Rod Salm

Dr. Rod Salm was raised in Mozambique and has focused his study on coral reefs and how climate change, ocean acidification, and unsustainable practices are destroying them. He is the author of Marine and Coastal Protected Areas: A Guide for Planners and Managers. Dr. Salm leads marine conservation in the Asia Pacific Region for The Nature Conservancy and was crucial in the development of the Conservancy’s Global Marine Initiative. He currently resides in Honolulu and is working with teams of scientists in creating responses to the threats that the coral reefs are facing. Dr. Salm has published more than 170 articles and 6 books on marine ecology, taxonomy, resource management, conservation, and popular natural history.


Rod's Posts

CSI: Sea Turtle Unit

Where do turtles nest? What species nest there? Are their eggs harvested by people and predators? Are they vulnerable to sea level rise? Marine biologist Rod Salm follows the tracks in the sand to answer these and other questions.

Posted In: Marine, Sea Turtles
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The Life and Death of a Majestic Old Coral

In July, I introduced via The Nature Conservancy’s photo of the month what may then have been the world’s largest living table coral (pictured above).

I found it on a reef in Nusa Laut, Indonesia. I also indicated that the coral felt like an old friend to me and that I would develop a knot in my stomach on visiting the reef in anticipation of finding my “old friend” dead or damaged.

Table corals are not as long lived as some of their massive boulder forming community members.

The reason is that table corals grow by dividing horizontally away from the center after reaching a certain thickness.

The central polyps stop dividing vertically and eventually get old and die from natural senescence. The center of any very large table coral colony usually is dead.

Massive corals on the other hand, like some we’ve seen in our Indo-Pacific seas, may be hundreds to over a thousand years old.

These corals grow by dividing vertically and thus are constantly renewing themselves as they grow upwards and outwards.

Table corals are also vulnerable to toppling by storm surges and breakage of their narrow pedestals when shaken by earthquakes and tremors in seismically active areas like those in the West Pacific and Coral Triangle.

How these corals respond to the stress of being shaken and toppled is a great indicator of their resilience. Some simply give up and die. Other more resilient ones seem to shrug off the stress and reorient their plane of growth, contributing dramatic new architecture to the reef community.

I exhorted friends who visited the Nusa Laut reef in November last year to measure the majestic table coral precisely and report on its well-being.

The news wasn’t good.

Posted In: Coral Reefs, Science
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Salmon Cam Returns

We’re pleased to return Salmon Cam, a live view of spawning Chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout.

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