Endangered Ocean Creatures Beyond the Cute and Cuddly
by Emily Frost
Our oceans are taking a beating from overfishing, pollution, acidification and warming, putting at risk the many creatures who make their home in seawater. But when most people think of struggling ocean species, the first animals that come to mind are probably whales, seals or sea turtles.
Sure, many of these large (and adorable) animals play an important part in the marine ecosystem and are threatened with extinction due to human activities, but in fact, of the 94 marine species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), only 45 are marine mammals and sea turtles. As such, these don’t paint the whole picture of what happens under the sea. What about the remaining 49 that form a myriad of other important parts of the underwater web?
These less charismatic members of the list include corals, sea birds, mollusks and, of course, fish. They fall under two categories: endangered or threatened. According to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (pdf), one of the groups responsible for implementing the ESA, a species is considered endangered if it faces imminent extinction, and and a species is considered threatened if it is likely to become endangered in the future. A cross section of these less-known members of the ESA’s list are described in detail here…
(read more: Smithsonian Magazine)
(photos: T - Atlantic Salmon by E. Peter Steenstra/USFWS; ML - Short-tailed albatross by USFWS; MR - White abalone by John Butler, NOAA; B - Staghorn Coral by Albert Kok)
A mysterious marine monster washed ashore in New Zealand last week — and it’s not the first time. DNA analysis provides some answers. It turned out to be a…
Adam Voorhes loaded a Serrano pepper with fire crackers and connected his camera to a sound sensitive trigger, capturing these remarkable images for a magazine ad. We can’t really think of a better way to advertise a pepper’s spiciness.
After about four-hundred and twenty hours and a whopping two tons of glass was broken, Aérial by French artist Baptiste Debombourg flows like a flash flood of glass into the Coloumn Hall in Cologne. The installation freezes time as if glass was petrified when the crystalline structure was breaking.
The Bubble Snail
This nudibranch is called Haminoea cymbalum and it literally looks like it was hand blown by a master glass artist. But of course, nature has done all the work for us and made this beauty real. They are often found in very large populations, which I can only imagine must be quite a sight to see.
To Sex-Starved Squid in the Dark, Either Gender Will Do
by Stephanie Pappas
Meeting girls is tough if you’re a male squid living in the deep, dark waters off the coast of California. You may run across your own species only rarely — and when you do, the deep-sea gloom makes it hard to tell whether your new pal is a guy or gal.
But one squid species has come up with a work-around to this matchmaking problem, a new study finds. The eight-armed lotharios simply mate with any squid of their species that crosses their path. If that means wasting some sperm on male-to-male matings, the squid don’t seem to mind.
This same-sex squid behavior can’t necessarily be taken as more evidence of homosexual bonding in the wild, according to study researcher Henk-Jan Hoving, a postdoctoral researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif. Rather, the squid seem to mate indiscriminately out of necessity…
(read more: Live Science)
the mariana trench is full of aliens. click-through for more.