The ocean looks blue because water absorbs longer-wavelength colors of light more strongly than it does blue. When the sun’s white light enters the ocean, red/orange/yellow light dissipates quickly, and mostly blues remain. That’s why divers stop seeing reds around depths of 20 feet, but blues last until it’s too dark to see. Source Source 2


Traditionally, ice mass loss in the Antarctic is attributed to “calving”- a process where huge chunks of an ice shelf break from the continent and become what we call icebergs.

However, new research suggests that the huge losses of ice mass in Antarctica are due to something else – warming waters beneath the ice shelves.

Keep reading

A mother and calf humpback whale glide through the surface waters in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

After a nearly 12-month gestation period, a female humpback whale gives birth to a single calf that she closely nurtures and feeds for six to 10 more months.

While humans consume milk that is about two percent fat, the milk humpback whale moms provide to their calves is 45 to 60 percent fat! This rich milk helps calves grow and develop as their mothers lead them through the first months of life.

image: J. Moore/NOAA, under NOAA Permit #15240

(via: NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries)

Whale sharks now listed as endangered

In a news release earlier this month, the IUCN revealed that increasing anthropogenic pressures (such as fishing and boat strikes) have caused the rapid decline of whale shark populations and that they should now be considered as endangered. 

Originally posted by b3n3aththesurfac3

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species. The IUCN Red List evaluates the extinction risk of thousands of species based on a precise set of criteria, and the resulting evaluation aims to convey the urgency of conservation of a species to the public and policy makers.

Previously, whale sharks were ‘vulnerable’ to extinction, but their status has now been updated to ‘endangered.’ Their numbers have more than halved over the last 75 years as these sharks continue to be fished and killed by ship propellers.

Dr. Simon Pierce and Dr. Brad Norman, two prominent whale shark scientists have spent decades studying the animals and have co-authored the assessment that led to IUCN’s update.

“In our recent assessment, it was established that numbers have decreased more than 50 per cent in three generations – which we estimate to be about 75 years,” Norman explained. “The numbers on a global scale are really concerning.”

The main stressor to these gentle giants is the intense fishing pressure in several countries, including China and Oman, especially for shark-fin soup. Some other nations such as India, the Philippines and Taiwan have started implementing conservation plans and have ended large-scale fishing of whale sharks. While these efforts are admirable, it is now really important to push for more regional protection in these countries and to push other countries to try to save this species.

Originally posted by ijustlovesharks

Whale sharks have been hard to study and to keep track off as they are quite cryptic and disappear into the open ocean fairly quickly. However with the use of modern technology and tagging devices, it has become a lot easier to follow them, collect information on them, but also to realize what kind of threats they are facing. 

The species is just one step away from being critically endangered, an IUCN listing that is very hard to come back from.

We cannot sit back and fail to implement direct actions to minimize threats facing whale sharks at the global scale,said Norman, “It is clear that this species is in trouble.”

Originally posted by creatures-alive


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.

Find Dory, but don’t buy her!

Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, is coming out today, June 17th 2016. A few years ago, Finding Nemo was such a massive success that it drove demand for pet clownfish through the roof, and resulted in hurting the wild population, instead of fostering an appreciation for marine animals in their natural habitats. Over 90% of the clownfish sold came from the big, blue sea! Let’s avoid doing the exact same thing with Dory, shall we?

The case of Dory, or the case of blue tangs, is a bit different from clownfish. A “Finding Nemo effect” and a similar pet-trade boom could have catastrophic results for this species.

First of all, blue tangs aren’t bred in captivity. Blue tangs are pelagic spawners, meaning that they need sufficient space to breed and mate in mid-water columns. Once the eggs are hatched in captivity, it is extremely difficult to keep them alive. This means that every blue tang you will see in tanks or at the pet store has been taken from the wild. 

Originally posted by thekrazybitch

Second of all, chances are they were taken illegally. Regulations and their enforcement vary from country to country, but live saltwater fish like Dory are too often illegally collected using sodium cyanide as a liquid stun gun. For clownfish, scientists have witnessed local extinctions in areas they were collected in, and to the destruction of reefs and other species with this method.

Moreover, very little is actually known about the species. Subsequently, researchers don’t know if the blue tang population would be able to withstand increased demand after the movie release.

Behavioral ecologist Culum Brown works on fish cognition and welfare, and he reveals what is known about the species in an interview with NPR:

“You’ll be shocked to discover that we actually know very little about cognition in blue tangs. Correction … make that nothing. But that is true for the vast majority of the 32+ thousand species of fish out there.

"We know that their skin reflects light at 490nm (deep blue) and they tend to get lighter at night (this is under hormone control). They have very sharp spines on either side of their tail which erect when [the fish are] frightened. They have a huge distribution (Indo-Pacific) but are under threat from illegal collection. They graze algae on coral reefs, which is a very important job because it prevents the corals from being over-grown.”

So what can you do to save Nemo and Dory?

Originally posted by a-night-in-wonderland

If you must have a clownfish in your tank, make sure it was bred sustainably in captivity and not taken from the wild. As for having a Dory, you get it, it’s a big no-no. Keep Dory on the reef.

The aquarium industry harvests more than 1 million clownfish from their natural habitats every year so they can be sold as pets. This overharvesting, along with other stressors like global warming, is likely leading to the depletion of clownfish populations in places like the Philippines and the Great Barrier Reef.

Captive breeding has proved to be a sustainable alternative that can meet the demands for ornamental fish like Nemo, without hurting the reef’s populations. Tank Watch is also an app that helps you identify the captive-bred (good) from the wild-caught (bad) fish. 

While you go out and see this movie over the weekend, remember to educate yourself on the many species represented (including a whale shark and a beluga whale!). Many of them are under some sort of threat in the wild. All of these species are better off out in the sea, so if you fall in love with one of them and instead of taking Dory out of the ocean, I hope you moviegoers will support research, education and conservation!

Originally posted by rollingstone

First (Fully) Warm-blooded Fish Found

by Stephanie Pappas

The car-tire-size opah is striking enough thanks to its rotund, silver body. But now, researchers have discovered something surprising about this deep-sea dweller: It’s got warm blood.

That makes the opah (Lampris guttatus) the first warm-blooded fish every discovered. Most fish are exotherms, meaning they require heat from the environment to stay toasty. The opah, as an endotherm, keeps its own temperature elevated even as it dives to chilly depths of 1,300 feet (396 meters) in temperate and tropical oceans around the world.

“Increased temperature speeds up physiological processes within the body,” study leader Nicholas Wegner, a biologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California, told Live Science. “As a result, the muscles can contract faster, the temporal resolution of the eye is increased, and neurological transmissions are sped up. This results in faster swimming speeds, better vision and faster response times.”…

(read more: Live Science)

photograph by NOAA Fisheries, SW Fisheries Science Center

272-Year-Old Shark Is Longest-Lived Vertebrate on Earth
Greenland sharks also don't reproduce until they're around 150 years old, a new study says.

Yet another reason why sharks are the coolest! 

A new study published in Science from scientists at the University of Copenhagen have estimated that Greenland sharks can live up to be 400 years old! The team used radiocarbon dating and analyzed the ages of proteins built up in 28 female sharks’ eye lenses, and thus was able to estimate their ages. This revealed a life span of at least 272 years. Since they live to be so old, they don’t reach sexual maturity until they’re about 150.

The largest shark in the study was 16.5 feet (five meters) in length and was estimated to be approximately 392 years old. There is some uncertainty with this number though but the researchers did determine with a 95% certainty that this shark was between 272 and 512 years old, and most likely around 390.

Greenland sharks can be found swimming slowly throughout the cold, deep waters of the North Atlantic. They are essentially blind but have a fantastic sense of smell which allows them to hunt. This new finding makes these sharks the longest-living vertebrates on the planet, beating the 211-year-old bowhead whale which was holding the previous record.

You can find the full study in 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


According to the results of a major new national survey published by the University, the majority of the British public has a very low awareness of the issue of ocean acidification, with around only one-in-five participants stating they had even heard of the issue.

The oceans are currently absorbing large quantities of the carbon dioxide which has been emitted into the atmosphere from human activities. This absorption of CO2 is leading to a reduction in the pH of seawater – termed ‘ocean acidification’. According to the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ocean acidification is the hidden face of increasing global carbon emissions and poses a future threat to a range of marine ecosystems and the societies which depend upon them.

Although many other aspects of global climate change are readily recognised by the general public, we know far less about how they view ocean acidification. Researchers from the School of Psychology have conducted the first comprehensive survey of the British public’s views on this topic, interviewing over 2,500 people across the country

Very low awareness of ocean acidification:

  1. Only around 1 in 5 participants state that they have even heard of ocean acidification. Among those who do say they have heard of it, levels of self-reported knowledge about the subject are very low.
  2. Additionally, we found no significant increase in levels of awareness following the Inter-governmental Panel (IPCC) scientific reports published in April 2014.

Some people do associate ocean acidification with climate change

  1. The term Ocean Acidification itself evokes associations with pollution and negative environmental consequences. A surprisingly large proportion of those surveyed (38%) also correctly attribute anthropogenic carbon emissions as the main cause of ocean acidification, though as many again (34%) perceived that it is caused by 'pollution’ from shipping.
  2. Damage to coral reefs and consequences for marine organisms were correctly recognised by many as important consequences of ocean acidification.

Concern increases with knowledge. Distrust remains.

  1. While most people do not initially express concern about ocean acidification, once provided with some basic additional information a clear majority (64%) do then express concern about the subject.
  2. Half of those surveyed thought ocean acidification should be a fairly or very high priority for action by the British Government, although very few trust the Government to give correct information about the issue.
  • image provide by Upwell
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