Ocean-science

400-year-old Greenland shark is the oldest vertebrate animal

She was born during the reign of James I, was a youngster when René Descartes set out his rules of thought and the great fire of London raged, saw out her adolescent years as George II ascended the throne, reached adulthood around the time that the American revolution kicked off, and lived through two world wars. Living to an estimated age of nearly 400 years, a female Greenland shark has set a new record for longevity, scientists have revealed.

And you’ll never guess how old she has to be before reaching sexual maturity…

Read more about this discovery >>>

Photograph: Paul Nicklen/National Geographic Creative/Getty Images

smithsonianmag.com
Canadian Scientists Explain Exactly How Their Government Silenced Science
It wasn’t just climate research. Rock snot, sharks and polar bears: All were off-limits during the Harper administration
By Joshua Rapp Learn

“A survivor’s guide to being a muzzled scientist.”  

Get a personal e-mail address, start your own blog and make sure there are multiple copies of your datasets. “Get anonymous, get online. Let people know what’s going on,“ Rennie says. “Folks that are in academia, that have tenure, that have a bit more job security and have more of an ability to speak their mind can help those in the public service that are challenged with these situations.”

“Disservice is too mild a word” to describe the effect of this muzzling, says Steven Campana, a shark scientist who spent 32 years working for Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans:

 “It’s a cheat for the taxpaying public because it’s the taxpaying public that is funding this government research. When that research leads to very positive things, or even if it’s negative, the people that paid for it deserve to hear about it.”

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

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closely related to sharks but with long, flat bodies and wing-like pectoral fins, mobula rays are ideally suited to swooping through the water - here off the gulf of california - yet seem equally at home in the air, so much so that they have earned the name “flying rays”. mobula rays can reach heights of more than two metres, remaining airborne for several seconds. 

mobula rays are quite elusive and difficult to study, so biologists are not quite sure why they jump out of the water. theories vary from a means of communication, to a mating ritual (though both males and females jump), or as a way to shed themselves of parasites. they could also be jumping as a way of better corralling their pray, as seen with them swimming in a circular formation. 

what is known about mobula rays is that they reach sexual maturity late and their investment in their offspring is more akin to mammals than other fishes, usually producing just a single pup after long pregnancies, all of which makes them extremely vulnerable to commercial fishing, especially as a species that likes to come together in large groups.

Approximately 95% of the Earth’s oceans are unseen by human eyes with 99% of the ocean floor being unexplored so it’s no surprise that new creatures are always being discovered, such a this “ghost octopus” which was discovered in 27 February, 2016. This cute little creature was discovered by a U.S. rover named Deep Discoverer 2.6 miles below the surface. 

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“This octopus was NOT impressed when I interrupted its morning feeding stroll during my scuba dive in Melbourne, Australia. It blew itself up like a parachute multiple times to try to intimidate me, before trying to torpedo me like a bowling ball! Octopuses are beautiful, intelligent creatures and this one was using its most creative methods of self defense. Or maybe it was just hungry and angry at the same time (= hangry?)

A group of amateur cave explorers discovered a river in Mexico with banks, trees and leaves just like an ordinary river, but with an additional metric shit ton of “WTF,” because they were hovering 25 feet over it in scuba gear when they discovered it.

While underwater water doesn’t seem possible, the “river” is actually a briny mix of salt water and hydrogen sulfide. It’s much more dense than regular salt water, so it sinks to the bottom and forms a distinct separation that acts and flows like a river.

In addition to giving scuba divers the distinct feeling that they’re flying through a landscape painting, the underwater river allows them to snap mind-blowing pictures like the one you’re looking at taken by Anatoly Beloshchin.

Unfortunately, hydrogen sulfide is extremely toxic, so the chances of the above scuba diver pulling in some sort of meta-fish aren’t great. However, there is an underwater body of water on the abyssal plain (the part out past the continental shelf where the ocean floor starts to make shit real) that is teeming with life. Deep sea lakes look like normal lakes, complete with sandy and rocky shores. Scientist call these lakes “cold seeps,” but they’re a hotbed for life, because apparently waterfront real estate is a hot commodity under water, too. The “rocky” shores are actually made up of hundreds of thousands of mussels.

The 5 Most Mind-Blowing Things That Can Be Found Underwater

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A large colony of garden eels sway and feed in the gentle currents off Dumaguete Philippines. Garden eels are extremely shy and harmless members of the conger eel family. They live in burrows on the sea floor and are very social creatures that form large colonies. The currents deliver a a continuous passing supply of plankton allowing the eels to feed in the comfort and safety of their sandy home. As our team approached this giant colony they quickly vanished into their burrows as if they never existed. I find these colonies to be hypnotic living gardens in the sea. Thank you to Leandro Blanco for video support. On assignment for @natgeo Philippines, Inside the Coral Triangle.
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