms in kelp forests.

A LIGHT in the FOREST In turquoise light, a diver explore a kelp forest off Anacapa Island, California. Like land plants, giant kelp need light to grow and so are found only in relatively shallow waters.

FLOTATION DEVICES Kelp plants would be bottom-crawling vines were it not for their pneumatocystst, gas bladders that hold them upright. Giant kelp have one bladder at the base of each blade; bull kelp have a single pneumatocyst near the top of each plant

Kelp forests are underwater areas with a high density of kelp. They are recognized as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on Earth.Smaller areas of anchored kelp are called kelp beds.

Kelp forests occur worldwide throughout temperate and polar coastal oceans. In 2007, kelp forests were also discovered in tropical waters near Ecuador.

Physically formed by brown macroalgae of the order Laminariales, kelp forests provide a unique three-dimensional habitat for marine organisms and are a source for understanding many ecological processes. Over the last century, they have been the focus of extensive research, particularly in trophic ecology, and continue to provoke important ideas that are relevant beyond this unique ecosystem. For example, kelp forests can influence coastal oceanographic patterns and provide many ecosystem services.

However, the influence of humans has often contributed to kelp forest degradation. Of particular concern are the effects of overfishing nearshore ecosystems, which can release herbivores from their normal population regulation and result in the over-grazing of kelp and other algae. This can rapidly result in transitions to barren landscapes where relatively few species persist. The implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs) is one management strategy useful for addressing such issues since it may limit the impacts of fishing and buffer the ecosystem from additive effects of other environmental stressors