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What is the coral crisis about?

We are at a critical stage in coral endangerment. Some predict that most corals will be gone by 2050. Reef ecosystems are the most genetically diverse on the planet, providing habitat for more the 25 percent of marine species.

It’s important to know corals are not rocks, but complex organisms: invertebrate animals with a symbiotic algae partner giving them their brilliant colors and providing them food through photosynthesis. Coral polyps feed at night also, but they rely on this plant partner to survive. When the temperature rises 1 degree Celsius higher than the hottest yearly average, corals are at risk of dispelling their algae partners — a process known as bleaching.

Corals are also at risk of damage from pollution, poor fishing practices, tourism, and ocean acidification, which weakens corals’ ability to build its exoskeleton with calcium carbonate.

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Eco-entrepreneur Alasdair Harris is passionate about conserving marine biodiversity, and he’s doing it in unusual ways. While most marine conservationists focus on what’s in the water, Harris’ company Blue Ventures works with people in poverty-stricken coastal communities to engage them in rebuilding tropical fisheries and in the process of protecting both their ecosystems and livelihoods. The company’s approach: eco-tourism.

We spoke to Harris about why humanity’s marine conservation efforts to date haven’t worked — and his vision to change that.

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Four muscular Navy divers, all volunteers, file carefully through the first two interlocking pressure chambers on their way to "Charlie" chamber. From there they will climb down into a cylindrical, water-filled chamber — large enough to house a school bus — that constitutes the base of the U.S. Navy Experimental Diving Unit's (NEDU) Ocean Simulation Facility.

The divers, each designated by a number for the purpose of the experiment, wear Navy Mark 16 (MK-16) closed-circuit rebreathers equipped with full-face masks. The rebreathers are charged with either trimix 12/44 (12 percent oxygen, 44 percent helium, 44 percent nitrogen) or heliox 12/88 (12 percent oxygen, 88 percent helium) — the divers haven't been told which mixture they have.

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Written by DAN Staff

In the first metre/three feet of a descent, your ears experience 10 percent greater pressure than they did at the surface. At two metres/six feet that percentage doubles, and at three metres/10 feet, there’s enough pressure differential to rupture ear drums, or burst blood vessels and draw fluid and blood into the inner ear.

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Climate change is predicted to cause a series of maladies for world oceans including heating up, acidification, and the loss of oxygen. A newly published study published online in the April 24 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled, "Ocean warming since 1982 has expanded the niche of toxic algal blooms in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans," demonstrates that one ocean consequence of climate change that has already occurred is the spread and intensification of toxic algae.

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U/W Bike Race

eventsiconJoin us on July 4th for this annual event benefitting the Children's Mile of Hope.

Lionfish Tournament

eventsiconWe need your help to make Carteret County's 5th Annual "If you Can't Beat 'em, Eat 'em" Spearfishing Tournament a success! This Tournament is a joint effort between Discovery Diving and Eastern Carolina Artificial Reef Association (ECARA).

Treasure Hunt

eventsiconFood, prizes, diving, and fun! Proceeds benefit the Mile Hope Children's Cancer Fund and DAN's research in diving safety.

ECARA Event

2013Join us June 3rd, 2017 in support of the East Carolina Artificial Reef Association.  Click here for more info on this great event and how you can help to bring more Wrecks to the Graveyard of the Atlantic.