marine biology

Science Art: Jupiter's Rings by LORRI, 2007.

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The New Horizons Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) snapped this photo of Jupiter’s ring system on February 24, 2007, from a distance of 7.1 million kilometers (4.4 million miles).

This processed image shows a narrow ring, about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) wide, with a fainter sheet of material inside it. The faint glow extending in from the ring is likely caused by fine dust that diffuses in toward Jupiter. This is the outer tip of the “halo,” a cloud of dust …

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SONG: Thirty-Five Minutes (from Earth)

SONG: “Thirty-Five Minutes (from Earth)”.

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE:Based on “NASA Windbots Could Explore Gas Giant Jupiter”, Sky News, 24 July 2015, as used in the post as used in the post “Windbots to explore Jupiter – the bumpier the ride, the better..”

ABSTRACT: The planet Jupiter is 35 light-minutes from Earth (give or take a couple of minutes depending on where in its orbit the planet is).

So a robot floating in the turbulent winds of Jupiter would take that long to send a mes…

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Science Art: Doree, Zeus, Faber by Edward Donovan

DoreeZeusFaber_EdwardDonovan

Three names for one little fish. And those are just the beginning.

I found this one on the Scientific Illustration tumblog, which quoted Wikipedia on the doree (etc.):

John Dory, St Pierre or Peter’s Fish, refers to fish of the genus Zeus, especially Zeus faber, of widespread distribution. It is an edible benthic coastal marine fish with a laterally compressed olive-yellow body which has a large dark spot, and long spines on the dorsal fin. The dark spot is used to flash an ‘evil ey…

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Science Art: Her Majesty's Cochins; Imported in 1843, published 1904.

HerMajestysCochins
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These are ostensibly Cochin chickens, or forerunners of what we’d call Cochins today. They’re a breed with a *lot* of character, and are uniquely suited, temperamentally, for being “pet” chickens moreso than egg factories or walking meat supplies. Despite the name (after a part of India), they’re originally from China.

This picture is from The Asiatics; Brahmas, Cochins and Langshans, all varieties, their origin; peculiarities of shape and color; egg production; their ma…

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Science Art: Soaking Up the Rays of a Sun-Like Star, by NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle, 2015.

452b_artistconcept_beautyshotClick to embiggen

This is an artist’s impression of a planet just discovered by NASA’s Kepler mission that’s gotten the folks at SETI all excited.

It’s the most Earth-like planet yet discovered. Kepler 452b sits in the “Goldilocks” zone around its star, not too hot and not too cold, and is about the same size (or is a little larger) and made of something like the same stuff as the planet we’re sitting around on right now. It takes 365 days to orbit around its sun, too. NASA’s calling it ou…

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SONG: "Kavachi"

SONG: “Kavachi”.

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE:Based on “Deep-Sea Cameras Reveal a ‘Sharkcano'”, National Geographic Explorers’ Journal, 9 July 2015, as used in the post as used in the post “Live Sharks Discovered Inside A Live Volcano.”

ABSTRACT: There’s nothing I didn’t like about the process of writing this. If I was influenced by anyone in the making of this song, I guess it was The Residents, although the basic structure of it was unabashedly ripped off… myself. For about, oh, 15 ye…

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Science Art: Doree, Zeus, Faber by Edward Donovan

16 August 2015 // 0 Comments

Three names for one little fish. And those are just the beginning. I found this one on the Scientific Illustration tumblog, which quoted Wikipedia on the doree (etc.): John Dory, St Pierre or Peter’s Fish, refers to fish of the genus Zeus, especially Zeus faber, of widespread distribution. It is an edible benthic coastal marine fish with a laterally compressed olive-yellow body which has a large dark spot, and long spines on the dorsal fin. The dark spot is used to flash an ‘evil eye’ if danger approaches. Its large eyes at the front of the head provide it with binocular vision and depth perception, which are important for predators. The John Dory’s eye spot on the side of its body also confuses prey, which are scooped up in its big mouth.

The key to octopuses’ uncanny intelligence is in their genes.

13 August 2015 // 0 Comments

Nature reports that the octopus has, for an invertebrate, a really large genome – including a long sequence of genes that regulates intelligence in “higher” animals: “It’s the first sequenced genome from something like an alien,” jokes neurobiologist Clifton Ragsdale of the University of Chicago in Illinois, who co-led the genetic analysis of the California two-spot octopus (Octopus bimaculoides). … Researchers want to understand how the cephalopods, a class of free-floating molluscs, produced a creature that is clever enough to navigate highly complex mazes and open jars filled with tasty crabs. Surprisingly, the octopus genome turned out to be almost as large as a human’s and to contain a greater number of protein-coding genes — some 33,000, compared with fewer than 25,000 in Homo sapiens. … One of the most remarkable gene groups is the protocadherins, which regulate the development of neurons and the short-range interactions between them. The octopus has 168 of these genes […]

SONG: “Kavachi”

24 July 2015 // 0 Comments

SONG: “Kavachi”. [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE:Based on “Deep-Sea Cameras Reveal a ‘Sharkcano’”, National Geographic Explorers’ Journal, 9 July 2015, as used in the post as used in the post “Live Sharks Discovered Inside A Live Volcano.” ABSTRACT: There’s nothing I didn’t like about the process of writing this. If I was influenced by anyone in the making of this song, I guess it was The Residents, although the basic structure of it was unabashedly ripped off… myself. For about, oh, 15 years or so, I’ve had this vision of Devo doing a cover of a particular Doors song. It’s never going to happen. So I just stole that cover and rewrote it to have words about a sharkcano. Sharks. In a volcano. Filled with acid. Nearly everything you hear here is synthetic, except the main drum beat, which is me beatboxing into a pair of headphones, and the solo, which is a pair of sound […]

Live sharks discovered inside a live volcano.

10 July 2015 // 0 Comments

National Geographic reveals an ecosystem my 10-year-old son might have dreamed up. It’s all lava, acid and sharks. Inside the cauldron of Kavachi is a “sharkcano”: “Absolutely, we were scared,” says [Brennan] Phillips, a National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program grantee. “But one of the ways you can tell that Kavachi is erupting is that you can actually hear it—both on the surface and underwater. Anywhere within 10 miles even, you can hear it rumbling in your ears and in your body.” No one heard rumbling, so they prepared to go right to the rim of the crater. … Even without such theatrics it’s a dangerous place though. “Divers who have gotten close to the outer edge of the volcano have had to back away because of how hot it is or because they were getting mild skin burns from the acid water.” So the team strategically deployed their instruments—including disposable robots, underwater cameras, and National […]

That Deepwater Horizon spill… it’s still killing dolphins.

28 May 2015 // 0 Comments

Nature has the grisly details about the 1,300 dolphin deaths that can be traced to that one incident: The spike in dolphin deaths began shortly before the spill in April 2010, and scientists have struggled to understand whether the two events are related. A study published on 20 May in PLoS ONE finds that many of the dead animals had lung and adrenal-gland lesions that are consistent with exposure to petroleum compounds. That led the study’s authors to conclude that the Deepwater Horizon spill probably drove the mass deaths. … In the latest study, researchers analysed lung and adrenal-gland tissue samples from 46 dolphins that were found dead in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama — areas that experienced significantly elevated levels of petroleum compounds. The team compared these animals with a reference group of 106 dolphins that stranded before the mass deaths began, or outside of the area where these strandings took place. The dolphins that […]

The moonfish is warm-blooded.

18 May 2015 // 0 Comments

Science Daily throws our sense of things slightly out of whack with news that there’s a fish out there that’s entirely warm-blooded: New research by NOAA Fisheries has revealed the opah, or moonfish, as the first fully warm-blooded fish that circulates heated blood throughout its body much like mammals and birds, giving it a competitive advantage in the cold ocean depths. The silvery fish, roughly the size of a large automobile tire, is known from oceans around the world and dwells hundreds of feet beneath the surface in chilly, dimly lit waters. It swims by rapidly flapping its large, red pectoral fins like wings through the water. Fish that typically inhabit such cold depths tend to be slow and sluggish, conserving energy by ambushing prey instead of chasing it. But the opah’s constant flapping of its fins heats its body, speeding its metabolism, movement and reaction times, scientists report in the journal Science. That warm-blooded […]

Lionfish have reached Brazil.

29 April 2015 // 0 Comments

Nature reports on a strikingly beautiful – and utterly destructive – invasive critter that’s swept across warm waters from Ft. Lauderdale to Venezuela: Lionfish have overwhelmed ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean over the past three decades, eating or out-competing native species in what has been called the worst marine invasion ever. Now the fish seem to have extended their range to South America. Researchers reported the first confirmed lionfish in Brazilian waters on 22 April in PLoS ONE. The piscine pioneer was spotted by a group of recreational divers on 10 May 2014 in a reef off Cabo Frio, a municipality of Rio de Janeiro in southeastern Brazil. The divers returned to the site the next day with hand spears, and captured the fish so that scientists could study it. When the researchers analysed the fish’s DNA, they found that it matched the genetic signature of the Caribbean lionfish population, and […]

Vampire squid stranger, even, than previously thought.

20 April 2015 // 0 Comments

Science Daily goes deeper into the singular (and kinda sexy) oddness of the vampire squid: At ocean depths from 500 to 3,000 meters, they don’t swim so much as float, and they get by with little oxygen while consuming a low-calorie diet of zooplankton and detritus. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 20 have found that vampire squid differ from all other living coleoid cephalopods in their reproductive strategy as well. … “Their slow mode of life seems insufficient to support one big reproductive event, unlike other coleoid cephalopods,” says Henk-Jan Hoving, who is working for the Cluster of Excellence “Future Ocean” at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel in Germany. “Perhaps it is therefore that vampire squid return to a gonadal resting phase after spawning, and presumably start accumulating energy for a new reproductive cycle.” In other words, they make a little whoopee, then take a […]

SONG: The Waves Around the Women

24 March 2015 // 0 Comments

SONG: “The Waves Around the Women.” [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE: Based on “Scientists have discovered nature’s newest strongest material“, Washington Post, 18 February 2015,as used in the post “Stronger than spider silk”. ABSTRACT: Two things happened that went into this. First, Allison said, “Can we have one about limpet teeth?” I don’t know just how far her tongue was in her cheek about that, but who cares? Limpet teeth are great! They’re as strong as growing things get! The other thing that happened was I threw my hat into the ring for a Game of Bands thing as a lyricist for what was supposed to be an Asian song. I decided to write a lyric for that in the form of an old Chinese poem called a gushi… a set number of syllables per line (seven), five lines per verse, and each verse subtly changing the semantics of a couple of lines… so that things […]

Stronger than spider silk

20 February 2015 // 2 Comments

Washington Post reveals the natural substance that beats spider silk for toughness, and diamonds for hardness – and it’s limpet teeth: In a study set to come out this month in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, British researchers announced that the teeth of shelled, aquatic creatures called limpets are the strongest biological material on Earth, overtaking the previous record-holder, spider silk. The teeth, which are so small they must be examined with a microscope, are composed of very thin, tightly-packed fibers containing a hard mineral called goethite. Limpets use them to scrape food off of rocks, but lead author Asa Barber said humans can adapt the technology to build better planes, boats and dental fillings. … He found that the material had a strength of 5 gigapascals, about five times the strength of most spider silks. “People are always trying to find the next strongest thing, but spider silk has been the winner […]

Meet the Ruby Seadragon

18 February 2015 // 0 Comments

Science Daily introduces us to a brand new sea creature, bright red and fantastically delicate, dubbed the ruby seadragon: Using DNA and anatomical research tools, Scripps graduate student Josefin Stiller and marine biologists Nerida Wilson of the Western Australia Museum (WAM) and Greg Rouse of Scripps Oceanography found evidence for the new species while analyzing tissue samples supplied by WAM. The researchers then requested the full specimen as well as photographs taken just after it was retrieved from the wild in 2007. They were further surprised by the appearance of the newly identified animal. The color was a bright shade of red and vastly different from the orange tint in Leafy Seadragons and the yellow and purple hues of Common Seadragons. … Stiller identified the original Ruby Seadragon, a male carrying several dozen babies, as part of her graduate research on population genetics of the two known seadragons across the Australian coast (seadragons are found […]

SONG: Not Even Dancing Works

27 December 2014 // 0 Comments

SONG: “Not Even Dancing Works.” [Download] ARTIST: grant. SOURCE: Based on “Zoologger: Dancing in time makes crabs sexual failures“, New Scientist, 4 December 2014, as used in the post “Dancing to the beat makes fiddler crab sexual… failures.” ABSTRACT: Are songs about dancing dumb? I dunno. Hard to resist those plucky little fiddler crabs. I grew up watching them climbing out of their holes in the banks of the Intracoastal and lifting their claws and waving. Hi. Hi. Hi. Here I am. The bridge is based on my memories of their rhythm. The rest of it is a waltz, which is where I go when I go “dance,” for whatever reason. Poor guys. I’m not sure the strings really carry the mood here, but I dunno. Why not the drama? This is, after all, life and death of the species. LYRICS: The moon shines on this beach bar The second Friday every month And the […]

Electric eels are puppet masters

11 December 2014 // 0 Comments

New Scientist pulls back the curtain on how electric eels “remote control” their prey, freezing them right next to their hungry mouths: The experiments that untangled these mechanisms were devised and run by Kenneth Catania at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. In a natural environment, Catania watched an eel hunting and measured its electric discharges. As the eel was poised to strike, it emitted a barrage of high-voltage electric pulses. This stopped the fish in its tracks, allowing the eel to catch it easily. … To work out what was happening, Catania anaesthetised fish, removed their brains, and dangled them behind an electrically permeable agar barrier in an eel tank. Worms were then put into the tank for the eels to feed on, and the electric zaps sent out to catch the worms also reached the fish. After about 3 milliseconds, the fish’s muscles completely contracted. A chemical injected into another brainless fish to stop […]

Fish researchers: “Our mirrors have become USELESS!”

10 October 2014 // 0 Comments

Nature breaks the news to behaviorists – and this is more important than it might seem – that fish don’t really think mirrors are uninvited strangers: “There’s been a very long history of using a mirror as it’s just so handy,” says Robert Elwood, an animal-behaviour researcher at Queen’s University in Belfast, UK. Using a mirror radically simplifies aggression experiments, cutting down the number of animals required and providing the animal being observed with an ‘opponent’ perfectly matched in terms of size and weight. But in a study just published in Animal Behaviour, Elwood and his team add to evidence that many mirror studies are flawed. The researchers looked at how convict cichlid fish (Amatitlania nigrofasciata) reacted both to mirrors and to real fish of their own species. This species prefers to display their right side in aggression displays, which means that they end up alongside each other in a head-to-tail configuration. It is impossible […]

Blue whales have recovered, just about.

9 September 2014 // 0 Comments

It’s taken quite a while, but AP can finally report that blue whales off the coast of California have finally reached pre-whaling-industry levels: Researchers previously assumed that the pre-whaling population was higher than that. However, the study using historical data to estimate the number of whales caught between 1905 and 1971 — when whaling became illegal — estimates the current population is 97 percent as large as it was before 1905.

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