Cave diving in the Bahamas, videos

This video from the USA says about itself:

10 August 2016

This is the trailer for the giant screen film ANCIENT CAVES that is being shown at the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) conference in Toronto, October 2016. The trailer is in 4:3 aspect ratio as this is an OMNIMAX format dome original which will obviously look a little distorted and strangely composed on a small flat screen.

ANCIENT CAVES is the first giant screen film to be produced exclusively for OMNIMAX theaters in over 30 years.

Come to the GSCA conference and see this in IMAX!


Deep below the surface of the Bahamian island of Abaco, lies a secret cave few humans have ever visited. The journey here is dark and treacherous, but the cave contains valuable secrets of the Earth’s ancient climate. They are hidden in these formations, made of the purest calcite crystal. They were created by dripping water during an ice age, when sea levels were hundreds of feet lower and this cave was dry.

Brian Kakuk is a world-renowned cave explorer. Today he is on a mission to recover a stalagmite sample from deep inside the cave.

Scientists can analyze these crystal formations to unlock a valuable history of climate going back hundred of thousands of years.

Sixteen hundred miles away, at the University of Minnesota, cave paleoclimatologist Dr. Gina Moseley removes a sample from a stalagmite.

DR MOSELEY: Through looking at these deposits I get information about how the climate has changed in the past, how the sea level has changed in the past, and also how the landscape has evolved above the cave.

Dr. Moseley works with Dr. Larry Edwards, the world’s foremost expert in dating cave samples.

DR. EDWARDS: It turns out that one of the huge advantages of cave deposits is that you can date them really, really well.”


JOHN ACKERMAN: It’s incredible!

Doctor Edwards and Doctor Mosley began their work together exploring the Earth’s ancient climate in this dry cave in Minnesota.

JOHN ACKERMAN: Oh Gina, come take a look at this, would this be a good specimen?

DR. MOSELEY: That’s perfect. It’s already broken and it looks like a nice long record in there.

But as they gathered data from caves elsewhere around the globe, there were new questions about what causes the great fluctuations in the Earth’s temperature that lead to ice ages, droughts, and sea level change.

The answers require samples from some of the most difficult and dangerous places on Earth.

Ancient Caves is a giant screen film that follows expeditions to some of the world’s most astonishing caves in search of clues about our changing planet. The film takes viewers to the Nevada desert, the Yucatan in Mexico, and the deep, stunningly beautiful and treacherous Crystal Cave in the Bahamas.

DR. MOSELEY: I love the journey you go in, in a cave. You never know what’s around the next corner.”

Ancient Caves is the first giant screen film in more than 30 years to be shot and produced specifically for the OMNIMAX format.

Shot with a combination of traditional 15/70 and high-tech ultra-high resolution digital cameras, our film crew can go where traditional cameras cannot.

Ancient Caves is a science adventure film and a story of exploration. The underwater sequences will be shot in the most beautiful and dangerous caves in the world.

DR. MOSELEY: Anything below the current sea level is hard for us to get to so we’re reliant on diving experts basically to collect the samples for us and it’s dangerous work and as a result of that there has been limited work done below sea level.”

Caves offer an incredible environment for OMNIMAX because there is something to see in all directions–even straight up. It’s perfect for the immersion experience that only these theaters can provide.

This video from the USA says about itself:

12 August 2016

During the first shoot for our IMAX film ANCIENT CAVES, Cameraman Todd from the Blue World team was wearing a 3D GoPro rig on his helmet. This is a short video extra of 3D “behind the scenes” footage from that shoot with some narration from Todd. This is a wonderful way to get the feel for what it’s like to go cave diving if you have some 3D glasses or a 3D adapter for your phone!!

Jonathan Bird’s Blue World is an Emmy Award-winning underwater science/adventure program that airs on public television in the United States.

Sharks on video

This video says about itself:

Chillin’ Lemon Shark | JONATHAN BIRD‘S BLUE WORLD Extra

29 July 2016

In this fun behind-the-scenes extra, Jonathan talks about Lemon sharks and one particular shark that decided to take a rest right in the middle of a Tiger shark feed!

This video says about itself:

5 August 2016

Books and magazines often say that Tiger sharks will eat anything. They have been referred to as the “Garbage cans of the ocean.” Multiple references have been made to them eating license plates of all things. In this exciting episode, Jonathan goes out to the Bahamas to see if a Tiger shark will eat a GoPro camera. Then he tries to put a camera on a shark and turn the shark into the team’s newest cameraman…I mean camerashark!

New silver boa constrictor species discovery in Bahamas

Chilabothrus argentum, (photo: R. Graham Reynolds / The Reynolds Lab / UNCA)

A video says about itself:

A new species of boa constrictor has been discovered on a remote Caribbean island

27 mei 2016

A new species of boa constrictor with silvery scales has been discovered on a remote island in the Bahamas.

Scientists identified 20 of the three-foot long snakes during two expeditions to the Caribbean islands, the second made in October last year.

One of the creatures made a dramatic appearance by slithering onto the head of the expedition leader as he slept.

The Silver Boa, Chilabothrus argentum, is so-named because of its distinctive silver colour and the fact that the first specimen found was climbing a Silver Palm tree.

The US team led by Dr Graham Reynolds, from Harvard University, confirmed that the snake was a previously unknown species after conducting a genetic analysis of tissue samples.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Scientists discover new species of silver boa constrictor snake in Bahamas – but it’s already ‘critically endangered’

Silver boa described as ‘mild-mannered’, calm and possibly ‘critically endangered’ with fewer than 1,000 thought to exist

Ian Johnston Environment Correspondent

Thursday 26 May 2016

A new species of snake, described as a “calm and mild-mannered” creature, has been discovered in the Bahamas – but it is already feared to be critically endangered.

The silver reptile was found on a silver palm tree on Conception Island, an uninhabited nature reserve, in July last year.

And, after research to confirm it was a separate species, it has been named the silver boa or Chilabothrus argentum, scientists revealed in a paper about the discovery to be published in the journal Breviora.

Professor Graham Reynolds, of University of North Carolina Asheville, was among the first to see the snake.

“It was exciting. As soon as we saw the first one, we knew we’d found something new,” he said.

“It just sat there and looked at us. They are very docile animals, they are very calm, slow-moving, mild-mannered.”

Deciding to conduct a systematic search that night, they then found four others of the same species before deciding to get some sleep on the beach.

“As I was sleeping I woke up to a disturbance and there was something on my face and I realised it was a boa,” Dr Reynolds said.

“It came out of the forest and crawled around on top of me. Maybe I smelled like the other snakes or something. I’ve never heard of that happening [with a boa].

“It was confusing at first but I thought it was incredible. I couldn’t believe it.”

He put the snake in a cloth bag and released it later after taking its measurements, an experience the snake seemed to take in its stride.

The beach encounter was all the more remarkable because the silver boa appears to be highly specialised, living and hunting in the trees.

Because they move so slowly, they catch their food mainly by sneaking up quietly on songbirds while they are resting in the trees at night.

“We’ve watching them stalk and hunt,” Dr Reynolds said. “It grabs its prey and wraps it up. We think they mostly eat birds.”

Their silver skin is unusual — snakes usually have a camouflage pattern – and the reasons behind its evolution are unclear. “The silvery colour is pretty striking. At night it shows up well in a flashlight,” Dr Reynolds said.

They grow to up to a metre long but are slender, weighing as little as 300 grams.

It is believed there are less than 1,000 individuals and that they are under threat from feral cats.

“We found evidence of feral cats on the island and we know these cats eat other boas,” Dr Reynolds said. “The boas really have no defence against cats.”

Robert Henderson, a curator at the Milwaukee Museum of Natural History and one of the world’s experts on boas, said finding a new snake species – and particularly a boa – was a “rare” and “exciting” event.

“Worldwide, new species of frogs and lizards are being discovered and described with some regularity,” he said. “New species of snakes, however, are much rarer.

“The beautiful Bahamian Silver Boa, already possibly critically endangered, reminds us that important discoveries are still waiting to be made, and it provides the people of the Bahamas another reason to be proud of the natural wonders of their island nation.”

Bahamas luminescent eel discovery

The green eel Kaupichthys hyoproroides that was collected in the Bahamas. Typically, researchers collect dozens if not hundreds of specimens for research, but the scientists on this study decided to collect just two. Credit: Copyright David Gruber, John Sparks and Vincent Pieribone

From Live Science:

Shy Eel Glows Bright Green, Possibly As a ‘Sexy Charm’

by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer

November 11, 2015 02:06pm ET

When scuba-diving scientists serendipitously spotted a glowing green eel in January 2011, they had no idea what caused it to light up like a brilliant neon sign.

But now, after hours spent studying the fluorescent proteins of two eels, the researchers have solved the mystery. These proteins, found throughout the eels’ muscle and skin tissues, actually originated in vertebrate brains more than 300 million years ago, a new study finds.

“It started as a brain protein and then became this fluorescent protein in muscle,” said study lead researcher David Gruber, an associate professor of biology at Baruch College in New York City. [See Photos of the Glowing Green Eels]

Once the protein made its switch from a neural to a fluorescent protein, it spread like crazy throughout the eel population. Natural selection favored it so much, it’s likely fluorescence plays a crucial role in the eel world, Gruber said.

For instance, maybe it helps them spawn the next generation, he said. One anecdotal report of such spawning describes a “big, green fluorescent mating event” with a dozens of eels getting it on under a full moon in Indonesia, Gruber said. Typically, these eels are reclusive and shy, spending most of their lives hiding in the holes and crevasses around coral reefs and sea grass beds. But maybe the moonlight stimulates their fluorescent proteins, making them more visible to potential mates, he said.

“We’re hoping to witness one of these spawning events to see what they’re doing,” Gruber told Live Science. Moreover, the fluorescence may also play a role in eel communication, predator avoidance or even prey attraction, like the anglerfish’s glowing ‘fishing rod,’ which lures in fishy meals, according to Gruber.

Eel expedition

After seeing the stunning 2011 photo, the researchers wanted to learn more about the little green eel. They found two eels (Kaupichthys hyoproroides and another species of Kaupichthys) during an expedition in the Bahamas, and brought both back to Gruber’s lab in New York City.

K. hyoproroides is small — no longer than two human fingers — about 9.8 inches (250 millimeters) long, Gruber said. It’s likely that the other eel is a new species in the Kaupichthys genus, he added, but the specimen wasn’t in good enough condition to describe it, he said.

A tissue analysis showed fluorescence throughout the eels’ muscle and skin. But a protein analysis didn’t yield any green fluorescent protein (GFP) — a protein famously identified in a hydrozoan jellyfish in 1962. Nor did it match fluorescent proteins found in other glowing sea creatures, such as some fish and sharks, Gruber said.

Instead, it bore a resemblance to a fluorescent protein found in Anguilla japonica, an eel species used in sushi whose proteins can fluoresce a weak green color when bound to bilirubin. (Bilirubin is a yellow waste product that comes from broken-down red blood cells. People with jaundice have yellowish skin and eyes because of increased levels of bilirubin in their blood.)

The protein from the Kaupichthys eels also needed bilirubin to fluoresce, but a key part of the chemical makeup of this protein was different from the sushi eel’s proteins. “It turns out that every one of these new proteins that has this key little region in it has the ability to glow, and glow very bright,” Gruber said. [Images: Fish Secretly Glow Vibrant Colors]

Intrigued, Gruber and his colleagues teamed up with Rob DeSalle, a curator with the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. DeSalle is an expert in evolutionary biology, and determined that the eels’ fluorescent protein is a newly identified family of fluorescent proteins, Gruber said.

DeSalle also studied the evolutionary history of the Kaupichthys protein. He saw that it was closely related to a fatty acid-binding protein found in the brain of most vertebrates. This protein likely plays a role in fatty-acid uptake, transport and metabolism in the brain, and may help young neurons migrate and establish cortical layers in the brain, DeSalle told Live Science.

However, over time this genetic code for this brain protein underwent three duplication events, meaning there were more copies of the protein available for the organism to play around with, DeSalle said. The duplicated genes for these proteins could then mutate over time, eventually leading to the fluorescent, bilirubin-binding protein that glows bright green in certain eels, the researchers said.

The study researchers didn’t pinpoint when the three duplication events happened, but DeSalle estimated that the first two happened between 450 million and 300 million years ago, in the common ancestor of jawed vertebrates. The third duplication led to the creation of the newly identified fluorescent protein, DeSalle said.

There’s still much to learn about fluorescent proteins, but the discovery of fluorescence in eels and other fish suggests that they played a large role in marine vertebrate evolution, said Matthew Davis, an assistant professor of biology at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, who was not involved in the study.

“The surprising aspect of this study is that the fluorescent fatty acid-binding proteins may have impacted the evolution of this lineage of marine eels, and they also expand the suite of fluorescent probes available for experimental biology in other disciplines,” Davis told Live Science in an email.

The study was published online today (Nov. 11) in the journal PLOS ONE.

Bahamas dolphin brings back drowned cellphone to dancer

This video says about itself:

Flipping Incredible! Moment [common bottlenose] Dolphin Retrieves Mobile Phone – Helpful Dolphin Retrieves Woman’s Phone

28 September 2015

The only thing worse than dropping your phone is dropping your phone into the goddamn ocean, where it’s guaranteed to disappear forever — unless there’s a helpful dolphin around to retrieve it for you.

That’s what happened to Miami Heat cheerleader Teressa Cee when she went swimming with dolphins near Blue Lagoon Island in the Bahamas, and a helpful cetacean named Cacique lent her a flipper.

Cacique is a trained animal cared for by Dolphin Encounters, who was rewarded for his good deed with a selfie with Cee and her fellow dancers.

Cee’s video of the phone rescue has been watched more than 1.5 million times on Facebook.

See also here.