The earliest illustration of Sunfish, presumably Mola mola, from A) Rondelet in 1554 and B) Gesner in 1558. Considering this is from the era of terrible walruses, the fact that they’re at all recognizable is pretty amazing.
Johnson, G. & Britz, R. (2005) Leis’ Conundrum: Homology of the Clavus of the Ocean Sunfishes. 2. Ontogeny of the Median Fins and Axial Skeleton of Ranzania laevis (Teleostei, Tetraodontiformes, Molidae). Journal of Morphology 266 11–21.
Scientists map global routes of ship-bourne invasive species
byMatt McGrath | BBC News
Scientists have developed the first global model that analyses the routes taken by marine invasive species.
The researchers examined the movements of cargo ships around the world to identify the hot spots where these aquatic aliens might thrive.
Marine species are taken in with ballast water on freighters and wreak havoc in new locations, driving natives to extinction.
The research is published in the Journal Ecology Letters.
There has been a well-documented boom in global shipping over the past 20 years and this has led to growing numbers of species moving via ballast tanks, or by clinging to hulls.
Some ports such as San Francisco and Chesapeake Bay have reportedseveral exotic new species arriving every year. Economic estimates indicate that marine invaders can have huge impacts that last for decades.
Now, scientists from the UK and Germany have developed a model that might help curb these unwanted visitors. They obtained detailed logs from nearly three million voyages that took place in 2007 and 2008.
“Our model combines information such as shipping routes, ship sizes, temperatures and biogeography to come up with local forecasts of invasion probabilities,” said Prof Bernd Blasius from the University of Oldenburg.
While this is a mathematical model, the researchers were able to adjust it by carrying out field observations. They were able to estimate the probability that a species can survive a journey and establish a population in a subsequent port of call.
“It is called ecological roulette,” said Dr Michael Gastner from the University of Bristol.
“The probability of winning from the perspective of the invader is really tiny - but because the number of attempts are now growing with more and bigger ships, you play this roulette so often that you become a likely winner sooner or later,” he added.
The team says that the key hotspots for invasion are Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Panama and Suez canals. Cooler climates like the North Sea are less likely to be troubled, unless ships come from similar waters such as the east coast of the US. They conclude that very long trips are less likely to be a cause for concern.
Thanks for your question! I’m not really familiar with the US school system…but any effort to improve you grades would help. Additionally, getting experience is invaluable - volunteer, do internships. Grades count some to get into a course, but experience counts for a lifetime. Plus it shows the admissions person your commitment.
I always advise people to talk to their guidance councillors. It’s their job to know your options! Have a look at my FAQs for a list of Universities recommended by my friends and followers.
Myself, Zoox’s Training director JJ and Zoox Experience Programme participants off for a snorkel to learn some marine monitoring techniques. I’m in love with my office.
Mating Nudibranches (Roboastra luteolineata) SMURF PENIS
On a recent dive, we stumbled upon a rather private moment between a couple of simultaneous hermaphrodites, Roboastra luteolineata, doing the mutual penis dance. They were poking around for a while, and had yet to manage mutual fertilization when we (reluctantly) moved on.
Some of you might have found, that after a hundred dives or more, that although you still enjoy reefs, or fish, or the ‘prettiness’ of being underwater, that other aspects of the marine world take your fancy. I have zoomed in on macro life, and relish the challenge of finding tiny critters on a sandy bottom. And for the things that are a bit bigger, behaviour starts to catch your eye…
…who am I kidding? It’s all about the smurf penis.
Oceanic phytoplankton blooms imaged from space by Envisat. Plankton blooms occur in regions of the ocean that have optimal temperature, sunlight, and nutrient supply for marine algae to grow exponentially. Most blooms are composed of coccolithophores, single celled organisms which grow disk-like exoskeletons of calcium carbonate. Trillions of these disks color the water white, showing the phytoplankton density and beautiful fluid dynamics of ocean currents.
Asian Dive Expo (ADEX) 2013 - All about whale sharks
Last weekend, I crossed a major event off my bucket list. Speaking at ADEX.
Every year of my adult life that I spent in Singapore, I went to ADEX. It’s a big space, full of diving goodies, underwater photos and brilliant people. I would go with dive buddies/best friends to network, get stickers to decorate my laptop and anything else, and just generally revel in the world of people who love being underwater.
I have genuinely missed it the last couple of years. But not 2013. With the theme of whale sharks, it was a perfect platform for the NGO I worked for last year to talk about whale shark research. Myself, the President of the NGO and bonafide big brother Dr. Alessandro Ponzo, and my favourite conservation photographer Steve De Neef were invited to give talks and participate in ‘The Big Blue Buzz’ - a “debate” about animals on display.
The “debate” wasn’t really that, two teams, that were actually far from opposite. We are all working towards the same goals, but represent a gradient of how to do it. At least the subjects of animals on display like captive dolphins, and the whale sharks being fed in Oslob were talked about, and I hope that we made a few people think about their decision, and research into what they are actually supporting and making an educated decision. Still, there were some strong personalities in the debate, and I wish we’d had time to say a bit more.
In fact, that’s pretty much the over-arching theme of my presentation - “Whale Sharks and Tourism - Finding the Balance”. Who doesn’t want to swim with a whale shark? However, we have to recognize that by being in the water we are affecting them. The whale shark code of conduct has been developed so you don’t scare them off, but studies show certain actions of ours cause them to exhibit avoidance behaviours (Quiros 2007). When we talk about tourism, we need to remember the multiplier effect. One shark cutting an interaction short might not seem like a lot. But what if it’s several times a day, every day. If they are there to feed at the surface, what’s the effect of driving them away? If they avoid certain areas because of tourists, what’s the effect on migration patterns. And this is all without feeding them.
I also touched on the issue of the controversial feeding practices in Oslob, Cebu. But that is a whole other post, for another time.
I hope that at least one person walked away thinking that they should do their own research before booking a holiday. To educate themselves, and make informed choices. I want people to start taking responsibility for their tourism, and not to assume that any and all wildlife tourism or nature tourism is “ecotourism”. It has a strict definition, and if you really want to support ecotourism, you need to do your research.
Passionate issues aside, I met up with old friends and mentors, met so many new and amazing people and long-time heros of mine. I manage to eat some of the amazing Singaporean food I have missed, and escape the heat of Philippine summer which might be the end of me. It was one of my best weekends ever.
Thanks for writing! Don’t be sad! I’m glad I could help you figure out what you want or don’t want to do. That’s one of the hardest things (esp. for me). I loved research whilst I was doing my degree, but I too have moved into work that takes the research and translates it for a wider audience to spread awareness and lobby for environmental protection.
So you can love marine life in your own way, don’t feel bad at figuring out what you want to do!
I knew after I did a marine biology fieldtrip (read About), and just never changed direction. But I have a friend who did English Lit at Uni and was all set to go into Theatre and got side-tracked into environmental advocacy.
Conservation should always be based on sound science, and you’d need a degree to get that science but conservation isn’t just getting the data. It’s education, awareness, community work, lobbying, policy, law, negotiation, project management. There are SO many skills needed - it’s extremely variable work, especially that most are working on a tight budget. And a Science degree doesn’t necessarily teach you those skills. In fact, most don’t.
So Conservation needs scientists, but it also needs people people! It’s not the end of the world if you decide to do one or the other. You could do either, and dabble in the other and come out a well-rounded individual fit for conservation!
The sting from a Portuguese man-of-war hurts like hell, so most people avoid the jellyfish-like creatures. Not Aaron Ansarov — he and his wife don rubber gloves and collect them when they wash up on the beach near their home in Delray Beach, Florida.
They take the creatures back to their house and Ansarov photographs them on a makeshift light table and then mirrors the image in Photoshop. He shot dozens of them this past winter and the result is a unique, psychedelic portfolio.