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moray eel-770The Green Moray Eel, Gymnothorax funebris, is one of the largest members of the Eel family (Muraenidae). Its body has a maximum length in the wild of nearly eight feet with velvety-smooth sheens of green, yellow, and brown. Largely a nocturnal feeder, the Green Moray Eel will only be visible during the day when peering out from, under, or between some type of rock or protected structure. In the above photograph, this green moray eel has claimed the wreck of the Sea Emperor (an intentionally sunk barge serving as an artificial reef) as its home.

This photograph was taken during a research dive in Boca Raton, Florida, USA by CERF Vice-President, Chris Makowski ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

nullabor cliffs-770The Nullabor cliffs form the 800 km long southern boundary of the Nullabor Plain a 250 000 km2 Miocene seabed uplifted 3 Ma. The 60-120 m high cliffs commence at Head of (the Great Australian) Bight in South Australia and extend west as the Bunda Cliffs for 210 km. They then move inland as the Hampton Bluffs for 300 km fronted by an emerged seafloor called the Roe Plain, before reaching the coast again at Twilight Cove. From here they extend southwest for 160 km as the Baxter Cliffs, before heading inland again as the Wylie Scarp for 120 km, at total cliffline of 790 km, possibly the longest in the world. The lower white Wilson Bluff limestone is Oligo-Miocene and chalky in texture, while the upper red Nullabor limestone is mid-Miocene and is harder, crystalline and contains flints. The flints were collected by the local aborigines and traded throughout central Australia. Much of the cliffline and backing coast is part of the Nullabor National Park in South Australia and Nuytsland Nature Reserve in Western Australia. Extensive caves underlie the porous plain and no surface water exists along this entire section. It is essentially uninhabited, apart from occasional roadhouse on the Eyre Highway, which parallel part of the coast a few kilometers inland. The highway is named after John Eyre the first European to traverse this entire coast, with extreme difficulty, in 1840-41.

The figure above shows a typical section of 90 m high Bunda Cliffs, with the white Wilsons Bluff limestone overlain by the red Nullabor limestone. This photo was taken October 2010 by Andrew D. Short, Coastal Studies Unit, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

turtle-770In the Pacific Ocean, green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) have an enormous range that can reach as far north as the southern coast of Alaska and as far south as the remote reaches of Tasmania. However, in Hawaii, a distinct subpopulation of Pacific green turtle exists. Their range has been shown to be very precise, as they travel some 600 kilometers to the northwest in order to nest at the protected French Frigate Shoals, the largest atoll in the Leeward Hawaiian Islands. They then return to the Southeastern Windward Hawaiian Islands to forage among the shallow, productive reefs of the archipelago.

The Turtle Arches Reef off the southern coast of Maui is a well-utilized coastal foraging ground among Pacific green turtles. A unique characteristic of this reef is the abundance of coral and benthic vegetative growth superposed upon submerged lava flows, tubes, and arches. This is an important feature because green turtles are herbivores and require a high proliferation of either benthic algae or seagrass. In addition to supplying the green turtles with food resources, underwater lava flows, like those pictured at Turtle Arches Reef, have been geologically formed to offer sea turtles adequate resting sites and refuge areas.

This photograph was shot during a research dive on Turtle Arches Reef along the island of Maui, Hawaii, USA, by CERF Vice-President, Chris Makowski ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

toolinna cove-770Toolinna Cove midway along the 160 km long Baxter Cliffs is the only 'beach' on wave exposed cliff faces within this area. The rip-dominated beach can only be accessed by a series of ropes down the shear cliff-face. In the 1870's it was used to unload material for the Overland Telegraph Line that ran along the top of the cliffs and until the late 1990's fishermen operated a windlass to access the beach from the cliffs. This photo was taken October 2010 by Andrew D. Short, Coastal Studies Unit, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

talia cave1-770Talia Cave in South Australia has formed along a joint in the basement 1550 million year old Mesoproterozoic sandstone. The red sandstone is capped by 20 m of Pleistocene dune calcarenite that form the walls and roof. Waves break over rocks seaward of the cave mouth and surge up the gully (above figure) to dissipate on a boulder beach at the rear of the 50 m long cave (below figure). This photo was taken October 2010 by Andrew D. Short, Coastal Studies Unit, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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