ucresearch:

Mysterious ailment is wiping out starfish

UC Santa Cruz marine biologist Pete Raimondi is leading a team of scientists, laboratory technicians and geneticists to find the culprit.  The Ochre star, which is common along the Pacific coast, has been dying in large numbers in recent months:

"Where it has hit, it has been pretty lethal.  This is going on up and down the coast. It’s going to change what’s out there pretty fundamentally."

Read more about the story here

Also a while ago we visited a researcher at Bodega Marine Lab who talked about why these creatures are so important to marine ecosystems. 

Watch the video here

stufftoblowyourmind:

skeptv:

Mantis Shrimp Vs Octopus … the ultimate fight!

In this epic battle, we witness who would win if a mantis shrimp was pitted against a veined octopus. It’s a face to face, eye to eye crusade of the octopus versus the mantis shrimp!

via Weird underWater World.

That’s right. Suck it, Internet’s sudden obsession with Mantis shrimp. /Robert

laurajmoss:

Fresh out of the water, newborn sea lion pups roll in sand to protect themselves from the blazing sun in San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands.

laurajmoss:

Fresh out of the water, newborn sea lion pups roll in sand to protect themselves from the blazing sun in San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands.

(via mothernaturenetwork)

neaq:

Visitor Gifs: We just love pictures of jellies. But we really love sea jelly GIFs. Thanks for sharing! Come see the jellies.

jellyfish @ New England Aquarium (Boston)

amnhnyc:

When most people think of penguins, they think of Antarctica, where these flightless seabirds waddle over the ice and dive for fish and krill. But some penguins live on the coast of South America, thanks to a cold, north-flowing ocean current, and one tiny penguin lives in the tropics. Instead of huddling for warmth, it must battle the blazing heat of the sunbaked Galápagos Islands.
The Galápagos penguin is not only the smallest penguin and the only one found near the equator, but it is probably the only penguin that has to hold its wings outstretched over its webbed feet to prevent sunburn. 
© AMNH Library/5917
For more on penguins, check out the film on view now in the LeFrak IMAX Theater.

amnhnyc:

When most people think of penguins, they think of Antarctica, where these flightless seabirds waddle over the ice and dive for fish and krill. But some penguins live on the coast of South America, thanks to a cold, north-flowing ocean current, and one tiny penguin lives in the tropics. Instead of huddling for warmth, it must battle the blazing heat of the sunbaked Galápagos Islands.

The Galápagos penguin is not only the smallest penguin and the only one found near the equator, but it is probably the only penguin that has to hold its wings outstretched over its webbed feet to prevent sunburn. 

© AMNH Library/5917

For more on penguins, check out the film on view now in the LeFrak IMAX Theater.

ofpaperandponies:

astronomy-to-zoology:

Epimeria rubrieques

…is a large species of amphipod that is native to the waters of the eastern Antarctic Ocean. E.rubrieques is an opportunistic feeder and has been observed both scavenging and showcasing predatory behavior. It has been mostly observed on surfaces but is is known to be a motile epibenthic swimmer as well (meaning it rarely swims).This species was recently discovered and much of its biology and ecology still remains unknown. 

Phylogeny

Animalia-Arthropoda-Crustacea-Malacostraca-Amphipoda-Gammaridea-Epimeriidae-Epimeria-rubrieques

Images: nasa.gov and Torben Riehl

Cuties!

(via stufftoblowyourmind)

mothernaturenetwork:

Jellyfish Lake will stun you (no stingers involved)
kqedscience:

Crazy living rock is one of the weirdest creatures we’ve ever seen
“The fact that this sea creature looks exactly like a rock with guts is not even the weirdest thing about it. It’s also completely immobile like a rock — it eats by sucking in water and filtering out microorganisms — and its clear blood mysteriously secretes a rare mineral called vanadium.”

kqedscience:

Crazy living rock is one of the weirdest creatures we’ve ever seen

The fact that this sea creature looks exactly like a rock with guts is not even the weirdest thing about it. It’s also completely immobile like a rock — it eats by sucking in water and filtering out microorganisms — and its clear blood mysteriously secretes a rare mineral called vanadium.”

(via npr)

earthlynation:

The Cuttlefish! Photography Shot By BirdinByNoon

This is perhaps the most determined-looking cuttlefish I’ve ever seen.

earthlynation:

The Cuttlefish! Photography Shot By BirdinByNoon

This is perhaps the most determined-looking cuttlefish I’ve ever seen.

Trapped in a Meeting: The Toothpick FishStuff You Should Know

Chuck tells Josh about a creature known as the toothpick fish, which finds its prey by sensing urea and ammonia excreted from other fish’s lungs, and relates some helpful advice in regards to swimming in the Amazon river. If it’s Monday, it must be Trapped in a Meeting.

underthevastblueseas:

image

Emperor penguins swimming. Photo by Polar Cruises

1. Depending on which scientist you ask, there are 1720 species of penguins alive today, all of which live in the southern half of the globe. The most northerly penguins are Galapagos penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus), which occasionally poke their heads north of the equator.

2. While they can’t fly through the air with their flippers, many penguin species take to the air when they leap from the water onto the ice. Just before taking flight, they release air bubbles from their feathers. This cuts the drag on their bodies, allowing them to double or triple their swimming speed quickly and launch into the air.

3. Most penguins swim underwater at around four to seven miles per hour (mph), but the fastest penguin—the gentoo (Pygoscelis papua)—can reach top speeds of 22 mph!

image

Gentoo penguins “porpoise” by jumping out of the water. They can move faster through air than water, so will often porpoise to escape from a predator. Photo: Gilad Rom (Flickr)

4. Penguins don’t wear tuxedos to make a fashion statement: it helps them be camouflaged while swimming. From above, their black backs blend into the dark ocean water and, from below, their white bellies match the bright surface lit by sunlight. This helps them avoid predators, such as leopard seals, and hunt for fish unseen.

5. The earliest known penguin fossil was found in 61.6 million-year old Antarctic rock, about 4-5 million years after the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs.Waimanu manneringi stood upright and waddled like modern day penguins, but was likely more awkward in the water. Some fossil penguins were much larger than any penguin living today, reaching 4.5 feet tall!

6. Like other birds, penguins don’t have teeth. Instead, they have backward-facing fleshy spines that line the inside of their mouths. These help them guide their fishy meals down their throat.

image

An endangered African penguin brays with its mouth open, showing off the bristly inside of its mouth. Photo by Dimi P (Flickr)

7.Penguins are carnivores: they feed on fish, squid, crabs, krill and other seafood they catch while swimming.During the summer, an active, medium-sized penguin will eat about 2 pounds of food each day, but in the winter they’ll eat just a third of that.

8. Eating so much seafood means drinking a lot of saltwater, but penguins have a way to remove it. The supraorbital gland, located just above their eye, filters salt from their bloodstream, which is then excreted through the bill—or by sneezing! But this doesn’t mean they chug seawater to quenchtheir thirst: penguins drink meltwater from pools and streams and eat snow for their hydration fix.

9. Another adaptive gland—the oil (also called preen) gland—produces waterproofing oil. Penguins spread this across their feathers to insulate their bodies and reduce friction when they glide through the water.

10. Once a year, penguins experience a catastrophic molt. (Yes, that’s the official term.) Most birds molt (lose feathers and regrow them) a few at a time throughout the year, but penguins lose them all at once. They can’t swim and fish without feathers, so they fatten themselves up beforehand to survive the 23 weeks it takes to replace them.

image

An emperor penguin loses its old feathers (the fluffy ones) as new ones grow in underneath. Photo by Carlie Reum, National Science Foundation

11. Feathers are quite important to penguins living around Antarctica during the winter. Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri) have the highest feather density of any bird, at 100 feathers per square inch. In fact, the surface feathers can get even colder than the surrounding air, helping to keep the penguin’s body stays warm.

12. All but two penguin species breed in large colonies for protection, ranging from 200 to hundreds of thousands of birds. (There’s safety in numbers!) But living in such tight living quarters leads to an abundance of penguin poop—so much that it stains the ice! The upside is that scientists can locate colonies from space just by looking for dark ice patches.

13. Climate change will likely affect different penguin species differently—but in the Antarctic, it appears that the loss of krill, a primary food source, is the main problem. In some areas with sea ice melt, krill density has decreased 80 percent since the 1970s, indirectly harming penguin populations. However, some colonies of Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) have grown as the melting ice exposes more rocky nesting areas.

14. Of the 17 penguin species, the most endangered is New Zealand’s yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes): only around 4,000 birds survive in the wild today. But other species are in trouble, including the erect-crested penguin (Eudyptes sclateri) of New Zealand, which has lost approximately 70 percent of its population over the past 20 years, and the Galapagos penguin, which has lost more than 50 percent since the 1970s.

(via thescienceofreality)