Here’s your weekly round up of the fintastic headlines and stories that have popped up over Week 38. Have a gander at this week’s bite-sized morsel of marine news:
Extra-terrestrials deep below?
One of the quirkiest stories this week, scientists have finally solved the mystery of the singing fish. Back in the 1980’s, some people living on houseboats heard an eery low hum coming from the depths, and the explanations ranged from aliens to military experiments. It actually turned out to be the rather ugly midshipman fish, performing it’s (rather bland) courtship call at night. Even more strange, it is controlled by the hormone melatonin… the one that sends us humans to sleep. Read in full…
Portuguese man-of-war makes a return
Walking out to the postcard-perfect beach in Cuba, I stumbled (almost quite literally) upon a beautiful pink tinted crystal mass, with vibrant blue tentacles. I knew instantly that infamous creature, thanks to a childhood (and adulthood) obsessed with Blue Planet and endless marine books. The Portuguese man-of-war. Admittedly, I didn’t paddle in the glorious blue sea that day, a wuss I know. However, I didn’t expect to hear this week that they’d washed up on beaches in Cornwall and the Scilly Isles! Last seen signifcantly in 2009 and 2012, they are beautiful to look at, and that’s all. Do not touch. Read in full…
Would you give up your fish and chips?
Surprisingly, in a poll by YouGov for the Marine Stewardship Council, 80% of us agree that fish and chip shops should only sell certified sustainable fish. Part of the MSC’s Turn the Tide campaign that launches today, the findings hint that if consumers are willing to go further to shops that do this, it will force a sustainable industry which plays a vital role in safeguarding the future of fish. Read more here…
Nemo’s colourful world
Researchers have established that reef fish see colours that we can’t, and living in the some of most colourful environments in the world the range of wavelengths they see varies. Some fish such as anemone fish, your classic Nemo’s, see UV wavelengths, whilst triggerfish see pretty-much the same range that we do, but their colour discriminations are different and they can see some colour regions in more detail – which makes sense, when you live in a blue-tinted world, you need to further pick out the different colours. Professor Marshall’s work is pretty damn cool – see here for the paper.
Beaked whale buoys
Particularly interested in NOAA’s buoys since I used them to mimic loggerhead hatchling drift patterns, this story stood out to me. A brand new set of drifting deep-sea acoustic sensors will help researchers learn more about marine mammals in the California Current, part of the mission by the Marine Mammal and Turtle Division. These buoys are expected to drift for miles, and hopeful shed some light (well, sound) on some elusive speciesas they hide beneath the waves. Read more here…
Plastic problem for plankton
With zooplankton the basis for much of the marine food web, this plastic pollution problem is being tackled by the Atlantic Meridional Transect expedition, who hope to give some more insight into the scale of micro-plastics in the ocean and the plight the little creatures face. You can track the British Antarctic Survey ship here! Studies have shown that zooplankton suffer from ingestion of microplastics, whether it’s direct mortality, poor reproduction or whether they change behaviour which means they are more vulnerable to predators, either way, they’re going to die. They’re also going to be groundtruthing an ESA satellite project that is monitoring oceans to create a global map of phytoplankton chlorophyll – pretty cool, have a look here. Read more here…
Diving in the stench of climate change
This story breaks my heart so much. It’s hits deep. Many years ago, I went diving on the Great Barrier Reef, just off the coast of Port Douglas, and the astounding bright vibrant vision of the corals have been ever-since etched in my memories. However, if I went back today, what would I see now, would that memory mirage b
e just that? Australian conservationist Tim Flannery returned to a tourism hot spot 50km of Port Douglas (likely where I was all those years ago), to witness the destruction after the worst coral bleaching event due to our warming planet and a changing climate – the greatest threat on our planet that people like to forget to talk about. Read both about Tim’s return, and a photo-filled article about the severity of the situation.
A book to inspire you…
Last, but oh boy, by no means least. This week, I found out that my idol Paul Nicklen, National Geographic Fellow and all-round photography god, has released a 200-page ebook called “Photographing Wild: Techniques of a National Geographic Photographer.” Given scrolling through his instagram is a daily occurance at 6am for me, when I should be leaving for work, this is pure bliss. Not only are you blessed with stunning shots, but he gives good advice to the reader on how to catch those powerful shots. Better still, some of the dollar you cough up, is given to Sea Legacy. If you’ve not heard the story on his run-in with a leopard seal, you need to, right now. Purchase the book here (and if you’ve been lucky/determined enough to have got to the bottom of this blog, today is the last day you can get it for $10 not $15, well done you!), and feast your eyes upon all sorts of wonderful images here!
That’s all folks! (for this week, anyway)