The blueish female is about 25 centimeter; the reddish male is smaller.
This video is called ♥♥ Coral Reef Fish (3 hours).
Discovery of a living coral reef in the coastal waters of Iraq
Thomas Pohl, Sameh W. Al-Muqdadi, Malik H. Ali, Nadia Al-Mudaffar Fawzi, Hermann Ehrlich & Broder Merkel
06 March 2014
Until now, it has been well-established that coral complex in the Arabian/Persian Gulf only exist in the coastal regions of Bahrain, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates and it was thought that there are no coral reefs in Iraq.
However, here for the first time we show the existence of a living 28 km2 large coral reef in this country. These corals are adapted to one of the most extreme coral-bearing environments on earth: the seawater temperature in this area ranges between 14 and 34°C. The discovery of the unique coral reef oasis in the turbid coastal waters of Iraq will stimulate the interest of governmental agencies, environmental organizations, as well as of the international scientific community working on the fundamental understanding of coral marine ecosystems and global climate today.
This video is called Great White Shark Living Legend Documentary.
By Alyssa Danigelis, Discovery News:
Great White Shark On Historic Marathon Migration
March 07, 2014 10:03am ET
Lydia is being monitored by the marine nonprofit Ocearch as part of its ongoing project to help researchers and scientists gather previously unattainable data on shark movement, biology and health. The 14-foot-6-inch great white has migrated more than 19,000 miles since being tagged, and is about to cross the mid-Atlantic ridge — closer to Europe than the United States.
Over time, Ocearch has collaborated with over 50 researchers from more than 20 institutions. The team that tagged Lydia included Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries senior scientist Greg Skomal. Tracking helps the scientists learn more about great white shark biology, he told me last summer. And that could mean providing beach managers with better information to keep both the sharks and the public safe.
The Ocearch team uses two different kinds of electronic tags, Skomal explained. One is a pop-up satellite tag that can archive data such as depth and light levels. The tag can be programmed to release from the shark and then float on the water surface to transmit data back to the scientists.
Another is a real-time satellite tag, which connects to a satellite whenever the shark comes to the surface, providing data about the shark’s movements so scientists — and the public — can follow a shark’s migration patterns over a long time. This is what Lydia has.
In order to tag a great white shark, the team first had to lure it to a smaller boat — no easy task — then catch the shark safely and transfer it to the main Ocearch vessel via hydraulic lift. The team only had 15 minutes to attach tracking tech, do scans, take a small sample and then release the shark. In August, they successfully tagged a 14-foot-2-inch great white named Katharine and followed her progress from Cape Cod to Daytona Beach, Florida.
In the future, an underwater robot could even track tagged great white sharks. Skomal, a Shark Week veteran (video), has been working on an autonomous underwater shark tracking robot that can compete with the robots that West Coast shark trackers Chris Lowe and Chris Clark are developing. “For science purposes it’s great to know everything you possibly can about all the animals on Earth. White sharks are no exception,” Skomal said.
This video is called Asia’s Campaign to Stop Shark Fin Consumption.
From Wildlife Extra:
Hotel chain takes shark fin off the menu
March 2014: Next month Hilton Worldwide will be taking shark fin dishes off the menu at all restaurants and food and beverage facilities across Asia Pacific. This is the final step of the company’s plan to ban shark fin from all its establishments.
“We made a decisive commitment to influence consumer demand and ensure operational compliance across our portfolio of hotels by taking a measured country-by-country approach. In placing a global ban on shark fin, we take action in support of environmental conservation efforts worldwide, and progress our efforts in responsible business operations,” said Martin Rinck, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide.
The company’s campaign began in December 2012, when the company decided to remove shark fin from its Chinese and Southeast Asian establishments, and only serving it on request.
A ban then followed in Southeast Asia on 1 September, 2013 and then in Greater China on 1 February, 2014.
“The demand for shark fin in Asia Pacific has been identified as a major cause of decline in global shark populations. Hilton Worldwide’s ban on shark fin will go a long way in this region towards protecting valuable shark species, which are in turn crucial for maintaining the health of our marine ecosystems. Hilton Worldwide’s measured and step-wise approach towards responsible sourcing is a fine example of how businesses with strong leadership can, and should, take responsibility for their impact on the environment,” said Elaine Tan, CEO, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) -Singapore.
This video says about itself:
A “shark‘s eye” view: Witnessing the life of a top predator
28 Feb 2014
Scientists at the University of Hawaii and the University of Tokyo are attaching sophisticated sensors and video cameras to sharks, giving them a “shark’s eye” view of the ocean and revealing new findings about how sharks swim and live in their natural environment. The new research is being presented at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting co-sponsored by the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, The Oceanography Society and the American Geophysical Union.
For more information, visit here.
From Wildlife Extra:
Spanish Mediterranean to be exploited
February 2014: Nearly half of Spanish Mediterranean waters would be open to exploration and exploitation should the proposed gas and oil projects in the area gain approval, warns NGO Oceana.
This number (nearly 12 million hectares) does not include the surrounding areas that would be affected by the seismic acquisitions, which according to estimates by Oceana would increase the threatened surface area to 20 or 22 million hectares, or 65 per cent of the Spanish Mediterranean.
“It is an act of recklessness to have hydrocarbon projects, either in progress or pending approval, covering nearly half of Spanish waters in the Mediterranean,” said Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “We must not wait for a spill to occur to start regretting the damage that has been done. The projects affect fishing grounds and migratory routes of cetaceans, tuna and sharks, so that as soon as the seismic surveys begin, thousands of organisms will be seriously affected.”
The affected regions are Andalusia, with projects over approximately 550,000 hectares in the Alboran Sea, and Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands, where seismic acquisition projects and initial drilling would cover an area of around 11 million hectares if the overlapping areas are excluded. The areas of some of the projects still at the approval phase partly overlap, which would mean zones that might suffer the activities of different companies.
“The determination to exploit hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean would leave Spain out of step with European environmental policy. Fortunately, the government still has time to refuse the permits. The scientific information available regarding the species inhabiting the areas that are to be opened up to oil and gas exploration is more than sufficient reason to do so,” said Ricardo Aguilar, Director of Research for Oceana in Europe.
This video from South Africa says about itself:
Dylan Irion, Swimming Behaviour of the Common Smoothhound Based on Accelerometer Data
A thorough understanding of the behaviour and habitat use of sharks is critical for improving our understanding of the movement ecology and thus the effective conservation of these threatened species. Direct observation of sharks is often difficult to accomplish in the marine environment where access to free-swimming individuals can be restricted by numerous factors.
The miniaturisation and reduced costs of producing sensors for bio-logging has provided several solutions to overcome this obstacle. The accelerometer is a sensor that functions by recording changes in acceleration due to the dynamic motion of a body, and the static acceleration caused by gravity.
In this study I demonstrate the potential for utilising tri-axial accelerometry as a method for characterising the movement of sharks. By attaching accelerometers to captive common smoothhound sharks (Mustelus mustelus) and comparing the accelerometer record to visual observations of their behaviour, I was able to detect tail beat frequency, tail beat amplitude, and body posture.
Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:
Update: Monday 24 Feb 2014, 13:48
On Vlieland, a living shark, more than a meter in size, has beached. Never before such a large shark had washed up [alive] on the Dutch coast. It is a starry smooth-hound shark normally only found in warmer seas.
Hikers found the exhausted shark yesterday on the beach. The fish is injured on its muzzle. It was put back into the sea, but kept beaching again and again. That’s why people brought it to the aquarium in the nature center De Noordwester on Vlieland.
The starry smooth-hound shark is not dangerous to humans. It has no teeth and only eats crustaceans such as shrimps.
According to Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad, the shark shows signs of recovery.
See also here.
Sharks beaches on Vlieland: here.
This video is called Devonian forest.
Devonian Period: Climate, Animals & Plants
By Mary Bagley, Live Science Contributor
February 22, 2014 03:46am ET
The Devonian Period occurred from 416 million to 358 million years ago. It was the fourth period of the Paleozoic Era. It was preceded by the Silurian Period and followed by the Carboniferous Period. It is often known as the “Age of Fishes,” although significant events also happened in the evolution of plants, the first insects and other animals.
Climate and geography
The supercontinent Gondwana occupied most of the Southern Hemisphere, although it began significant northerly drift during the Devonian Period. Eventually, by the later Permian Period, this drift would lead to collision with the equatorial continent known as Euramerica, forming Pangaea.
The mountain building of the Caledonian Orogeny, a collision between Euramerica and the smaller northern continent of Siberia, continued in what would later be Great Britain, the northern Appalachians and the Nordic mountains. Rapid erosion of these mountains contributed large amounts of sediment to lowlands and shallow ocean basins. Sea levels were high with much of western North America under water. Climate of the continental interior regions was very warm during the Devonian Period and generally quite dry.
The Devonian Period was a time of extensive reef building in the shallow water that surrounded each continent and separated Gondwana from Euramerica. Reef ecosystems contained numerous brachiopods, still numerous trilobites, tabulate and horn corals. Placoderms (the armored fishes) underwent wide diversification and became the dominant marine predators. Placoderms had simple jaws but not true teeth. Instead, their mouths contained bony structures used to crush or shear prey. Some Placoderms were up to 33 feet (10 meters) in length. Cartilaginous fish such as sharks and rays were common by the late Devonian. Devonian strata also contain the first fossil ammonites.
By the mid-Devonian, the fossil record shows evidence that there were two new groups of fish that had true bones, teeth, swim bladders and gills. The Ray-finned fish were the ancestors of most modern fish. Like modern fish, their paired pelvic and pectoral fins were supported by several long thin bones powered by muscles largely within the trunk. The Lobe-finned fish were more common during the Devonian than the Ray fins, but largely died out. (The coelacanth and a few species of lungfish are the only Lobe-finned fishes left today.) Lobe-finned fishes had fleshy pectoral and pelvic fins articulating to the shoulder or pelvis by a single bone (humerus or femur), which was powered by muscles within the fin itself. Some species were capable of breathing air through spiracles in the skull. Lobe-finned fishes are the accepted ancestors of all tetrapods.
Plants, which had begun colonizing the land during the Silurian Period, continued to make evolutionary progress during the Devonian. Lycophytes, horsetails and ferns grew to large sizes and formed Earth’s first forests. By the end of the Devonian, progymnosperms such as Archaeopteris were the first successful trees. Archaeopteris could grow up to 98 feet (30 meters) tall with a trunk diameter of more than 3 feet. It had a softwood trunk similar to modern conifers that grew in sequential rings. It did not have true leaves but fern-like structures connected directly to the branches (lacking the stems of true leaves). There is evidence that they were deciduous, as the most common fossils are shed branches. Reproduction was by male and female spores that are accepted as being the precursors to seed-bearing plants. By the end of the Devonian Period, the proliferation of plants increased the oxygen content of the atmosphere considerably, which was important for development of terrestrial animals. At the same time carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, was depleted from earlier levels. This may have contributed to the cooling climate and the extinction event at the end of the Devonian.
Arthropod fossils are concurrent with the earliest plant fossils of the Silurian. Millipedes, centipedes and arachnids continued to diversify during the Devonian Period. The earliest known insect, Rhyniella praecusor, was a flightless hexapod with antennae and a segmented body. Fossil Rhyniella are between 412 million and 391 million years old.
Early tetrapods probably evolved from lobe-finned fishes able to use their muscular fins to take advantage of the predator-free and food-rich environment of the new wetland ecosystems. The earliest known tetrapod is Tiktaalik rosae. Dated from the mid-Devonian, this fossil creature is considered to be the link between the lobe-finned fishes and early amphibians. Tiktaalik was probably mostly aquatic, “walking” on the bottom of shallow water estuaries. It had a fish-like pelvis, but its hind limbs were larger and stronger than those in front, suggesting it was able to propel itself outside of an aquatic environment. It had a crocodile-like head, a moveable neck, and nostrils for breathing air.
The close of the Devonian Period is considered to be the second of the “big five” mass extinction events of Earth’s history. Rather than a single event, it is known to have had at least two prolonged episodes of species depletion and several shorter periods. The Kellwasser Event of the late middle Devonian was largely responsible for the demise of the great coral reefs, the jawless fishes and the trilobites. The Hangeberg Event at the Devonian/Carboniferous Boundary killed the Placoderms and most of the early ammonites. Causes of the extinction are debated but may be related to cooling climate from CO2 depletion caused by the first forests. Although up to 70 percent of invertebrate species died, terrestrial plants and animals were largely unaffected by these extinction events.
This video says about itself:
From Wildlife Extra:
Indonesia’s new protection law for manta rays
This new law represents a major advancement in efforts to conserve manta rays, which in 2013 were added to the list of species regulated under of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).
As of September 2014, all 178 CITES member countries will need to control trade and implement other CITES trade rules for these and several heavily traded shark species so as to ensure that international trade is not a threat to their survival.
“By fully protecting these fishes, the Government of Indonesia has demonstrated its commitment to these new CITES rules while offering real hope for these species’ future in Indonesia and beyond.” said Dr. Stuart Campbell, Director of WCS’s Indonesian Marine Conservation and Fisheries Program.
Among the world’s largest fishes, manta rays have “wingspans” that can exceed seven metres and are long-lived, reaching ages of 20-30 years. they mature late, and give birth to a single pup every two years after a gestation period of one year. As such they are among the least productive of fishes and, thus, exceptionally vulnerable to overfishing.
International market demand for these fishes’ gill rakers (minute, finger-like structures that enable rays to filter zooplankton from water), which are traded for use in an increasingly popular Asian health tonic, has driven dramatic increases in largely unregulated fisheries for manta rays, and depleted their numbers at numerous sites.
Both species are classified as Vulnerable according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Although mantas have been commercially fished in Indonesia, they are far more important economically in the country’s dive tourism industry.
Recent reviews of the tourism value of manta rays have provided irrefutable evidence that these animals are worth far more alive than dead, with a single animal estimated to generate from $100,000 to as much as $1.9 million in dive tourism revenue over its lifetime, as compared with as little as $200 paid for a dead manta at a fish landing site.
“Manta rays are a huge draw for divers seeking out wildlife encounters along Indonesia’s coasts as well as in other parts of the world, such as the Maldives, the Philippines, and Mozambique,” said Dr. Caleb McClennen, Director of WCS’s Marine Program. “We expect that other governments will now follow Indonesia’s lead by capitalizing on the non-extractive value of these fishes and conserving them as a renewable resource for the future.”