Tag Archives: Marine Biology

MAGICAL, MYSTICAL SEAHORSES ~ MUST SEE VIDEOS

SEAHORSES

Animal World – Sea Horses | Storyteller Media ~ Published on Jan 23, 2012 ~ The mystical sea horse. Very graceful, very beautiful, very endangered and very strange. It’s the male who gives birth with this species. We join the team at the London Aquarium to see what they are doing to help save them from extinction.

The destruction of coral reefs, trawling and the use of seahorses in Chinese medicine is leading to their decline. How do we stop this near-mythical sea creature from becoming extinct? – Uploaded on Jun 23, 2010 to YouTube.

Male seahorse giving birth at The Deep Hull, Uploaded on Jun 21, 2010

http://www.thedeep.co.uk Filmed at The Deep, Hull, Yorkshire, United Kingdom  The world’s only submarium is home to over 3500 fish, including sharks and rays… There are many illegally imported seahorses. When they are discovered by Customs and Excise, London Zoo aquarium at ZSL help out by housing and taking care of them … We were able to help out by taking this mature breeding pair. Many seahorses are on the IUCN Red list classified as VULNERABLE and have shown population declines of 20% over the last 10 years. Many species haven’t enough information about them to be able to manage their exploitation.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocampus_%28genus%29 

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THE BIZARRE AND COLOURFUL WORLD OF SEA STARS

Starfish, also known as sea stars are a ubiquitous ocean species, with around 1,800 living species occurring in all the world’s oceans, and can be found at ocean depths greater than 6,000 meters.

“The Sunflower Sea Star”  is one of OceanFutures Society’s many videos ~ Uploaded on Oct 27, 2009 – When people think of sea stars, they don’t typically think of voracious predators scouring the seabed, leaving carnage and fear in their wake, but this may simply be a matter of perspective. To the scallop or clam, this sea star is a pure nightmare. This whimsical look at one of the ocean’s less known predators may change your perception of sea stars forever. For more unique insights into the ocean realm, watch America’s Underwater Treasures, a two-hour episode of the PBS series Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures

Some 2,000 sea star species live throughout the world’s oceans. Some weigh as much as 11 pounds (5 kilograms) and stretch more than 2 feet (65 centimeters) across, but others are only half an inch (1 centimeter) in diameter. These animals reproduce prolifically, and some sea stars can release millions of eggs into the water for fertilization at the same time.

Starfish can go from soft (able to squeeze into small spaces) to rigid in a split second. In fact, their entire anatomy is surprisingly complex, including their nervous system.

The undersides of starfish have many tube feet capable of grasping on to things with amazing force. They work on a hydraulic water vascular system which aid the starfish’s movement – some species very slowly while others can move up to 9 feet in one minute. The tube feet are also used to grasp and deal with food.

Uploaded by on Mar 13, 2011 ~ This star fish is walking around my tank all the time, it just cruises the entire tank. Excellent to watch.

Secondly, the underside is where their mouth is located. They can swallow their prey whole and down it goes in a short esophagus to a cardiac stomach, and then on to a second pyloric stomach. But they don’t have to swallow… when dealing with prey larger than its mouth, many species of starfish can also spit out their stomachs to engulf the food and begin to digest it before pulling everything back into its body – eueew! (In this photo the sea star is eating a clam!)

Green Brittle Star at feeding time ~ Uploaded by on Nov 8, 2008.  This is my 2 year old green brittle star at feeding time.

Starfish species don’t all come with five arms. Several species have 10 to 15 arms, and some other species have as many as 50.

These bottom-dwellers play important roles in the ocean ecosystem, including keeping populations of shellfish in check, and, according to recent studies, absorbing large amounts of carbon in the world’s oceans.

Ever wonder what happens to a starfish when it is flipped upside down? ~ Uploaded by on Jun 8, 2010

CORAL REEF ALLIANCE PHOTO CONTEST

Whether or not you are a photographer, I think you will be impressed with the mission of the Coral Reef Alliance non-profit organization and you will also appreciate seeing the stunning photography submitted by former contest winners.

If you think your photography can equal or surpass some of the amazing entries seen below then definitely you should be interested in submitting your ‘winning’ photo to the ongoing Coral Reef Alliance Photo Contest.

Originally founded in 1994 to galvanize the dive community for conservation, CORAL has grown from a small, grassroots alliance into the only international nonprofit organization that works exclusively to unite communities to protect our planet’s coral reefs. We provide tools, education, and inspiration to residents of coral reef destinations to support local projects that benefit both reefs and people. We currently work in Hawaii, Mexico, Honduras, Fiji, and Indonesia.

Enter your favorite coral reef photographs in CORAL’s ongoing E-Current Contest for a chance to win a copy of Reef ~ a gorgeous coffee table book featuring beautiful coral reef photographs.

NOVEMBER CONTEST DEADLINE: October 15, 2012

Each winning photograph will be featured in an edition of E-Current, CORAL’s free electronic newsletter. The names of winning photographers will also be posted on the CORAL website with their photographs, which will be available for download as desktop wallpaper. All entrants will receive a subscription to E-Current.

Some of my favorites are:

 Winner of the May 2011 E-Current Photo Contest: Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus) in Laha, Ambon, Indonesia by Christopher J. Crowley

 Winner of the January 2009 E-Current Photo Contest: Southern stingray (Dasyatis americana), Grand Cayman Island, by Jeremy Ellis 

Winner of the May 2010 E-Current Photo Contest: Spine-Cheek Anemone fish (Premnas biaculeatus), Wakatobi, Indonesia, by Matt Grace

Links ~

Site for previous winning photographs ~ http://www.coral.org/wallpaper

Photo Contest .pdf document ~

http://www.coral.org/files/pdf/photo-contest-flier.pdf

Enter contest ~

http://www.coral.org/node/3965

We hope you enjoyed your visit with us today and if you are a photographer ~ we wish you the best of luck! 
Keep your comments coming ~ we love hearing from and learning about our readers.

UPDATE ~ “SENSELESS CRUEL SLAUGHTER OF BABY HARP SEALS”

In response to our Sept. 12 blog ~ a plea to sign the petition to help save Zak and Miki, (two harp seal pups, due to be slaughtered at Aquarium des Iles in Quebec, Canada), one reader asked for more background information.  The following is what I’ve managed to come up with. 

I hope this information will help anyone else who might be undecided about signing the petition.

Please remember that September 15th is the deadline!

Harp seals face slaughter at aquarium:

http://www.globalanimal.org/2012/09/14/harp-seals-face-slaughter-at-aquarium/81511/

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/332556

http://www.care2.com/causes/harp-seal-pups-slated-for-death-at-aquarium.html

ENDANGERED SHARK POPULATIONS

Just after publishing my June 6, 2012 blog,”OMG – Great White Shark versus kayaker”, I received a current WWF newsletter featuring the concern of endangered shark populations.

I am including excerpts from that article and urge you to visit WWF’s site to read through comments submitted and related links.

May 14, 2012
Posted by staffblogger Jarrett Corke, Shark Project Coordinator, WWF-Canada

For as long as I can remember, sharks have been my passion… Over the past year, I’ve been working at WWF-Canada on shark conservation in Halifax, Nova Scotia, tackling the most pressing issues for Atlantic sharks.

So when I received an envelope last week addressed to Mr. Jarrett Corke with the words ‘To the General Shark Scientists of the World’ written in pencil along the edge, I was intrigued.  Inside were two letters, … the first letter. Written by the father of an exceptional young boy by the name of Jack Titterrell from Bowmanville, Ontario, the letter explained that his son had taken it upon himself to create these signs in the hopes of spreading his message – save the sharks. The second letter, dictated by Jack to his father, explained why he thinks people should take more care to avoid the unnecessary killing of sharks.”

Jack’s reasons (See the blog for the information included in each numbered section) included: 

1)Sharks are endangered and I want them to survive.”…
2) “Sharks are nature and swim so fast.”
3) “If they don’t survive, they will become extinct.”
Jack is right to be concerned. Sharks are in trouble and they need our help. The loss of these predators may have direct and indirect effects on marine ecosystems, not only impacting other marine organisms, but us too – the human communities that rely on ocean resources.
To learn more about what we do to help protect sharks, visit – http://www.wwf.ca/conservation/species/sharks/

http://blog.wwf.ca/blog/2012/05/14/dear-general-shark-scientists-of-the-world/?utm_source=panda_mail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=panda_mail_June_2012

NUDIBRANCHS UPDATE ~ INCREDIBLE FACTS AND VIDEOS

Since I first posted “NUDIBRANCHS – SAY WHAT?”,  May 14, 2012), I’ve found the time to delve further into these fascinating and exotic ocean creatures.  You will be thrilled and amazed with the facts shared on these YouTube videos and the awesome video footage from around the world (Indonesia, Philippines, Bali)

First a few very interesting facts:

Nudibranch ~ means “naked gills”
Nudibranchs ~ are sea slugs
~ are beautifully colored tiny vessels of danger
~ store toxins/stinging cells they steal from their prey
~ more than 3,000 species
~ range in length from 1/4 inch to over 1 foot
~ are hermaphrodites (meaning they have both male and female sex organs)
~ are found in oceans from Antarctica to the tropics

I won’t overload you with information, for as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

“Nudibranchs”, by Jean-Michel Cousteau, Ocean Adventures ~uploaded by on Dec 5, 2008 ~ “They might be tiny, but nudibranchs can pack a poisonous punch. Learn more about these extraordinary creatures”.

 

This next video is amazing ~ the music, “The Tahiti Trot” is very artistically adapted to the bizarre antics of the nudibranchs  ~ an award winner in my opinion!!!

Colorful nudibranchs in Lembeh Indonesia” ~ uploaded by  Delveroudis on Jul 5, 2010 ~ “… But they are the most colorful creatures on Earth and their body patterns exceed the imagination of the best designers on the planet.”

“Nudebranches of Amed – Bali Reef Divers – Dive Bali” ~ uploaded by on Nov 9, 2010 ~ courtesy of Hero Productions ~ “These nudibranches were seen around Amed and Tulamben this season… wide variety of nudibranchs species around here… Night dives at Jemeluk are also a great opportunity to see these creatures!”

http://www.balireefdivers.com

NUDIBRANCHS – “SAY WHAT?”

 I really don’t know what I’d do without my e-mail account.  I’ve just discovered interesting information that I’d like to share with you about another amazing colourful mollusc-like marine creature, known as a “nudibranch” (pronouced NEW-dih-bronk) 

“Just what are nudibranchs?”, you might ask.

The nudibranchs are ocean bottom-dwelling, shell-less mollusks featuring featherlike gills and horns mostly found on their backs and are part of the sea slug family. They are noted for their often extraordinary colors and striking forms.

Nudibranchs are usually oblong in shape and measure anywhere from ¼ inch to 12 inches.

Nudibranchs are carnivores that graze on corals, anemones, algae, barnacles and sponges. To identify prey, Two extremely sensitive tentacles (‘rhinophores’) on top of their heads help them locate their food sources., called rhinophores, located on top of their heads.

The colour of the nudibranchs is retained from the food they digest.  This colouring and poisons they keep from their prey help the nubdibranchs protect themselves from predators.

Nudibranchs lifespans vary with some living under a month, and others living up to one year.



Related links –

SMH article ‘Underwater Wonders on Mail Run’:

http://www.smh.com.au/victoria/underwater-wonders-on-mail-run-20120507-1y7vw.html

Aquatic Community.com:

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/sw/nudibranch.php

Article in National Geographic:

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/nudibranch/