Where Sea Turtles Spend Their ‘Lost Years’
ERIK STOKSTAD | Science NOW
Now, researchers have published the first satellite tracking data from young sea turtles, charting a leisurely voyage under the sun. The youngsters idly float north along the Gulf Stream, then head toward the Azores. Along the way, they spend most of their time riding the waves, and the sun helps raise their body temperature. “The data from this handful of turtles could lead to some really important developments” in understanding turtle populations, says Nathan Putman, a turtle biologist at Oregon State University, Corvallis.
The early life of loggerheads and other sea turtles used to be called “the lost years,” because no one knew exactly where they went. But over decades, researchers pieced together the animals’ natural history from ship observations, the pattern of ocean currents, and other data. More recently, other scientists have studied isotopes from turtle tissue to analyze their diet and past locations and created computer simulations of their journey. The basic picture is this: Hatchlings head out to sea to avoid fish, sharks, and other predators. Once off the continental shelf, they eventually end up in a current, called the North Atlantic subtropical g. A few years later, they come back to their birthplaces on the East Coast of the United States.
The transmitters survived between 27 and 220 days, during which some turtles roamed as far as 4300 kilometers, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. As expected, the turtles all headed north with the Gulf Stream, then most turned eastward around Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. The paths were consistent with what Putman’s computer models had predicted. The turtles weren’t single-mindedly heading toward the Azores, but looping around in small eddies and trying to avoid the coldest water. They also spent almost all of their time on the surface, and Mansfield suspects that this is to help stay warm. “It’s kind of a common sense thing,” Mansfield says. (They may also be waiting to develop the lung capacity for diving.)
Baby Black Ribbon Moray Eel
There are over 200 species of Moray eels. Worldwide, not one of them had been successfully bred until recently. At Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn in Austria, a Black Ribbon Moray laid a clutch of fertilized eggs. This fact alone is quite a sensation. But it gets better: some larvae even hatched!
"It is the first time that the hatching of Morays could be observed. Up to now, nobody knew what the larvae look like, what they eat and how they behave“, explains the zoo’s director Dagmar Schratter.
The breeding of Morays is completely new territory. The successful event in Schönbrunn Zoo supplies the first information - completely unknown up to now - about the development of their eggs and larvae.
Crowd-funding is the coolest new way to fund science research. I even got an email through coral-list about it this morning.
JR here is looking into the sex of (critically endangered) sea bass. The funds will pay for a data-logging hydrophone (underwater camera) that costs $6000 + and is crucial for the research.
Put good out in the world, you never know when you’ll need it in return. And who doesn’t want to know more about Giant Fish Sex?
Palau to ban commercial fishing, promote tourism
By AP News Feb 05, 2014
The president of Palau declared Tuesday that his Pacific island nation will ban commercial fishing and become a marine sanctuary.
President Tommy Remengesau Jr. said in a keynote address to a U.N. meeting on “Healthy Oceans and Seas” that once current fishing contracts with Japan, Taiwan and some private companies expire only fishing by island residents and tourists will be allowed in its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
Remengesau said establishing “a 100 percent marine sanctuary” will enable Palau to preserve “a pristine environment” and promote snorkeling, scuba diving and ecotourism as an alternative way to grow its economy.
“It will make a difference if it’s just a matter of feeding ourselves and feeding the tourists,” he told a news conference. “As it is right now, we’re feeding the tourist and ourselves plus millions of people outside the territory.”
Palau’s population of about 20,000 people is spread across 250 islands. It shares maritime boundaries with Indonesia, the Philippines, and Micronesia.
The country announced in 2009 it was creating the world’s first shark sanctuary by banning all commercial shark fishing in its territorial waters. It has also adopted the most restrictive law against bottom trawling. In 2012, its Rock Islands Southern Lagoon was named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Remengesau, a fisherman, said he has seen fish stocks dwindle and the size of fish grow smaller around his island nation.
With a marine sanctuary, he said, “we will do our part of making sure that there’s a healthy stock of fish in Palau that then can migrate to other places.”
Remengesau said snorkelers and scuba divers come to Palau to see sharks, which can live up to 100 years.
According to a study, he said a live shark is worth $1.9 million as a tourist attraction compared to a dead shark which is worth several hundred dollars for its fins for shark fin soup, which is an Asian delicacy.
To enforce the ban on commercial fishing, Remengesau said Palau is working with potential partners to obtain radar equipment and drones to monitor its waters.
Remengesau said climate change and global warming have been having a serious impact.
“For us in Palau and the Pacific islands, there’s been a tremendous amount of what we call unpredictable weather patterns that brings typhoons and storms and all kinds of destructive forces to the islands,” he said. “We have other problems of sea level rises.”
Palau is also urging the United Nations to adopt a new goal to clean up the world’s oceans, restore fish stocks and bring some equity to resources being taken by others.
Remengesau said “the fishing revenue has been breadcrumbs — it’s been nothing compared to, or in fairness to the billion dollar industry that this whole fishing industry is.”
Other than a certain week in August whose name we shall not speak here, 2013 was a great year for both shark science and the communication of that shark science. There were many important and fasci…
A great year for shark science. Congrats to my dive mentor Medel Silvosa on his contribution to #9!
Safety in Numbers? Not So for Corals
"The last 10 thousand years have been especially beneficial for corals. Acropora species, such as table coral, elkhorn coral and staghorn coral, were favored in competition due to their rapid growth. This advantageous rapid growth may have been attained in part by neglecting investment in few defenses against predation, hurricanes, or warm seawater. Acropora species have porous skeletons, extra thin tissue, and low concentrations of carbon and nitrogen in their tissues. The abundant corals have taken an easy road to living a rich and dominating life during the present interglacial period, but the payback comes when the climate becomes less hospitable.”
University of Hawaii (2013, November 15). Safety in numbers? Not so for corals. ScienceDaily.
Silly Acropora cut corners in Evolution class.
True(ish) facts about the Cuttlefish
Skeptics Vs Reality
Average of NASA GISS, NOAA NCDC, and HadCRUT4 monthly global surface temperature anomalies from January 1970 through November 2012 (green) with linear trends applied to the time frames Jan ‘70 - Oct ‘77, Apr ‘77 - Dec ‘86, Sep ‘87 - Nov ‘96, Jun ‘97 - Dec ‘02, and Nov ‘02 - Nov ‘12.
via The Guardian
I’m going to ruin sea otters for you. Or at least Im going to tarnish their reputation as some of the most charming little beasties in the seas. For as cute as they are while intertwining paws at an aquarium, frolicking among the wafting fronds of California kelp forests, or…
These mobile tools help you become a citizen scientist, whether you’re documenting wildlife or measuring the effects of light pollution
NB. Don’t use your phone as a secchi disk!