Tag Archives: Scuba diving

HOW AWESOME IS THIS?! SEADRAGONS PART 2

LEAFY SEADRAGONS, AN ENDANGERED SPECIES, ARE CLOSELY RELATED TO SEAHORSES AND WEEDY SEADRAGONS 

Exotic

   Exquisite

      Enchanting

        Extraordinary


Seadragons are some of the most ornately camouflaged creatures on the planet. Their spectacular gossamer, leaf-shaped appendages over their entire bodies enable them to blend in perfectly in their habitat of seaweed and kelp found in water to the south and east of Australia’s coast.

Seadragon males are responsible for childbearing. The male dragons have a spongy brood patch on the underside of the tail where females deposit their bright-pink eggs during mating. The eggs are fertilized during the transfer from the female to the male. The males incubate the eggs and release miniature sea dragons into the water after about four to six weeks (as seen in the video).

Seadragons survive on tiny crustaceans such as mysids, or sea lice. They are frequently captured by divers hoping to keep them as pets. In fact, such takings shrank their numbers so critically by the early 1990s that the Australian government placed a complete protection on both species. Pollution and habitat loss have also hurt their numbers, and they are currently listed as near threatened.

Leafy seadragon documentary film “The Vanishing Dragon”,   uploaded to YouTube by madge1964 on Jan 5, 2009, was filmed in South Australia. The complete documentary DVD can be purchased at www.abysspictures.com

Leafy Sea Dragon Compilation” YouTube video, uploaded by on Sep 23, 2006, is filmed in South Australia under the jetties at Rapid Bay and Wool Bay

Exhibits at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  ~ Leafy Sea Dragon HD SlowMix, Leafy Sea Dragon, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey California, USA, Uploaded on Mar 21, 2010 by jimg944

Orlando SeaWorld breeds rare seadragons ~ “We see people come up to this (seadragon) exhibit every day, and they’re just amazed to see that there’s something so unusual-looking. They’re a beautiful representation of the marine life of the ocean,” said Teryl Nolan Hesse, assistant curator for aquariums at SeaWorld Orlando. “They come here, see this, and they get excited about it. And when they’re excited about something, they want to learn more.”

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2018993230_seadragons26.html?syndication=rss

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leafy_sea_dragon

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HOW AWESOME IS THIS?! SEADRAGONS PART 1

Part 1 of this blog is about the Weedy Seadragons ~
“Life – Weedy seadragons dance into the night” – BBC One

Uploaded by BBC on Nov 3, 2009

About the programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/life
These two could teach Strictly Come Dancing a thing or two. Named for their uncanny resemblance to the plant life around them, a male weedy seadragon seduces a female with some very fancy fin work. Two months later, however, the male is the one whos left carrying the eggs.

Living off the coast of south Australia, weedy seadragons (Phyllopteryx taeniolatus) are the only known species along with sea horses and pipefish – where the male carries the eggs. Although the eggs start out in the female, she lays about 120 of them onto the tail of the male where they are then fertilized and develop until they hatch.

Feeding on plankton, larval fishes and small shrimp-like crustaceans, seadragons resemble swaying seaweed making them difficult to find in their natural habitats, even though they can grow to about 46 cm in length.

YouTube video, “Weedy Sea Dragons, uploaded by on Feb 3, 2007 ~ Weedy sea dragons near Hobart, Tasmania, filmed mostly on a single dive in January 2007.

YouTube video, “Botany Bay Watch – Weedy Seadragon Project Aware Survey Trip”, uploaded by on Aug 29, 2009 ~  Training Dive Botany Bay – The Steps August 29th 2009 Volunteer Training Course, www.botanybaywatch.com.au,


In this YouTube video, “Weedy Sea Dragon,  Uploaded by on Dec 23, 2008, you can get an up close and personal perspective of these exotic creatures.The weird and wonderful weedy seadragon. Filmed at Jervis bay, NSW, Australia 1986. You can see at the end of the video how well camouflaged the weedy seadragon is, which makes it difficult to find them.

MALE WEEDY SEADRAGON HAS BABIES! ~ Published on Aug 3, 2012 by MontereyBayAquarium ~ In a first at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a male weedy seadragon has had a brood of more than 80 babies. Like their seahorse cousins, it’s the male sea dragons that carry and hatch the babies. We’re only the fifth aquarium in the U.S. to breed “weedies.”

My next blog will feature the “LEAFY” Seadragons
~ just as awesome!!!
 

AUSTRALIA ~ TO CREATE MARINE HAVEN ~ PART 2

In the following breathtaking video, “Australia Great Barrier Reef“, you get a glimpse into the magnitude of the thousands of species that inhabit Australia‘s surrounding ocean ~ Uploaded by on Oct 3, 2009; Music: Tiesto-A Tear in the Open, Chilling Crew-For Better Moments, Tribal Trance-Orance Leopard Moon. Quote from YouTube video information: “My intentions were to make a quality trip video. We took a 4 day liveaboard with Mike Ball Dive expeditions ending up at the amazing Osprey Reef. The diving was incredible.”
This is a truly spectacular video and a must see in FULL SCREEN.  I am so envious of the divers who experience this thrill of a lifetime!

Some interesting data about the species that inhabit the waters of Australia’s ocean and the Great Barrier Reef ~

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world. It consists of more than 2,900 coral reefs, 600 continental islands, 300 coral cays and thousands of species making it one of the world’s most complex and diverse ecosystems. The animals of the Great Barrier Reef include some 1500 species of marine fish, 360 species of hard corals, between 5000 and 8000 species of mollusks, 600 species of echinoderms, 17 species of sea snakes, 1500 species of sponges, 30 species of whales and dolphins, 6 species of marine turtles, 22 species of seabirds and 32 species of shorebirds which breed on the reef’s many small islands.

Marine Fish of the Great Barrier Reef

There are more than 1500 species of fish that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef. They range in size from the tiny gobies, some of which weigh less than one gram, to the larger bony fishes such as the tuskfish and potato cod, to the massive cartilaginous fishes such as manta rays, tiger sharks and whale sharks. Damselfish, wrasses and tuskfish are among the most abundant fishes on the reef. Other fish of the Great Barrier Reef include blennies, butterfly fish, triggerfish, cowfish, pufferfish, angelfish, anemone fish, coral trout, seahorses, sea perch, sole, scorpion fish, hawkfish and surgeonfish.

Hard Corals of the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is home to about 360 species of hard corals including bottlebrush coral, bubble coral, brain coral, mushroom coral, staghorn coral, tabletop coral and needle coral. Hard corals, also known as stony corals, are a group of marine animals that live in shallow tropical waters and are responsible for building the structure of a coral reef. Colonies of hard corals grow in various shapes and sizes such as mounds, plates and branches. As previous coral colonies die, new ones grow on top of the limestone skeletons of their predecessors. Over time, this growth creates the three-dimensional architecture of a coral reef. Colonies of hard corals consist of thousands of small individual invertebrates referred to as coral polyps. Each polyp is radially symmetrical with a tube-like body that has a tentacle-rimmed mouth at the tip that it uses to feed.

Sponges and Echinoderms of the Great Barrier Reef

Over 600 species of echinoderms and more than 1500 species of sponges inhabit the Great Barrier Reef.

Echinoderms are bottom-dwelling marine invertebrates. They exhibit a type of radial symmetry called pentamerous symmetry in which their body can be divided into five equal parts around a central axis. The echinoderms of the Great Barrier Reef include sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sea stars, feather stars and brittle stars.

Sponges of the Great Barrier Reef include the yellow burrowing sponge, tubular sponge, thick yellow fan sponge.

Marine Reptiles of the Great Barrier Reef

There are 23 species of marine reptiles that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef including 6 species of sea turtles and 17 species of sea snakes. Occasionally, the saltwater crocodile also ventures out to forage on the reef, although such visits are quite rare.

The sea turtles that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef include the green turtle, loggerhead turtle, hawksbill turtle, flatback turtle, leatherback turtle and the Pacific ridley turtle. Some sea turtle species, such as the green turtle, loggerhead turtle and hawksbill turtle, nest on coral cays. The flatback turtle nests on continental islands and the green and leatherback turtles nest on mainland Australia. When not nesting, these sea turtle species use the waters of the Great Barrier Reef as foraging grounds.

Among the sea snakes of the Great Barrier Reef are the olive sea snake, the turtle-headed sea snake and the sea krait. All sea snakes are venomous.

Marine Mammals of the Great Barrier Reef

About 30 species of whales and dolphins frequent the waters of the Great Barrier Reef including humpback whales, Irrawaddy river dolphins, minke whales and spinner dolphins. Dugongs also inhabit the reef, feeding on the sea grasses that grow in the shallow inshore waters.

Not all of these marine mammals are permanent residents of the Great Barrier Reef. Minke whales and humpback whales visit the reef in winter. Other rorqual whales such as blue whales, fin whales and sei whales also migrate through the Great Barrier Reef region but do not stay for extended periods of time.

Mollusks of the Great Barrier Reef

More than 5000 species of mollusks live in the Great Barrier Reef. These include giant clams, cone shells, nudibranchs, octopus, cuttlefish and squid.
 
 
 
 

In this video, “Australia to create marine haven”, Australia’s Environment Minister, Tony Burke, unveils plans for the world’s largest network of protective marine parks.  Published on Jun 14, 2012 by

 

VIDEO ~ “Australia to build biggest marine reserve“, posted to YouTube by Al Jazeera‘s Andrew Thomas from Sydney, Australia on Jun 15, 2012 ~ The Australian government has announced the creation of the world’s biggest network of marine parks (3.3 million square metres), covering an overall area the size of “India”

This video, “Marine Life off Perth, Western Australia”, just released by the Ocean’s Institute, University of  Western Australia, showing a sequence of video footage captured off Perth, Western Australia.  The marine life shown in this sequence now has a brighter future thanks to the plan for marine sanctuaries off Australia’s South West. Published on Jul 4, 2012 by

 Once again, I hope you all realize how vital the work being done by the World Resources Institute Insights is and will find a way to support their efforts ~ insights.wri.org. 

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

VOTE NOW – FAVORITE UNDERWATER PHOTO CONTEST

University of Miami 2012 Underwater Photo Contest announced  new category,”Fan favorite” – allows online users to vote (link provided at end of blog)

Each spring, the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science hosts an underwater photography contest open to amateur photographers.

 

 Since its inception in 2005, the contest has drawn several thousand entrants from across the globe. This year the contest will include a “Fan Favorite” category in which users can vote online.

 

Photographs are divided in three separate categories: Fish or Marine Animal Portrait, Macro, Wide Angle, and the School will also recognize the best UM Student Submission and the Best Overall submission.

The top prize is a trip on Blackbeard’s Cruises, departing from Freeport, Bahamas. (Trip prizes do not include gratuities, port taxes, Bahamas Underwater National Park Fees, gear rental, etc., and are subject to availability.)

There will also be monetary awards for those finishing in 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each of the categories.

The underwater photography contest is open to all amateur photographers who earn no more than 20 percent of their income from photography.

The winners will be announced this year at the Rosenstiel School’s popular Sea Secrets Lecture on April 18. During this free lecture, Stan Waterman, one of the true pioneers in the shark diving community, will share some mind-blowing tales as well as clips from his extraordinary marine life videos that have garnered five Emmy¨ Awards.

You can vote once per day. Voting ends at 11:59pm on Sunday April 8th, 2012. Comment below on why your favorite photo should win! Read more about our Annual Underwater Photography Contest here.

 Links: 

 –  online voting

http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/blog/tag/underwater-photography-contest/

 – Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science –

www.rsmas.miami.edu.