marine biology

video.nationalgeographic.com
Combating the Invasive Lionfish—by Wearing Them
The venomous and invasive lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific, is a serious threat to endemic species in the Caribbean and up the Atlantic coast. For several years, people in Sarteneja, Belize, have been harvesting the fish to eat—and now they're using the fish's spines to make jewelry.

A great feature by National Geographic on lionfish jewelry and the work Blue Ventures is doing in Belize to help develop that business and for the local community to keep hunting lionfish. 

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A small Japanese puffer fish is the creator of one of the most spectacular animal-made structures. To impress the female puffer fish, the male labors 24 hours a day for a week to create a pattern in the sand. If the female finds his work satisfactory, she allows him to fertilize her eggs. She then lays them in the middle of the circle, leaving the male to guard the eggs alone.

Life Story (2014)

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Dark ghost shark (Hydrolagus novaezealandiae) and the pale ghost shark (Hydrolagus bemisi), both are shortnose chimaera of the family Chimaeridae, found on the continental shelf around the South Island of New Zealand in depths from 30 to 850 m.

Both ghost shark species are taken almost exclusively as a bycatch of other target trawl fisheries

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Mimic Octopus

This sea creature can mimic the behaviors and various shapes of different animals it sees. They are highly intelligent and use their ability to camouflage and avoid predators. It is so intelligent that it will actually mimic a sea creature that its predators is afraid of. For example, scientists observed that when the octopus was attacked by territorial damselfishes, it mimicked the banded sea snake, a known predator of damselfishes.

It can mimic sea creatures like the sole fish, lion fish, sea snakes, frog fish and more.

SOURCE

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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.

The environmental impact of oysters, in one photo

The water in both tanks came from the same source. The one on the right has bivalves. Not only do oysters naturally filter the waters in which they live, they can even protect humans from destructive hurricanes. For more, read about New York’s efforts to bring back oyster populations in the once-toxic Hudson River.

Delicious AND helpful. Who knew?

(photo via Steve Vilnit on Twitter)

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Giant squids might be even bigger than we realized

According to research from Charles Paxton, fisheries ecologist and statistician at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews, published in the Journal of Zoology this month, the giant squid could grow to reach as much as 65 feet. But even that is a “conservative analysis,” as size could protect against their #1 predator.

Follow @the-future-now

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North american researchers at UC Berkeley and California Academy of Sciences have found that the larger Pacific-striped octopus has a unique hunting strategy: Rather than pounce on its prey, it stalks and gently taps it to startle it. Often this drives it into the octopus’s waiting arms…. 

The larger Pacific striped octopus , is, despite its name, no bigger than a tangerine.  Also uses a “slow bounce” to hunt. With its body flattened, and dorsal arms reaching forward, the octopus glides with sporadic bursts of hopping movements before it snatches up its prey of choice.

The octopus is rare, in fact, science has yet no even give it a formal scientific name (belong to Octopus genus). Is poorly understood, however, a recent study shown, they are somewhat social, they mate face-to-face, and the females produce multiple batches of offspring.

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Reaching sizes of at least 16 inches (40 cm), the Spanish Dancer is the largest nudibranch and one of the largest sea slugs on the planet.

Like most nudibranchs, the Spanish Dancer is brightly colored and does not blend in well with its surroundings. This bright coloration, similar to that of the poison dart frogs and many other species, serves as a warning to potential predators that the Spanish Dancer does not taste good and may even make a predator sick. Though this species spends most of its time crawling along the reef surface, it will swim when threatened, violently flapping its external gills and other appendages and displaying its brightest warning colors. This behavior reminded some observers of a flamenco dancer, earning the Spanish Dancer its common name.

via //photo 1: Mauritius100 //photo 2: manaphoto

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palau’s jellyfish lake was once connected to the pacific ocean, but when the sea level dropped its population of jellyfish were left to thrive in the isolation of its algae rich waters. no longer needing to defend themselves from predators, the jellyfish lost their sting, allowing snorkelers to now swim with them as they make their daily 800 metre migration from one end of the lake to the other. (click pic or link for credit x, x, x, x, x, x, x, x)

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