Join our Whatsapp Group, or +249 90 290 9260 (Whatsapp/Signal)

Jurassic squid got murdered mid-meal, leaving this epic fossil behind

Jurassic squid got murdered mid-meal, leaving this epic fossil behind

During the early Jurassic period, a squid-like creature was in the midst of devouring a crustacean, when it was interrupted by another marine beast, possibly a shark, that chomped into its squishy side and killed it, a new study finds.

The shark swam away, but the crustacean and the squid-like animal — a 10-armed and two-finned creature called a belemnite — sank to the bottom of the sea, where they fossilized together over the subsequent eras in what is now Germany.

The resulting 180 million-year-old fossil is "unique," one of about "10 specimens of belemnites with [well-preserved] soft tissues worldwide," study lead researcher Christian Klug, curator of the University of Zurich's Palaeontological Museum and a professor at its Palaeontological Institute, told Live Science in an email. 

The specimen also shows how predators sometimes become prey themselves. "Predators tend to be happy when they are eating, forgetting to pay good attention to their surroundings and potential danger," Klug said. "That might explain why the belemnite got caught, but there is no proof for that."

Related: Image gallery: Photos reveal prehistoric sea monster 

Continue reading
  1 Hits
  0 Comments

Copyright

© Flipboard and it's respective authors

1 Hits
0 Comments

Using probiotic bacteria to protect against coral bleaching

Using probiotic bacteria to protect against coral bleaching

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Images of bare, naked white coral reefs have been increasingly circulating around the world. The typically colorful reefs of tropical oceans, which are home to many species of the marine ecosystem, are suffering from rising water temperatures due to global warming. There is no heat relief for the corals in sight. Scientists are desperately seeking out ways to make the temperature-sensitive organisms more resistant to heat stress. A group of scientists led by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel are developing a promising approach, which is based on a therapeutic treatment known from human medicine. The study was published in the international journal Microbiome.

"The idea is that probiotic bacteria with beneficial functions could help a coral to better withstand stress," explains Dr. Anna Roik from GEOMAR, lead author of the study, which was funded as part of a Future Ocean Network project at Kiel University. "In the current study, we tested the approach of a 'microbiome transplantation,' inspired by microbiome-based applications we know for example from clinical treatments," Roik continues.

The research group conducted coral microbiome transplantation experiments with the reef-building corals Pocillopora and Porites in the Andaman Sea in Thailand. They investigated whether this technique can improve the heat resistance of corals by modifying the bacterial microbiome. The scientists first looked for more heat-tolerant "donor" corals. "We then used material from the tissue of the donor corals to inoculate conspecific, heat-sensitive recipients and then documented their bleaching responses and microbiome changes using a genetic analysis method called 16S rRNA gene metabarcoding," explains Dr. Roik.

The recipient corals of both species bleached more mildly compared to the during a short-term heat stress test (34 °C). "The results show that the inoculated corals were able to resist the response for a short time," explains Prof. Dr. Ute Hentschel Humeida, head of the Marine Symbioses Research Unit at GEOMAR and co-author of the study. "In addition, the microbiome data suggest that the 'inoculated' corals may favor the uptake of putative bacterial symbionts," Dr. Anna Roik continues. "However, further experimental studies are required to unravel the exact mechanism of action, as well as long-term field-based studies to test the durability of the effect," says the marine biologist, looking ahead.

Continue reading
  2 Hits
  0 Comments

Copyright

© Flipboard and it's respective authors

2 Hits
0 Comments

Lost in the Mediterranean, a starving grey whale must find his way home soon

Lost in the Mediterranean, a starving grey whale must find his way home soon

Text size Aa Aa

By Alexandre Minguez

ARGELES-SUR-MER, France (Reuters) – A young grey whale lost in the Mediterranean, thousands of miles away from its natural habitat in the Pacific ocean, is desperately seeking its way home, but biologists are worried it may not survive.

Grey whales normally migrate along the U.S. west coast, but biologists think that with global warming opening northern routes, the whale became lost and swam into the Atlantic ocean via the Arctic.

Named Wally by biologists, the whale is around two years old and eight metres (26.25 ft) long, but his rapid weight loss is causing concern as he cannot find the invertebrates that are his normal food source in the depths of the Pacific.

Continue reading
  0 Hits
  0 Comments

Copyright

© Flipboard and it's respective authors

0 Hits
0 Comments

Three more whales wash up dead near San Francisco — eight total in five weeks

Three more whales wash up dead near San Francisco — eight total in five weeks

Three more gray whales have washed up dead in the San Francisco Bay, adding to the fatal beachings of five others in the region over the last month, including a 46-foot fin whale, scientists from the Marine Mammal Center and the California Academy of Sciences said Thursday.

In 2019, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced it was going to investigate an unusually high number of gray whales found dead along the North American west coast. The investigation is continuing.

Although the number of dead whales may seem alarming, the numbers are actually lower than they have been the last two years, said Michael Milstein, an NOAA spokesman.

In 2019, 214 washed up on the beaches and coasts of Mexico, the United States and Canada — 34 in California, 13 in San Francisco Bay. The following year, the numbers remained high: 174.

Scientists believe the numbers observed on shore are a fraction of the real die-off. They say many more die at sea and are never observed, instead floating offshore or sinking to the bottom.

Continue reading
  0 Hits
  0 Comments

Copyright

© Flipboard and it's respective authors

0 Hits
0 Comments

Deep-sea mountains: Earth’s unexplored ecosystems that are teeming with life

Deep-sea mountains: Earth’s unexplored ecosystems that are teeming with life

On land, you’d struggle to find a mountain that hasn’t already been climbed. In contrast, in the deep sea there are thousands of unexplored peaks. Seamounts are submerged volcanoes, active or dormant, with foothills planted in the abyss and summits soaring up thousands of metres without breaking the sea surface.

Advertisement

These hidden mountains are some of the least known, but most abundant geological features on the planet. They form a fragmented habitat that covers an area rivalling the world’s tropical rainforests. As scientists learn more about seamounts, it’s becoming clear that these dramatic montane seascapes are rich oases of life that play a crucial role across the entire global ocean.

A 2019 Nekton expedition caught these images while descending a seamount near the Astove Atoll, in the Seychelles © Nekton

Currently, there’s no definitive count of the world’s seamounts, because locating and identifying them is not easy. Estimates suggest there are between 30,000 and more than 100,000 seamounts with peaks over 1,500m high. One of the biggest is Davidson Seamount off the California coast – 42km long, 8km wide and 2,280m tall. Taller still are seamounts that rise almost 5,000m from base to peak. Add in smaller peaks, 100m and higher, and the estimated global tally reaches into the millions.

Continue reading
  0 Hits
  0 Comments

Copyright

© Flipboard and it's respective authors

0 Hits
0 Comments

Young green turtles tracked to 'lost years' hideaway

Young green turtles tracked to 'lost years' hideaway

Green sea turtles venture into the open ocean immediately after hatching on the Florida coast, and then seem to vanish for a spell — now, new tracking data shows that, after surfing the Gulf Stream northward, many turtles drop out of the current to enter the Sargasso Sea, an oasis of cozy seaweed and plentiful food.

In the new study, published Tuesday (May 4) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, scientists attached solar-powered satellite tags to 21 green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) of "toddler" age, meaning about 3 to 9 months old. The young turtles weighed just over 10.5 ounces (300 grams) and their shells measured about 5 to 7 inches (12 to 18.6 centimeters) long; tagging such small creatures presented a huge challenge, both due to their initial size and the fact that they grow and change shape fairly rapidly, compared with mature animals.

Despite the hurdles, to better protect sea turtle populations, "we really need to get tags on some of these little guys," said first author Kate Mansfield, director of the Marine Turtle Research Group and an associate professor in the biology department at the University of Central Florida. Young turtles' migration into the open ocean is often referred to as "the lost years," since scientists know so little about what the animals get up to before they return to the coast as "teenagers."

Related: Top 10 most incredible animal journeys

"Sea turtles, in general, don't reach maturity for at least a couple decades. And those years leading up to when they become adults, we don't know much about them," Mansfield said. Now, thanks to the tracking data, "the Sargasso Sea is emerging as an important habitat for sea turtles in their early life stages," marking the region as critical for conserving the species, she said. 

Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments

Copyright

© Flipboard and it's respective authors

4 Hits
0 Comments

The radical coral rescue plan that paid off

The radical coral rescue plan that paid off

When Hurricane Iris hit southern Belize in 2001, the country's magnificent corals were wrecked. But within 10 years, a radical restoration project brought the reef back to life.

W

With the caye split into two and corals smashed into rubble, the underwater world at Laughing Bird Caye National Park off the coast of Belize looked nothing like the vibrant and colourful place that had thrived with life before Hurricane Iris swept across it in 2001. The storm left the water murky and muddy, while rotting dead creatures washed ashore.

When Lisa Carne first visited the island in 1994, there were so many large, bright reddish-orange interlocking elkhorn corals that she could hardly swim through or around them. The reef was abundant in fish, corals, lobsters, crabs, sponges and sea turtles. But after the hurricane all of this was destroyed. With only a few surviving corals, the scene looked more like a graveyard.

It was not the first time Carne had seen a dead reef. In 1995, she moved full time to Belize, and volunteered as a research assistant at Carrie Bow Cay, a Smithsonian field station. She witnessed the effects of the first coral bleaching event in Belize, home to the second longest barrier reef in the world. Bleaching events leave the structure of corals intact, but strip it of the algae that live in an endosymbiotic relationship with the coral polyps. Some coral recover from such events as the algae returns, although many die.

Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments

Copyright

© Flipboard and it's respective authors

4 Hits
0 Comments

An Israeli Startup’s Concrete ‘Bio-Habitats’ Bring Life Back to Urban Coastal Waters

An Israeli Startup’s Concrete ‘Bio-Habitats’ Bring Life Back to Urban Coastal Waters

An ECOncrete tide pool, shown upon installation and then after marine life have made their home. Photo: courtesy

An Israeli environmental startup has developed a technology to address one of the world’s least sexy problems — bringing concrete to life — by using a special cement structure that invites marine fauna to grow on coastal infrastructure.

“Our admix is like the salt and pepper to a recipe,” ECOncrete CEO Ido Sella told The Algemeiner. “It is a chemical modification of the composition of concrete for a better, more balanced biology and to make it more hospitable to marine life.”

About half of the world’s population lives along a coastline with bridges, ports and seawalls, which are mostly built with concrete threatening to destroy marine life. The technology developed by the Tel Aviv-based ECOncrete, launched in 2012, turns concrete into a new substance with materials that are plant and animal-friendly. The products are designed with tiny holes for small fish to live in and on top of which seaweed can grow, while corals and oysters appear around it once put into water so that aquatic life can thrive.

The concrete is stronger than commercial concrete because of the biology growing, a process called “bio protection.” Instead of building traditional concrete blocks, ECOncrete’s products — which include blocks, tide pools, and mats — are based on a technique known as bio-mimicry, which copies the shapes and textures of natural systems.

Continue reading
  5 Hits
  0 Comments

Copyright

© Flipboard and it's respective authors

5 Hits
0 Comments

Sea Otters — The Guardians Of Monterey Bay’s Kelp Forest

Sea Otters — The Guardians Of Monterey Bay’s Kelp Forest

California’s underwater kelp forests are in trouble. A combination of climate change and hungry purple sea urchins have decimated these vital forests. But the Monterey Peninsula has a kelp forest ... Read more →

Aired: May 4, 2021 | Transcript

California’s underwater kelp forests are in trouble. A combination of climate change and hungry purple sea urchins have decimated these vital forests. But the Monterey Peninsula has a kelp forest guardian — sea otters. New research out of the University of California, Santa Cruz is highlighting their role.

Josh Smith, a Ph.D. candidate at UC Santa Cruz, stands near a beach on Cannery Row in Monterey. The tops of kelp swirl in the calm current of the blue-green water. Just a decade ago, this area looked vastly different.

“The canopy would have spread out across this entire little bay,” said Smith. “Right now what we're seeing is a very patchy kelp forest.”

Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments

Copyright

© Flipboard and it's respective authors

4 Hits
0 Comments
Henri Hemmerechts
07 May 2021
DIVING
A team of researchers is trying to unravel a mystery surrounding a letter they think may have been written by a young girl on board the Titanic on the eve of its sinking. A family came across the miss...
Henri Hemmerechts
09 March 2021
OCEAN STORIES
The fresh, coastal air awaits when you book your next family vacation at one of these charming lighthouses. From a private island in Maine to some beauties along the Northern California coast, these l...
Henri Hemmerechts
26 March 2021
GOBLU3
The octopus is an extraordinary creature – and not only because of its eight limbs, three hearts, blue blood, ink squirting and camouflage capacity. A study by researchers in Brazil published on Thurs...
Henri Hemmerechts
26 March 2021
GOBLU3
Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), a major player in the powersports industry, has announced that it will unveil an electric version of each of its products by 2026. The Quebec, Canada-based comp...