Bermuda coral reefs research, video

This video says about itself:

11 August 2014

2014 Bermuda Deep Reef Expedition

California Academy of Sciences
Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences
Ocean Support Foundation

Initial Characterization of Bermudian
Mesophotic Coral Ecosystems:
Visual Census of Mesophotic Biodiversity
Impact Assessment and Culling of Invasive Lionfish

Hudson Pinheiro
Gretchen Goodbody-Gringley
Elliott Jessup
Alex Chequer

Equipment Support:
Hollis Gear

Elliott Jessup

Small crab’s journey from Bermuda to England

This video from England says about itself:

27 Jan 2014

Columbus Crab, Planes minutus, Gulf weed Crab, washed up on long line buoy, Broad bench, Kimmeridge, Dorset, UK, January 2014.

From daily The Guardian in Britain, with photo there:

Columbus crab crosses the Atlantic – big picture

A tiny crab from Bermuda washes up on Dorset beach after an epic voyage hitching a ride on marine litter carried by the Gulf Stream

Thursday 30 January 2014 10.56 GMT

This Columbus crab (Planes minutus), just 10mm long, was found among common goose barnacles on a longline buoy last week, washed ashore on the Chesil beach, a natural catchment area for marine litter in Dorset. Native to the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda, it drifted away along the Gulf Stream and ended with many objects from the American and Canadian fishing industry on British shores.

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Bermuda bluebirds in trouble

This video from Maine in the USa is called Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebird.

From the University of Chicago in the USA today:

Bluebirds struggle to find happiness on island paradise

55 minutes ago

Island plants and animals are often different from their mainland relatives. In general, the lack of top predators and large herbivores on isolated oceanic islands influences traits of island organisms. Consider, for example, the dodo: this island-dwelling, flightless bird was so fearless that it was hunted to extinction by humans within 200 years of first contact. Human interaction is just one threat to conservation. Differences in the threats posed by pathogens and parasites may also be important for conservation of today’s extinction-prone island populations.

Eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) are familiar to many people living in the eastern United States, and also to residents and tourists in Bermuda, an archipelago with a total area of about 54 square kilometers that lies in the North Atlantic about 1,100 km off the East Coast of the United States. Although the current outlook for the bluebirds in the U.S. is good, their Bermuda relatives have been designated as threatened and vulnerable.

Comparisons of island and continental bird populations can offer new insights to people interested in conserving island birds. We compared island (Bermuda) and continental (Ohio, U.S.) populations of the Eastern bluebird, studying these birds from egg to adult. We investigated how nestlings and adults differed in growth, size and shape, immune function, numbers of eggs and nestlings that pairs produce, and how frequently parents deliver food to their young. We also attempted to identify differences between continental and island birds that, either individually or as part of a broader phenomenon, might intensify the risks of decline typically associated with small and geographically isolated populations, such as the Bermuda bluebirds.

Our study showed that bluebirds in Bermuda differed in a variety of ways from bluebirds in Ohio. For example, adults in Bermuda were lighter weight and had longer wings than the Ohio birds. These differences contrast with the usual changes associated with small animals living on isolated islands. Parents fed their nestlings at equal rates throughout the season in both locations. However, island nestlings grew slower and, as the breeding season progressed, more chicks died in their nests in Bermuda, though no similar seasonal pattern was observed in Ohio. Overall, our results suggest that the Bermuda bluebirds may be adjusted to certain aspects of the island environment but not to others.

Efforts to conserve Bermuda bluebirds may be improved by focusing on the intraseasonal patterns in nestling mortality and, more generally, the survival rates of birds of all ages. Furthermore, conservation planners in Bermuda may benefit by considering the consequences of (1) introduced mammalian and avian predators and competitors and their removal and (2) human-driven changes in populations of the insects that bluebirds eat and feed their chicks. These factors may not only affect survival and mortality rates but may also shape bluebird physiology and reproduction. Ultimately, our study highlights the value of considering the match between an organism, its environment, and its evolutionary history on a population-specific scale. Without this context, identifying detrimental trends is a more challenging proposition.

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Snowy owls, as far as Bermuda

This video from the USA is called NATURE “Magic of the Snowy Owl“.

Recently, there have been/still are northern-hawk owls much further south than usually, in Zwolle in the Netherlands, and in Germany.

This video is about a northern hawk-owl in Gristede, Germany, on 15 November 2013.

There were/are reports on a great grey owl, and on a pygmy owl, in the Netherlands in 2011, and also in December 2013. Both species also much more to the south than one might expect.

Now, across the Atlantic. From Audubon Magazine in the USA:

Notes from a Snowy Owl Invasion

The majestic birds of the far north are traveling as far south as Bermuda.

By Kenn Kaufman

Published: 12/04/2013

Long before it caught the attention of Harry Potter fans, the snowy owl already represented its own kind of magic for fans of the outdoors. This powerful white owl is emblematic of the far north, spending the summer from treeline north to the northernmost land of Canada, Scandinavia, and Siberia. Even in winter, most snowy owls in North America stay near the Arctic Circle, with only a few drifting to southern Canada and the northern United States.

At least, that’s what happens in an average year. About one winter in every four, the numbers of snowy owls moving south in early winter are noticeably increased. Then the ghostly birds are spotted in dozens of locations south of the Canadian border, creating excitement among the local birders.

We had seen a big flight just two years ago, in winter 2011-2012, with owls from coast to coast and many in the interior south to Kansas and Missouri. The following winter, 2012-2013, had seen a smaller “echo” flight develop. So we assumed that numbers would be much lower this year, in a return to “normal.”

We were wrong.

During the last week of November and first days of December 2013, it’s become apparent that something is going on with snowy owls. Even people who pay close attention to bird records were taken by surprise because it developed so rapidly.

Along the short coastline of New Hampshire, it’s not too unusual for one or two snowies to show up. This year one was found as early as November 22. But by the 30th, at least 12 were on or near the New Hampshire coast, with up to five visible from one spot. Just to the south, in Massachusetts, a few snowy owls appear every winter. This year on December 3, observers counted at least eight in the immediate Boston area, plus five visible from one spot in Salisbury, 13 visible from one vantage point in Rowley, and others at scattered sites on the coast. In Maine, compilers struggled to keep up with all the sightings of multiple birds along the coast, including several well offshore at Monhegan Island.

The birds are going south, too. Multiples are scattered around New Jersey. In Delaware, the last previous record had involved a single bird in 2005, but by the beginning of December the state had at least five, possibly seven. Two had reached Virginia. One on the Outer Banks of North Carolina provided one of very few records for that state, but then a second bird was found inland.

The numbers of snowy owls, their sudden arrival, and the southward extent of the flight all have been noteworthy. But what really stands out about this year’s invasion, so far, is the fact that it is focused so far east. There have been some good counts around the eastern Great Lakes (such as eight along the Lake Erie shoreline at Cleveland, Ohio, and four at the airport at Syracuse, New York), but the majority of the birds have been found along the Atlantic Coast–or even off the coast.

Newfoundland is the easternmost part of Canada, a very large island at the mouth of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It’s not unusual for snowy owls to arrive there in winter. This year, three were found on November 15 in the Cape Race area, but their numbers increased rapidly. Bruce Mactavish and friends found 42 birds there on November 30, a number that Mactavish regarded as “staggering.” But the very next day, the same group of observers scoured the same area again and counted 138 snowy owls! These were all in the general vicinity of Cape Race, at the extreme southeastern tip of Newfoundland. If an owl were to fly south from there, it wouldn’t see land again until it reached Bermuda.

The island group of Bermuda lies about 600 miles off the coast of the southeastern United States and 1,200 miles south of Newfoundland. With its subtropical climate, it hardly seems like habitat for snowy owls, but there have been a couple of past records. This fall, at least two and probably three have arrived there. For multiples to have reached this isolated bit of land, we can only imagine how many of the owls must be out flying over the open waters of the Atlantic.

So–why is this happening? So far, we don’t have a complete explanation. The majority of the invading owls are heavily marked young birds, hatched this year, so evidently snowy owls had very good breeding success this year in the eastern Canadian Arctic. And evidently there isn’t enough food in the Arctic now to sustain them, so they are moving south. But are there exceptional conditions in the Arctic right now–unusual weather, unusual lack of sea ice–that would be affecting the owls’ movements? We are still working on that question.

This video is about a snowy owl, in Monroe County, New York, USA.

Snowy owls ruffling feathers at N.Y.-area airports: here.

New York decides that shooting snowy owls probably isn’t the best idea after all: here.

Two Dutch humpback whales

This video is called Humpback whales filmed up close and underwater in Bermuda.

According to Ecomare museum Twitter messages, and regional TV, and RTL TV, there is not one humpback whale today near the Dutch coast (Castricum), as reported earlier, but two: a mother and a child.

People on the beach are cheering.

Photos are here.

Humpback whales off Dutch coast

This video is called Humpback whales filmed up close and underwater in Bermuda.

Today, two humpback whales, swimming in the North Sea, near the Dutch coastal village Castricum. They were blowing.

UPDATE: they seem to be an adult female with her baby.

Re-discovery of ‘extinct’ animals

Today, the horrible news from Norway. A racist murders children because their parents are Social Democrats. All my best wishes to their families and other survivors.

About twenty youngsters are still missing at the moment that I write. May they be found soon, safe and sound.

This video is called Bermuda’s Treasure Island / Bermuda Petrel feeding chick.

Fortunately, there is good news as well.

From io9 blog:

Ten extinct animals that have been rediscovered

Jonathan Wilkins — Recently, the Borneo Toad was rediscovered after 87 years. Although certainly rare, the Borneo Toad is not the only animal to have been lost for years. In fact, it did not even have to wait the longest.

Here are ten animals that similarly had become lost to time and thought extinct, only to shockingly return decades, and sometimes centuries, later.

1. Bermuda Petrel
When the Spanish explorers first came to Bermuda, the eerie call of these birds would scare them away. However, with the eventual arrival of the Spanish and new predators like dogs and cats, the bird was believed to have gone extinct in the 1600′s. And that belief remained for another 350 years, until a team eventually found some in the Castle Harbor Inlets in 1951. The species at one point numbered millions, but at the time of their rediscovery, there were only 36. There are currently about 180 alive today.

2. Caspian Horse
Although known to the ancient world, these small horses were forgotten after 700 AD and were thought to be extinct by modern scientists. In 1965, an American-born Iranian princess’ search for horses small enough for her children to ride eventually brought her to the Elbruz Mountains where she spotted these horses. Standing at a distinctively small 40 inches high, she investigated and realized they could potentially be the lost Caspian Horse. DNA tests eventually proved her belief to be true and today the Caspian Horse can be found in various places throughout the world, including the United States and England.

3. Chacoan Peccary
Originally described in 1930 based off of fossil records, this pig-like animal was believed to have been extinct for 10,000 years. Native to South America, the existence of these two-feet tall creatures were known to natives, but the scientific community knew nothing until 1974. After its discovery, researchers bizarrely found out that its hide had actually been routinely used to trim hats and coats in New York. Currently, there are about 3000 in the world.

4. Coelacanth
In 1932, Marjorie Courtenay Latimer was a curator of a small museum in East London, South Africa. On December 23rd, she went to visit a friend of hers in order to wish him a merry Christmas. This friend, a local sea Captain, had just returned with a fresh catch. Before leaving, she suddenly noticed something bizarre amongst the caught fish and investigated. She described her discovery as such: “the most beautiful fish I had ever seen, five feet long, and a pale mauve blue with iridescent silver markings.” Soon after, a local chemistry teacher described the event in a cable reading: “MOST IMPORTANT PRESERVE SKELETON AND GILLS = FISH DESCRIBED” She had discovered the Coelacanth, a living fossil that is believed to have been in existence for 400 million years.

5. Cuban Solenodon
First discovered in 1861, only 37 times has this bizarre rat-like species with a poisonous bite ever been caught. In 1970, it was labeled extinct as the last sighting had been in 1890. However, in 1974 and 1975, three were captured. Since then, finding these solitary, nocturnal creatures has been rare. By the time one was found in 2003, many had thought that the animal had gone extinct. It was treated to two days of study, given the name Alejandrito, and then was released back into the wild.

6. Gilbert’s Potoroo
First discovered in 1841, this rabbit-size Australian marsupial last appeared in 1879 before waiting until 1994 to reappear. They were believed to be extinct by 1909 and a lengthy search in the 1970s found no signs of their existence. In November 1994, a team studying Quokkas accidentally caught a few in their traps. Upon further inspection and comparison with fossil-records, they realized that they had found this lost species. There are currently less than 100 in the world.

7. La Gomera Giant Lizard
Despite being about a half-yard long, clumsy, and slow-moving, this Lizard cleverly avoided detection long enough to be thought of as extinct for hundreds of years. In fact, all scientific knowledge of the reptile had originally come from fossil records. It was eventually found in 1999 when scientists found six in the crannies of the cliffs of an island in the Canary Island. Easily attacked by predators like the domestic cat, the Lizard has only slowly been making a comeback with less than 200 alive today.

8. Madagascar Serpent Eagle
This eagle had been believed to be extinct after going sixty years without being seen. In 1993, scientist Russell Thorstrom changed that by simply going for a walk through the forest. He described the experience as such: “It was about 5:30 in the morning, and I was out learning the trails in an area I was assigned to survey. I heard this vocalization I hadn’t heard before, and then I saw this big raptor fly…Then, around 11:30, we ran into it again and got a clear view with binoculars: there was absolutely no doubt.” There are less than 1000 of these medium-sized eagles still alive today.

9. Takahe
The beautiful, flightless bird from New Zealand was believed to have gone extinct in the late 19th century. In 1948, Dr. Geoffrey Orbell changed that with his discovery of the bird in Fiorland’s Murchison Mountains. He explained: “Suddenly I saw in a clearing in the snow grass a bird with a bright red beak and a blue and green coloring. And there, no more than twenty metres away from us stood a living Notornis, the bird that was supposed to be extinct.” There are currently less than 300 still alive.

10. Worcester’s Buttonquail
This rare quail from the Philippines was believed to be extinct when it suddenly showed up at a poultry market in Luzon in 2009. Previously, it was known only by drawings from decades-old museum specimens. The bird was sold…and then eaten. Its reappearance and the buttonquail’s unobtrusive nature means there could be more Worcester’s Buttonquails living undetected.

August 2011. Extinction is a focal issue among scientists, policy makers and the general public. Each year, numerous species which are thought to have disappeared are rediscovered, yet most of these rediscoveries remain on the brink of extinction: here.

New Zealand Storm-petrel was presumed extinct until its rediscovery by bird watchers in New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf Marine Park in 2003. A team of ornithologists have used support from The Birdlife International Community Conservation Fund to find the first strong evidence that the tiny, Critically Endangered birds are breeding in the area: here.

11 Animals We May Allow To Go Extinct Because They’re Not Cute And Fuzzy: here.