Bahamas pupfish, new study


Bahamas pupfish

This picture about Bahamas pupfish shows San Salvador Island generalists (red), molluscivores (green), large-jawed scale-eaters (dark blue), small-jawed scale-eaters (light blue), and outgroup species (black) in the Caribbean, California, and Mexico. Credit: Emilie Richards and Christopher Martin; CC-BY.

From PLOS:

San Salvador pupfish acquired genetic variation from island fish to eat new foods

Study finds that ecological and genetic factors both contributed to rise of new pupfish species

August 10, 2017

Pupfish living in salty lakes on San Salvador Island were able to diversify into multiple species with different eating habits, in part, by interbreeding with pupfish from other islands in the Caribbean, report Emilie Richards and Christopher Martin, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, August 10, 2017 in PLOS Genetics.

Pupfish are small, brightly colored fish that commonly live in coastal areas and salty lakes and feed off of algae. But on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas, a group of pupfish has undergone adaptive radiation, a process where existing species rapidly evolve and differentiate into new species, to take advantage of a new environment. Where most pupfish species eat algae, one San Salvador species has a protruding nasal region that allows it to eat snails, while another has enlarged jaws that enable it to bite the scales off of other fish. To understand why these specialized species evolved only on San Salvador Island, despite the availability of scales and snails across the Caribbean, the researchers used whole genomes to identify regions of the San Salvador pupfish genome that came from outside sources.

They examined 42 pupfish genomes collected from populations on San Salvador Island, two distant Caribbean islands, Laguna Chichancanab in Mexico, and Devil’s Hole in California, to identify regions of the genome that have been exchanged between San Salvador Island and outside pupfish populations. They identified 11 gene variants in the San Salvador fish that came from other Caribbean pupfish populations, with four of these regions known to affect jaw size and shape, traits important in the evolution of their specialized diets.

The study suggests that multiple outside sources of genetic variation contributed to the adaptations found in pupfishes on San Salvador Island. These findings indicate that a complex suite of factors, including breeding with related species, in addition to new ecological opportunities, may be necessary for adaptive radiations to occur.

“The really intriguing thing here is that new species are assembled from different pots of genetic variation over a very large range. Our own species is likely no different,” says study corresponding author Dr. Martin.

Bahamas wild spotted dolphins


This video says about itself:

27 January 2017

In the Bahamas, a group of wild Spotted Dolphins play “keep away” with a bandana–a game they invented with seaweed and people started playing with them. Jonathan travels to the Bahamas with dolphin expert Wayne Scott Smith to meet these playful animals and try playing the Bandana Game with them.

How a dolphin eats an octopus without dying, by Sarah Zielinski. 1:00pm, April 25, 2017: here.

Shark senses research


This video says about itself:

7 October 2016

In the Bahamas, Jonathan joins shark biologist Dr. Stephen Kajiura from Florida Atlantic University to perform an experiment which demonstrates how the electrosensory system of sharks works.

JONATHAN BIRD‘S BLUE WORLD is an Emmy Award-winning underwater science/adventure program that airs on public television in the United States.

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!

Transcript:

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.”

DR. MOSELEY: Oh Wow!

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.