This video says about itself:
Sparling (or smelt) spawning run in the River Cree in 2010, this is the last population of Osmerus eperlanus known on the West coast of Scotland. This footage was taken as part of a larger project working on rare fish in the River Cree.
From Wildlife Extra:
Breeding ground sought of small Thames fish that smells of cucumber
There is a call-out to Londoners for volunteers to help scientists find out more about a rare species of British fish, the smelt (Osmersus eperlanus), which curiously smells like cucumbers. It is found in the Thames in central London.
The project by scientists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), funded by a grant of £97,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will launch in March, with the aim of discovering where this silver-coloured fish breeds in the river.
Smelt are an important fish species; not only as a potential food source for other animals but because their presence indicates good health in an estuary.
In the Thames there is a small but significant breeding population, one of the few remaining in the country.
Joe Pecorelli, manager of the London’s Rivers project at ZSL, says: “The Thames is London’s greatest wilderness, yet still there are many things we don’t know about life in the river.
“The fact that the smelt, a nationally rare fish, returned to the Thames 20 years ago after more than a hundred years’ absence is a good sign.
“However, to ensure long-term survival of this species, we need to know where their key breeding grounds are in order to protect them.
“This project will be one of the most ambitious studies of the Thames yet and will see scientists and volunteers surveying the river from Chiswick to Greenwich.”
Pollution and habitat destruction caused the once-common smelt to disappear from South East estuaries during the early 1800s.
Improvements to water quality in the latter half of the 1900s led to a gradual return of the fish to a number of rivers in England, including the Thames.
Today, the smelt is still considered significantly threatened and continues to be relatively rare.
In addition to providing scientists with important information about the smelt, it is hoped this project will help more Londoners understand the rich ecology and history of their river and experience London’s aquatic wildlife first-hand.
To take part in the project (training is provided) or for more information, contact email@example.com or visit www.zsl.org/smelt.
This video is called Alien Sharks: The Megamouth.
By Cheryl Eddy, 29 January 2015:
Incredibly Rare And Mysterious Deep-Sea Megamouth Shark Washes Ashore
There have been fewer than 100 confirmed sightings of the megamouth shark, an elusive deep-sea species that uses its huge maw to trap tiny bits of plankton and krill. So when a 15-foot specimen washed ashore in the Philippines this week, scientists were more than overjoyed.
This video from the USA is called Yellowstone National Park from Above – 7 Stunning Sights from Yellowstone Lake to Old Faithful.
By Bryan Dyne in the USA:
Pipeline leak spills thousands of gallons of crude oil into Yellowstone River
26 January 2015
Nearly 40,000 gallons of crude oil have spilled into the Yellowstone River near Glendive, Montana, as a result of a January 17 leak in a pipeline owned by Bridger Pipeline of Casper, Wyoming. So far, only about a quarter of the leaked amount has been recovered.
The 6,000 residents of Glendive were forced to use bottled water for five days until water from the local treatment plant was declared safe. Over that period, benzene levels in the local water supply were found to be 15 parts per billion, three times the maximum safe concentration, resulting in many residents reporting their tap water to smell like diesel.
Benzene is a highly flammable chemical normally found in motor fuels. While the Center for Disease Control has determined that the immediate risks to human health are minimal, there are potential long-term dangers, given that benzene is very soluble in water, can remain embedded in soil for years and is a known carcinogen. So far, no other communities that draw from Yellowstone River have reported contaminated drinking water.
A further advisory has been issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding any fish caught in the Yellowstone River since the spill. It is known that petroleum compounds, such as benzene, can accumulate in fish for 40 or more days after a spill. This can, in turn, impact birds and other creatures that feed on the fish as toxins build up in the food chain. Efforts are ongoing to capture fish and other wildlife, particularly those already tagged, in order to determine the extent of the impact of the spill on local species.
There are also broader environmental concerns. The Yellowstone River is a critical component of the ecologically rich area just north of Yellowstone National Park. Dozens of species live off of and around the river, including northern pike, bigmouth buffalo, black bullhead, black crappie and bluegill. Endangered species include the pallid sturgeon and bald eagle. The river is also depended upon across its entire length for irrigation and drinking water.
Starting from the Bakken oil patch of North Dakota and Montana, the 193-mile-long Poplar Pipeline transports 42,000 barrels (1,323,000 gallons) of crude oil to a facility in Baker, Montana, approximately 55 miles south of Glendive. The various sections of the pipeline were all built in the 1950s.
Bridger Pipeline has a history of minor oil leaks from its 316 miles of pipelines. According to data from the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, from 2006 to 2013, the company has had twice as many incidents per mile of pipeline than the national average. In total, these have resulted in 10,800 gallons of oil spilled and $175,000 in property damage.
Eight of the incidents have been deemed preventable and included corrosion and material, weld or equipment failures.
The cause of the spill is still being investigated, though the aged pipes are a possible factor. A third of the pipes laid down by Bridger Pipeline before 1970 were fused together using low-frequency electric resistance welds, a technique known to be vulnerable to lengthwise cracks and imperfections. The same faulty manufacturing method set the stage for ExxonMobil’s 2013 Pegasus oil spill in Arkansas. Company spokesman Bill Salvin has stated that the broken segment was replaced around 1970, but was unclear whether the pipes were replaced before or after that date. The pipe was last checked in 2011.
In the meantime, cleanup crews have been deployed in an attempt to contain the oil sheens that have appeared. Success has been minimal, as the ice covering the river makes recovering oil extremely difficult. Rather than simply vacuuming oil from the river’s surface, crews are forced to drill into the ice with specialized equipment and attempt to catch the oil piecemeal.
Jeni Garcin of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality told the Associated Press that “We’re not able to get anything substantial, but we’re mopping it up where we find it.”
Further complications arose from the warmer weather that began last Friday. Workers were forced to dismantle oil collection equipment that had been placed 60 miles downstream, and the slowly thinning ice made work hazardous. As oil has already been detected this far from the original spill, there is a concern that even longer stretches of the Yellowstone river will be polluted.
It is also not clear what will happen when the spring thaw begins. Right now, it is suspected that the majority of the oil is trapped beneath the ice covering the river. The increased currents that inevitably come when the snow and ice melt have the potential to push any unrecovered oil much further downstream.
Sister companies of Bridger Pipeline have had similar problems. Over the span of a single month in 2014, lines operated by Wyoming-based Belle Fourche Pipeline had three oil spills totaling more than 100,000 gallons. These spills included an overflow in an oil storage tank, a breach from a corroded section of pipeline and a leak caused when heavy equipment punctured a pipeline.
This is the second major oil spill into the Yellowstone River in four years. In 2011, an ExxonMobil pipeline was breached, releasing 42,000 gallons of crude oil into the environment and forcing the evacuation of 140 people in Laurel, Montana, who were facing toxic fumes and a risk of explosion. That spill left oil remnants 85 miles downstream of the original breach. Despite the environmental dangers this caused, ExxonMobil has so far only been fined $1 million for safety violations. This is less than a slap on the wrist for the company, which made more than $32 billion in 2013.
Ice complicates cleanup in Yellowstone’s rare oil spill: here.
This video is called Lotte Hass snorkeling, vintage film.
From Wildlife Extra:
Lotte Hass, one of the world’s first female divers, has died
She passed away at the age of 86 on Wednesday, 14th January 2015 after a happy and multi-faceted life.
The first woman to dive with autonomous diving equipment, Lotte Hass entered a formerly male dominated field in 1949 and opened up a whole new world for women.
Against strong opposition she first starred as underwater photo model before moving behind the camera to become an underwater photographer.
Spectacular scenes that showed her diving with sharks certainly contributed to the success of her husband Hans Hass’ films in the 1950s, and a greater understanding of sharks with the public.
The importance of her extraordinary lifetime achievements were highlighted by the 2011 screen adaption of her autobiography A Girl on the Ocean Floor.
The Institute has asked those who want to acknowledge the accomplishments of Lotte Hass as a diving pioneer to support SHARKPROJECT, an organisation that is dedicated to preventing the destruction of the oceans and the extinction of sharks.
This video is called Antarctic Fish.
From Smart News blog in the USA today:
Fish Live Under Antarctica’s Ice Shelf, Where It Seems They Shouldn’t Survive
Biologists expected the seafloor under a glacier to be nearly barren, until life swam into view
This month, a National Science Foundation-funded expedition began drilling through the Whillans Ice Stream, a glacier that flows from the West Antarctic Ice Shelf to the Ross Ice Shelf. The team wanted to see how the ice was faring and responding to climate change, so they drilled to the glacier’s grounding zone — where it leaves bedrock and meets the sea.
At that zone, the sea bottom looks bare and “rocky, like a lunar surface,” glacial geologist Ross Powell told Douglas Fox for Scientific American. They sent a little underwater vehicle called Deep-SCINI down the borehole to investigate. Its cameras would capture images of the rocks and sediment down on the sea floor. The researchers took sediment cores and seawater samples, which betrayed only the presence of a few microbes — no sign of crustaceans or other life normally found at the bottom of the sea.
This wasn’t a surprise: Under 2,428 feet of ice and 528 miles from the edge of the ice shelf, the site is far from any hint of sunlight, the energy source that typically powers marine food webs. So the next thing they found was shocking.
The ROV had paused while technicians adjusted some controls (it was the bot’s maiden voyage) when they saw something through the down-looking camera. Fox writes:
A graceful, undulating shadow glided across its view, tapered front to back like an exclamation point—the shadow cast by a bulb-eyed fish. Then people saw the creature casting that shadow: bluish-brownish-pinkish, as long as a butter knife, its internal organs showing through its translucent body.
It was a fish. About 20 to 30 fish visited the ROV that day, perhaps attracted to light. And that wasn’t all. Two other kinds of fish, shrimp-like crustaceans and few other invertebrates were also spotted.
“I’ve worked in this area for my whole career,” Ross says. “You get the picture of these areas having very little food, being desolate, not supporting much life.”
The food web down there is still unknown. “Food is in short supply and any energy gained is hard-won,” says Brent Christner, a microbiologist from Louisiana State University. “This is a tough place to live.” Without sunlight, the scant microbes there might be relying on chemical energy — minerals delivered by the moving ice above, currents traveling long distances or seeping up from sediments. “The lack of mud dwellers might indicate that animals living this far under the ice shelf must be mobile enough to follow intermittent food sources from place to place,” writes Fox.
Answering where food comes from is just the beginning of a long list of questions for this chilly, dark underwater community. But for now, the discovery proves yet again that life can eek out in the most remote, unexpected places.
This video is about megamouth sharks.
By Kazuhiro Nakaya in Japan:
All records to date (end of June, 2008) of the megamouth shark, Megachasma pelagios were analyzed and the biology of the megamouth shark was inferred from them. The megamouth shark is a wide-ranging species, distributed from the tropical to temperate seas, with the most numerous occurrences in the western North Pacific Ocean. Young individuals tend to be distributed in warmer waters, while mature individuals broaden their habitat to higher latitudes. Males become mature at about 4 m in total length and females at about 5 m. The megamouth shark may copulate all year round, giving birth to young
in warmer waters, and may be spatially segregated by sex.
The discovery of the megamouth shark was one of the ichthyological highlights of the last century.
The first specimen of the megamouth shark was accidentally collected in Hawaii in 1976, and the species was eventually named Megachasma pelagios by Taylor, Compagno and Struhsaker (1983). The second specimen was captured in 1984 in California, U.S.A., eight years after the capture of the first Hawaiian specimen (Lavenberg and Seigel, 1985). The third specimen was found stranded in 1988 off western Australia in the Indian Ocean (Berra and Hutchins, 1990). Then, the fourth and fifth specimens were reported from Japan in 1989 (Nakaya, 1989; Miya et al., 1992). The sixth specimen was captured and released in California with a sonic transmitter (Lavenberg, 1991), and its horizontal and vertical movements were recorded for a few days (Nelson et al., 1997). These specimens were all giant males of about five meters in total length, except for the fifth one of unknown sex, and finally the first female megamouth was caught in Japan in 1994 (Takada et al., 1997).
At present, the worldwide total of megamouth shark captured, found stranded or sighted is forty specimens. Some of the specimens were studied for their morphology and phylogenetic relationships, but most of them were discarded, consumed or not studied. Among the few studies available, Nelson et al. (1997) reported part of their way of life, showing that the megamouth shark makes clear daily vertical movements within depths shallower than 200 meters. However, most of the biology of the megamouth shark still remains to be disclosed.
The purposes of the present study are to synthesize the scattered information of the 40 specimens recorded as of June, 2008, to study the morphological and biological evidence of each specimen, to analyze their capture data, and to discuss the biology of the megamouth shark.