Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Do not touch wildlife. Avoiding wildlife is safer for you and better for
the wildlife. Some marine animals have a protective coating that is rubbed off
when touched, exposing them to parasites and infection. Touching
or "playing" with them also stresses the animal.
Coral are marine animals. Take care when snorkeling or scuba diving and
avoid touching, grabbing, or accidentally grazing the coral with your fins. The
portion of the coral that is touched will die.
Do not take marine animals out of the ocean for any reason. This also
stresses the animal.
When taking pictures underwater, do not touch the animals. Do not lean
or hold onto coral or other underwater structures while trying to "get a
good picture." Remember, touching coral in any way damages it, and the
portion damaged will die.
Secure "dangling gear" that may damage the reef. Secure the secondary air
source, computer console, flashlights, or any other gear that may come into
contact with coral and other marine life.
If you witness someone abusing a
marine animal, contact the authorities if the information is available. There
are many reefs that are under marine law protection (for example, the island of
Bonaire) and have organizations to protect the animals.
You are in their environment and world. Respect marine life as a living
being and take only pictures, and leave only bubbles.