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Jill Studholme
Attended University of Manchester
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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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Thanks Jill !
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Proof that Right Whales are stressed by boat noise
Due to security concerns following the attacks, a great deal of nonessential boat traffic was halted around the United States, leaving North American coastal waters relatively free of motor noise and radar pings.

Now, a study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B has revealed that wild right whales were far less stressed than normal around this quiet time, and that more characteristic stress levels returned once boating traffic picked up again.

The researchers determined this after looking at records of stress hormone concentrations in whale droppings around the Bay of Fundy, encompassing five years before and after the attacks. 
#whales   #marinebiology  
 
Why #Whale Stress Significantly Dropped After 9/11 http://ow.ly/IVD3F ~ #noisepollution #oceannoise
The 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were absolute tragedies, taking the lives of nearly 3,000 innocents that day. However, recent research has revealed that there was a silver lining to that incredibly dark storm cloud. Whales around American waters were reportedly far less stressed after the attacks, and now researchers are explaining why.
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Basking shark seen for first time in Indonesia

These giant animals migrate south from cold northern waters every winter. They are rarely seen as they swim deep and so not much is known about where they go. One, at least, has been on his holidays to Bali, taking a short cut between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

http://news.scubatravel.co.uk/basking-shark-bali-indonesia.html

#baskingshark #indonesia #bali
 
Basking shark recorded for first time in Indonesia
A recent stranding of a basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) in north-western Bali is the first confirmed record of this large, filter-feeding shark species in Indonesian waters.

The shark was an adult male. It is possible that the Indonesian throughflow – the warm ocean current which moves water from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean – is an important route for basking sharks during their migrations.

Once thought of as a strictly cool-water species, basking sharks move to tropical seas each winter. While commonly sighted in surface waters in northern Europe and America during summer and autumn months, they disappear during winter. It had been suggested that they hibernate on the ocean floor during this time.

More recently satellite tagging showed that basking sharks instead migrate through tropical waters, travelling at depths of 200 to 1,000 meters.

The basking shark is the second largest shark after the whale shark (Rhincodon typus). It can grow up to 11 metres long and weigh up to 7 tonnes. 

Marine Biodiversity Records / Volume 8 / 2015DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1755267214001365, Published online: 28 January 2015 
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=9533888

Transequatorial Migrations by Basking Sharks in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Skomal, Gregory B.; Zeeman, Stephen I.; Chisholm, John H.; Summers, Erin L.; Walsh, Harvey J.; McMahon, Kelton W.; Thorrold, Simon R. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.04.019
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19427211 

The Basking Shark, Cetorhinus maximus, in winter. H. W. Parker1 and M. Boeseman. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London
Volume 124, Issue 1, pages 185–194, May 1954
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1096-3642.1954.tb01487.x/abstract

#shark   #marinelife   #marinebiology  
Image: Green Fire Productions CC by 2.0
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Warming seas stop green turtles basking
Green sea turtles may stop basking on beaches around the world within a century due to rising sea temperatures, a new study suggests.

Naturalists as early as Darwin observed beach basking in green turtles (Chelonia mydas). It helps the threatened animals regulate their body temperatures and may help their digestion and immune systems.

After analysing six years of turtle surveys and 24 years of satellite data, researchers from Duke University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center and the University of Ioannina in Greece found the turtles bask less often when sea surface temperatures rise.

If global warming continues, they may stop basking altogether by 2102. Or even earlier in some places like Hawaii where you might stop seeing turtles sunning themselves on the beach in under 25 years.

The cut-off point for Green Turtles is 23 °C at the sea surface. Warmer than this and they don’t need to get out to get warm.

Not all green turtles bask on land. Though the turtles are found in tropical and subtropical oceans around the world, beach basking has only been observed in Hawaii, the Galapagos Islands and Australia. Sea surface temperatures at these sites have been observed to be warming at three times the global average rate.

It is not yet clear whether populations that currently bask on land during cooler months will adapt to warming sea temperatures and begin to bask exclusively in the water, as do some other populations around the world.
Photo: Tim Nicholson
http://news.scubatravel.co.uk/warming-seas-stop-turtles-basking.html
#turtle   #science   #marinelife  
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Loggerhead turtles home in on nests magnetically
Female turtles find their way back to nesting beaches by looking for unique magnetic signatures along the coast, according to a new study published in Current Biology.

Loggerhead turtles, for example, leave their natal beaches as hatchlings and traverse entire ocean basins before returning to nest, at regular intervals, on the same stretch of coastline where they were born. How sea turtles accomplish this natal homing has remained an enduring mystery until now.

Several years ago, Kenneth Lohmann, the co-author of the new study, proposed that animals including sea turtles and salmon might imprint on magnetic fields early in life, but that idea has proven difficult to test in the open ocean.

In the new study, Brothers and Lohmann took a different approach by studying changes in the behavior of nesting turtles over time. The researchers analysed a 19-year (1993–2011) database of loggerhead nesting sites on the Atlantic coast of Florida, an area encompassing the largest sea turtle rookery in North America.

Their analyses confirmed the predictions of the geomagnetic imprinting hypothesis. In some times and places, the Earth's field shifted so that the magnetic signatures of adjacent locations along the beach moved closer together. When that happened, nesting turtles packed themselves in along a shorter stretch of coastline, just as the researchers had predicted.

In places where magnetic signatures diverged, sea turtles spread out and laid their eggs in nests that were fewer and farther between.

Turtles are long lived, and females undertake reproductive migrations periodically throughout their adult lives. Thus, the population of turtles that migrate to a given beach to nest each year consists of two subsets: a group of first-time nesters, and another, typically larger group of older “re-migrants” that have nested in the area during previous years.

Sea turtles likely go to great lengths to find the places where they began life because successful nesting requires a combination of environmental features that are rare: soft sand, the right temperature, few predators, and an easily accessible beach.
http://news.scubatravel.co.uk/loggerhead-turtles-home-nests-magnetically.html
#turtle   #science   #marinebiology  
photo credit: Matt Kieffer [CC BY-SA 2.0]
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+Guy Gagnon Don't think any work has been done on the mechanism in turtles. In pigeons there is evidence of magnetite particles in the inner ear and brain activity linked to inner ear function when pigeons were exposed to magnetic stimulation. (http://news.sciencemag.org/2012/04/global-pigeoning-system)
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Plastic bottles are said to take 450 years to decompose, and other plastic products take varying amounts of time from 50 years to 600.  Over time, these items break down into smaller pieces known as microplastics, which look a lot like phytoplankton to fish. One theory for plastic’s disappearing act is ingestion by marine creatures,. This is supported by the United Nations Enironment Programme's studies which reveal up to 80% of sea turtle and sea bird species have consumed plastic.  

It is  estimated that around 80% of marine debris is from land-based sources and
the remaining 20% is from ocean based sources.(source: http://www.unep.org/regionalseas/marinelitter/publications/docs/plastic_ocean_report.pdf)
 
The Ocean Has a Recycling Problem

Last week, a study made headlines in nearly every major news outlet when it revealed the shocking amount of plastic floating in the world’s oceans. Surprising the uninformed who didn’t know the magnitude of the problem and the informed who believed the magnitude to be far greater, researchers published their findings in the journal PLOS ONE (Plastic Pollution in the World's Oceans: More than 5 Trillion Plastic Pieces Weighing over 250,000 Tons Afloat at Sea, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0111913) after years of data collection and lifetimes of personal experience. But there’s much the major news outlets neglected to mention about the ocean’s recycling problem.

If you are just hearing about this issue for the first time, you were probably shocked to hear that 269,000 tons of plastic are floating in the ocean, numbering more than 5.25 trillion particles. After all, that is a staggering figure! Our friends at Grist characterized the amount as the equivalent of 2,150 adult blue whales, MIT compared it to 38,000 African elephants, and Dr. Manus Erikson, co-founder of the 5Gyres Foundation and one of the researchers responsible for the study, compared it to stacking 2-liter soda bottles end-over-end to the moon and back—twice.

Many in the ocean conservation community were surprised by the figure. A regularly cited study from the National Academy of Sciences in 1975 estimated the flow of plastic into the ocean to be .1% of global production of plastic. In 2010, we produced 270 million tons of plastic, so the amount that flowed into the ocean that year alone should have been roughly 270,000 tons, just about the same amount as recently discovered by this study.

Another important note is the study published the most conservative figures for plastic in the seas, qualifying the figures as the ‘minimum’ amounts.

The Global Ocean Commission, an independent group comprised of government and business leaders including several former prime ministers, published their final report “From Decline to Recovery, A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean” in June with eight recommendations to save the seas. Recommendation five focused on keeping plastics out of the ocean, referencing a study by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) that 15% of marine debris floats on the surface, 15% remains in the water column, and 70% rests on the seabed. Taking the amount found on the surface by the study, that makes for approximately 1.8 million tons of total plastic in the ocean, but is that all of it?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose, and other plastic products take varying amounts of time from 50 years to 600. Therefore, the vast majority of plastic products ever produced are still in existence today. Over time, these items break down into smaller pieces from the beating they take from the elements and become known as microplastics, which look a lot like phytoplankton to fish. One theory for plastic’s disappearing act is ingestion by marine creatures, which is supported by UNEP’s studies which reveal up to 80% of sea turtle and sea bird species have consumed plastic. Could plastic make its way up the food chain to the very apex—humans? According to a study (Ingested plastic transfers hazardous chemicals to fish and induces hepatic stress, http://www.nature.com/srep/2013/131121/srep03263/full/srep03263.html) published last year investigating the transfer of harmful chemicals to the fish that ingested them, the answer is yes.

What are your thoughts about the issue of plastic debris in the ocean?

This post has been modified from the original article from The Daily Catch. Click here to see the original article, including recommendations on how you can help: http://bit.ly/1wZIbnX
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Enlightening and beautiful - plankton video  by Dr Richard Kirby (Marine Institute Research Fellow, Plymouth University) with narration by Sir David Attenborough 
http://vimeo.com/84872751
#plankton   #ocean   #science  
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Jill Studholme

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Great video by +Bubble Vision. Watch it, it'll make you 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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Some beautiful photos of deep sea creatures from the Pew Charitable Trusts as they highlight the threat to deep-sea corals from bottom fishing. http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/multimedia/image-galleries/2015/top-10-corals-and-creatures-in-mid-atlantics-deep-sea-backyard
 #deepsea #underwaterphoto   #marineconservation  
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thank you for sharing such magnificent images +Jill Studholme 
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Jill Studholme

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Never knew that the collective name for sharks was a shiver.

 #shark
 
Know what a group of sharks is called?
A shiver of sharks.
An appropriate name for this massive group of spinner #sharks spotted off Florida's coast.
Photo: Paul Nicklen via +Mission Blue
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Well, shiver me timbers...arg!
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Corals are much more diverse in the deep than they are in the shallow water. Deep sea ROVs are diving on vertical walls which are 600 m high and discovering new species all the time.

However, deep sea species are threatened by trawlers. Trawling in the deep sea literally destroys everything in the path of the trawler. There needs to be some strong work towards curtailing trawling in the deep sea. The chances of deep sea communities to recover from trawling is very small.

Fisheries officials for the mid-Atlantic region have an opportunity to protect corals in a large swath of the seabed and leave a conservation legacy. The deep-sea corals play an important role as habitat for other marine life.
More at http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/multimedia/video/2015/rare-glimpse-of-ancient-corals-and-other-creatures-of-the-deep
#deepsea   #coral  
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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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Aren't they just
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Manchester - Ashbourne
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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.


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  • University of Manchester
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