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Jill Studholme
Attended University of Manchester
Lived in Manchester
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Divers asked to remove and report ghost fishing gear
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Crown Butterflyfish - my creature of the month
Found only in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the Crown Butterflyfish ( Chaetodon paucifasciatus ) lives between 4 and 30 m. You can spot it by its distinctive red rear, but its key identification feature is the yellow stripe through the eye.

This species is the most common of all the butterflyfish along the Jordanian, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian coasts.

The Crown Butterfly fish likes to live around hard corals: an abundance of these fish indicates good hard coral coverage on the seabed. A scarcity in a previously abundant area, though, signals that the coral may be in trouble.

The Butterfly fish family or Chaetodontidae are small, colourful fishes with a continuous dorsal fin. Chaetodontidae comes from the Greek, meaning bristle teeth, and indeed they do have small, brush-like teeth. Most species are active during the day, resting among corals or rocks at night.

Some species feed on coral polyps, and these tend to be territorial. When part of a coral is attacked in this way, the surrounding polyps often withdraw as far as they can into their protective skeletons. The fish then has to move further along the reef.

Sources
Coral Reef Fishes, Indo-Pacific and Caribbean, Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers

Khalaf, M. and Crosby, M. P. (2005), Assemblage structure of butterflyfishes and their use as indicators of Gulf of Aqaba benthic habitat in Jordan. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst., 15: S27–S43. doi: 10.1002/aqc.698
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.698/abstract

Khalaf, M. A. and Abdallah, M. (2005), Community structure of butterflyfishes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst., 15: S77–S89. doi: 10.1002/aqc.708
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/aqc.708/abstract

Photo credit: Tim Nicholson
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Very informative, as usual... Thanks.
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Drawf seahorses are the slowest animal in the ocean, but they hunt speedy crustaceans. These  copepods are very sensitive to movement of water around them. When they sense danger they move at tremendous speeds.

The seahorse catch the copepods by slowly moving them upwards with their snouts into calm water then grabbing them - as shown in this great video from +New Scientist 

More on the story is at http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24595-dwarf-seahorses-are-stealth-hunters-of-the-oceans.html
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Fascinating and beautiful film of corals, sponges and other marine animals using time lapse photography and high magnification. By +Daniel Stoupin 
 
As colorful, bizarre-looking, and environmentally important as we know corals and sponges are, their simple day-to-day life is hidden. They might not seem exciting when it comes to motion. However, their speeds simply happen to be out of sync with our narrow perception. This clip shows them from an unusual perspective: high magnification, focus stacking, and full-spectrum illumination that brought out fluorescent colors.

Learn more about what you see in my post: http://notes-from-dreamworlds.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/slow-life.html

To make this little clip I took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, I used focus stacking. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots where in-focus areas are merged. Just the intro and last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and I spent almost 9 long months just to learn how to make these kinds of videos and understand how to work with these delicate creatures.

Enjoy on a big screen to be able to see individual cells in sponges and tiny details in corals. Available in 4k.

#sciencesunday  
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Beautiful!!!
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Great video - made me smile.
 
Just keep swimming!

Next time you feel like you are going nowhere fast, spare a thought for these little clownfish...

#clownfish #Anilao #justkeepswimming  
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Jill Studholme

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Dottyback reef fish fools damselfish into thinking it's one of them and then eats their young. Via +Frank Gainsford 
#science   #marinelife  
http://news.scubatravel.co.uk/dottyback-reef-fish.html
 
Cunning dottyback infiltrates damsel shoals and once accepted eats the baby damselfish

A new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge has shown that the dottyback, a small predatory reef fish, can change the colour of its body to imitate a variety of other reef fish species, allowing the dottyback to sneak up undetected and eat their young. Its Latin name, Pseudochromis, means false damselfish – giving clue to its mimicry abilities.

The dottyback also uses its colour-changing abilities to hide from larger predators by colour-matching to the background of its habitat – disappearing into the scenery with its camouflage.

While using mimicry to hunt or hide from other species is commonplace in nature – from cuckoos to cuttlefish – scientists point out that if the same physical deception is encountered too frequently, species on the receiving end become more vigilant and develop tactics to mitigate the mimics.

The dottyback, however, is able to colour-morph depending on the particular colour of the surrounding species it is currently hunting: different types of damselfish being a popular target.

Scientists say that this flexibility of physical mimicry makes it much harder for the dottyback’s prey to develop detection strategies and avoid getting eaten.

Dottybacks are generally solitary and highly territorial predators of around eight centimetres in length, commonly found in Indo-Pacific coral reefs.

While dottybacks can vary their colouration from pink to grey, the researchers focused on two colour ‘morphs’ – yellow and brown – that both occur on the reefs surrounding Lizard Island, off the coast of north-east Australia. This is because the area has populations of both yellow and brown damselfish, and habitat consisting of live coral and dead coral ‘rubble’.

The scientists built their own simulated reef outcrops comprising both live coral and rubble, and stocked them with either yellow or brown damselfish. When released into reefs with damselfish of the opposite colour, scientists found the dottybacks (Pseudochromis fuscus) would change from yellow to brown or vice versa over around two weeks.

Anatomical study of dottyback skin cells revealed that while the level of ‘chromatophores’ – pigment-containing cells that reflect light – remain constant, the ratio of yellow pigment cells to black pigment cells shifts to move the dottyback from yellow to brown or back again.

The team conducted lab experiments with adult and juvenile damselfish to test whether this colour change affects dottyback hunting success. They found that once the dottyback matched the colour of the damselfish, they were up to three times more successful at capturing juvenile damselfish.

“This is the first time that an animal has been found to be able to morph between different guises in order to deceive different species, making the dottyback a pretty crafty little fish” says Dr William Feeney, co-author of the study from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology.

Further Reading
University of Cambridge (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/colour-morphing-reef-fish-is-a-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing

Photo: Christopher E Mirbach
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+Jill Studholme  many thanx for sharing this further
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Latest SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011) now available at http://www.scubatravel.co.uk/scuba-news179.html 

In this issue: travel tips for diving in Dahab, Egypt, Greece, Saudi Arabia and Crete. Underwater photos from Austalia's Great Barrier Reef. Dottyback reef fish disguises itself as a harmless damselfish, infiltrates into the school and then eats the damselfish children. Plus, the diving and marine conservation news from around the world.

Also on Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/SCUBATravel/scuba-news-179
#scubanews   #scuba   #travel  
 
SCUBA News 179 Now Up
In this issue: Diving Dahab and Greece, Australian underwater photo gallery, the deceitful Dottyback reef fish and this month's underwater news.
http://www.scubatravel.co.uk/scuba-news179.html
#scubadiving  
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Red Sea Clownfish, Amphiprion bicinctus

The most common clownfish in the Red Sea, hence its name. But it doesn't just live in the Red Sea. You will also find it in the Gulf of Aden and in the Chagos Islands in the Pacific some 3364 km away. But curiously nowhere in between.

The Red Sea Clownfish lives from the shallows down to 30 m, generally living in pairs in association with an anemeone. This is a classic example of symbiosis - where two different organisms live in close physical association to the advantage of both. The tentacles of the anemone protect the clownfish from predators. At first contact with the anenome the clownfish jerks back, but gradually its mucus coating gives it immunity to the anemone's stinging nematocysts. The benefit to the anemone is probably down to the fish's swimming within its tentacles and wafting them around, thus increasing the water flow and hence the amount of oxygen available to the anemone. The anemone may also feed on the fish's waste material.

This clownfish favours five types of anemone; other species are more selective. Adults are rarely more than 2 m away from their anemone home. When clownfish have been artificially deprived of their anemone, they often dig holes and feed them, defend them and sleep in them much as they would behave with an anemone. Clownfish in an aquarium have been observed bathing in the air bubbles and defending them, perhaps seeking stimulation comparable to that of the tentacles of the anemone.

Clownfish start off male, but if the female dies the dominant male will change into a female. The fish spawn around the full moon and lay 500 to 1500 eggs on a patch of cleared rock near the anemone home. The parent often rubs the anemone causing the tentacle to extend, which in turn forms a protective canopy for the eggs of the fish.

The male cares for the eggs, driving away intruders. Even divers have been attacked if they get too close. He blows water over the eggs, giving them oxygen-rich water and preventing fungus from growing over them. After around a week the eggs hatch, usually soon after sunset. The larvae then drift in the current for more than a fortnight before seeking their own anemone. A recent study found that the larvae of a similar species, the Omani clownfish, regularly travelled 400 km - the longest distance scientists have been able to track the dispersal of any coral reef fish.

Larval clownfish can smell predators which helps them avoid being eaten as they search for an anemone in which to live. However in raised ocean acidity - which will happen if we fail to curb CO2 emissions - they lose their ability to smell predators. Other experiments have shown that they also lose the ability to smell their anemone hosts.

You can identify this clownfish from others as it has no white stripe at the base of its tail; the tail is orange and not black or white and of course by its location. Many have blackish backs but some are pure orange. They grow to 14 cm long.

Class: Actinopterygii > Order: Perciformes > Family: Pomacentridae > Subfamily: Amphiprioninae

More photos at http://www.scubatravel.co.uk/marine-life/red-sea-clownfish.html

References:
Coral Reef Guide Red Sea, Lieske and Myers
Finding Nemo is real: Clownfish make epic sea journeys, New Scientist 17 September 2014.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26227-finding-nemo-is-real-clownfish-make-epic-sea-journeys.html
Ocean of Life: How Our Seas are Changing by Callum Roberts. Allen Lane , 2012 400pp. 1-8461439-42

Photo by Tim Nicholson
 

Red Sea Clownfish, Amphiprion bicinctus, my creature of the month
The most common clownfish in the Red Sea, hence its name. But it doesn't just live in the Red Sea. You will also find it in the Gulf of Aden and in the Chagos Islands in the Pacific some 3364 km away. But curiously nowhere in between.

The Red Sea Clownfish lives from the shallows down to 30 m, generally living in pairs in association with an anemeone. This is a classic example of symbiosis - where two different organisms live in close physical association to the advantage of both. The tentacles of the anemone protect the clownfish from predators. At first contact with the anenome the clownfish jerks back, but gradually its mucus coating gives it immunity to the anemone's stinging nematocysts. The benefit to the anemone is probably down to the fish's swimming within its tentacles and wafting them around, thus increasing the water flow and hence the amount of oxygen available to the anemone. The anemone may also feed on the fish's waste material.

This clownfish favours five types of anemone; other species are more selective. Adults are rarely more than 2 m away from their anemone home. When clownfish have been artificially deprived of their anemone, they often dig holes and feed them, defend them and sleep in them much as they would behave with an anemone. Clownfish in an aquarium have been observed bathing in the air bubbles and defending them, perhaps seeking stimulation comparable to that of the tentacles of the anemone.

Clownfish start off male, but if the female dies the dominant male will change into a female. The fish spawn around the full moon and lay 500 to 1500 eggs on a patch of cleared rock near the anemone home. The parent often rubs the anemone causing the tentacle to extend, which in turn forms a protective canopy for the eggs of the fish.

The male cares for the eggs, driving away intruders. Even divers have been attacked if they get too close. He blows water over the eggs, giving them oxygen-rich water and preventing fungus from growing over them. After around a week the eggs hatch, usually soon after sunset. The larvae then drift in the current for more than a fortnight before seeking their own anemone. A recent study found that the larvae of a similar species, the Omani clownfish, regularly travelled 400 km - the longest distance scientists have been able to track the dispersal of any coral reef fish.

Larval clownfish can smell predators which helps them avoid being eaten as they search for an anemone in which to live. However in raised ocean acidity - which will happen if we fail to curb CO2 emissions - they lose their ability to smell predators. Other experiments have shown that they also lose the ability to smell their anemone hosts.

You can identify this clownfish from others as it has no white stripe at the base of its tail; the tail is orange and not black or white and of course by its location. Many have blackish backs but some are pure orange. They grow to 14 cm long.

Class: Actinopterygii > Order: Perciformes > Family: Pomacentridae > Subfamily: Amphiprioninae

More photos at http://www.scubatravel.co.uk/marine-life/red-sea-clownfish.html

References:
Coral Reef Guide Red Sea, Lieske and Myers
Finding Nemo is real: Clownfish make epic sea journeys, New Scientist 17 September 2014.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn26227-finding-nemo-is-real-clownfish-make-epic-sea-journeys.html
Ocean of Life: How Our Seas are Changing by Callum Roberts. Allen Lane , 2012 400pp. 1-8461439-42

Photo by Tim Nicholson
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Don't eat those...
very sting, much pain. 
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Red Sea wreck photos - the Ghiannis D
#shipwreck   #coral  
 
The Ghiannis D, Red Sea
A lovely wreck with marvellous silhouettes against the surface. This Greek ship sunk in 1983 en route from Croatia to Saudi Arabia. 100 m long, the stern rests at 23 m. It is lying at a 45° and can be slightly disorientating. Home to an enormous grey mottled moray eel of sea serpent proportions, as well as coral, prawns, mullet, butterfly fish and pipefish.
Photos by my friend Tim Nicholson, who isn't on Google+
#scuba   #redsea   #shipwreck  
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Winners of the nudibranch category in the Ocean Art Underwater Photo competition
#nudibranch   #underwaterphotography  
 
Only one type of animal had a category all to itself in the Ocean Art Underwater Photo competition - the beautiful nudibranchs
http://news.scubatravel.co.uk/winners-underwater-photography-competition.html
#nudibranch   #seaslug   #underwaterphoto  
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Love this photo of juvenile lionfish by soft coral
 
Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans)
ハナミノカサゴ
Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia
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Previously
Manchester - Ashbourne
Story
Tagline
Writing on the marine environment and scuba diving
Introduction
Some days writing on scuba diving and the marine environment, others on data acquisition & control.

Edits SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011) which launched in May 2000. SCUBA News contains articles on diving destinations; features a marine "creature of the month" and brings news on events and research in the diving, marine life and other underwater fields. Tweets as @SCUBANews and contributes to the SCUBA Travel Facebook page. Also editor of the SCUBA Travel web site.


Education
  • University of Manchester
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Female