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Home / Science / "Saving Nemo": How Australian Schools Protect the Clownfish | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF television

"Saving Nemo": How Australian Schools Protect the Clownfish | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF television



The modest clownfish is smaller than a human fist. But when a diver approaches his underwater house, between the tentacles of a sea anemone on the coral reefs of the world, the little orange creature rises and takes a violent protective stance.

"They are quite aggressive fish," says Karen Burke da Silva, marine biologist at Flinders University, Australia

"When you come close to a clownfish, he will come out of his anemone and try to bite you … that makes no sense."

Despite its The Clownfish is one of the easiest recognized coral reef inhabitants.

The orange-and-white striped species became famous through the 2003 popular animated film "Finding Nemo". The film tells the story of an adult clown fish in search of his son Nemo after a diver captures him from the wild. But his box office success had some unintended consequences.

Overfishing Threat

Da Silva says that the movie has triggered an increasing demand for pet clown fish.

"The film shows a very different message, not to get Nemo out of the sea." And yet people reacted quite differently, "she says.

" The places where these fish were caught actually came from the wilderness, "she explains, adding that overfishing has resulted in some extinct places.

Clown fish at a pet shop in Caracas, Oct. 6, 2010. (MIGUEL GUTIERREZ / AFP / Getty Images)

Da Silva's Co-founder of an initiative called "Saving Nemo." It partners with schools to promote clownfish conservation and educate students about marine habitats.

Students volunteer to breed baby clown fish at the Belgian Gardens Primary School in Townsville, Australia. [19659002] "We breed them so that we can breed fish for people Who wants clownfish? So you do not have to take them out of the wilderness, "explains eleven-year-old Imogen Everson

She and her classmates clean tanks, breed the Artemia or sea monkeys feeding clown fish, and monitor growth (19659002) In one of the tanks she recognizes a small cluster of bubbles lining the inside of a clay pot.They are clown fish eggs.

"The father, the smaller clownfish, always checks them … and gives them oxygen," says Everson. [19659002] Ryan Pedley, the school's director, says captive-bred clownfish "We're another way to immerse our students in reef ecology," says Pedley.

"The kids do not really have to visit the reef. They can do their part by breeding clown fish in captivity and donating them to the fish shops.

Dying coral reef

Marine biologists say the clownfish has been confronted with a fish in recent years A new, potentially more destructive challenge: Climate change

Rising temperatures around the globe lead to fading and fading Killing the coral reefs and sea anemones with which clown fish share a symbiotic relationship.

Indeed, in 2016 and 2017, successive heatwaves killed about half of the coral at the Australian Great Barrier Reef, the largest reef habitat in the world. [19659002] "If [clownfish] can not find a sea anemone calling home and shelter, we could see this population die," says Jodie Rummer, a marine biologist at James Cook University.

Rummer's research has found that When sea temperatures rise between 1.5 and 3 degrees Celsius, coral reef fish lose between 40 to 70% of their power (19659002) According to the scientific consensus, global temperatures today are about 1 degree warmer than in the pre-industrial era of the late 19th century. Scientific organizations such as NASA predict that the planet will continue to warm in the coming decades as a result of rising carbon dioxide emissions.

Rummer argues that clown fish and other marine species are likely to need more drastic help than school breeding programs.

The way to protect it is a really, really big solution: it means ending our dependence on fossil fuels, which are directly related to the warming of the oceans, "she says.

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