Giant squid in Gulf of Mexico, video


This 22 June 2019 video says about itself:

Amazing close-up footage of elusive giant squid

Scientists get a rare close encounter with a giant squid in the Gulf of Mexico. The monster of the deep comes in for a closer look at their underwater camera. It’s estimated this particular specimen was up to 3.7 metres long. Report by Jeremy Barnes.

From National Geographic:

Watch first-ever video of a giant squid in U.S. waters

NOAA scientists filmed the 10- to 12-foot squid in the the Gulf of Mexico

By Jill Langlois

PUBLISHED

When Edie Widder saw the giant squid come into view for the first time, its tentacles splayed as it tried to attack the electronic jellyfish lure in front of the underwater camera, she felt a sense of vindication.

After years of trying to develop ways to observe deep-sea animals, the CEO and senior scientist at the Florida-based Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA), had finally figured out the key. The special camera system she developed, called Medusa, emits a red light invisible to most creatures living in “midnight zone,” some 3,280 feet below the ocean’s surface, where it’s pitch black.

How young oysters move, new research


This 2013 video from the USA says about itself:

Who Killed Crassostrea virginica: The Fall & Rise of Chesapeake Bay Oysters – Promo

While confronting head-on the conflicting claims about the calamities that struck down the world’s richest oyster grounds, this fresh perspective re-evaluates the roles of three groups that combined to kill off most of the oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. The roles of watermen who fish the oysters, oyster farmers who grow them, and scientists who study them, are illuminated by recent research in science labs, along the bottom of the Bay and deep in long-forgotten historical archives. Directed and produced by Michael W. Fincham, Maryland Sea Grant College. Presented by Maryland Public Television.

From Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama in the USA:

Playing ‘tag’: Tracking movement of young oysters

June 24, 2019

A new publication in the journal Estuaries and Coasts investigates the use of a fluorescent dye to track movements of young oysters. The publication, “Field mark-recapture of calcein-stained larval oysters (Crassostrea virginica) in a freshwater-dominated estuary,” provides new knowledge on methods for tracking oysters in low salinity environments common to coastal waters, particularly in the northern Gulf of Mexico. This information is important to understand where oysters settle and grow compared to locations of parent stocks and to guide management practices of oysters or any marine species with larval stages that live in the water column.

Free-living aquatic animals have the potential to be transported long distances during early life development. These movements can influence adult distributions and subsequently how populations are connected. By understanding larval transport pathways, we can better inform restoration efforts of remaining marine invertebrate populations globally. This information is particularly important for commercial species such as oysters, which are a valuable resource for Alabama and other coastal waters.

“By knowing where larvae originate and where they end up, we can determine what locations are better for oyster populations and provide managers with information to select sites for oyster restoration,” said Haley Gancel, Ph.D. candidate, who is lead author on the research study. Gancel is a student at the University of South Alabama and works with Dr. Ruth H. Carmichael at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Determining larval transport pathways is a challenge due to the microscopic size of larvae, high mortalities rates, and dilution in the marine environment. In this study researchers used a harmless fluorescent dye called calcein to track oyster larval movements in Mobile Bay, AL and found that oyster larvae are transported from lower Mobile Bay to Mississippi Sound, using dominate freshwater flow paths.

The approach used in this study can be applied to a wider range of marine species and help understand how larvae are transported in the marine environment and aid in restoration and management of this and other species throughout their range.

Two billion birds migrate over Gulf of Mexico


This 2013 video says about itself:

Gulf Crossing: Story of Spring

Original documentary about the annual migration of billions of songbirds across the Gulf of Mexico and into North America. Features HD footage of hundreds of colorful songbirds.

From Cornell University in the USA:

Two billion birds migrate over Gulf Coast

January 9, 2019

A new study combining data from citizen scientists and weather radar stations is providing detailed insights into spring bird migration along the Gulf of Mexico and how these journeys may be affected by climate change. Findings on the timing, location, and intensity of these bird movements are published in the journal Global Change Biology.

“We looked at data from thousands of eBird observers and 11 weather radar stations along the Gulf Coast from 1995 to 2015,” says lead author Kyle Horton, an Edward W. Rose Postdoctoral Fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “We calculated that an average of 2.1 billion birds crosses the entire length the Gulf Coast each spring as they head north to their breeding grounds. Until now, we could only guess at the overall numbers from surveys done along small portions of the shoreline.”

eBird is the Cornell Lab’s worldwide online database for bird observation reports. Sightings from bird watchers helped researchers translate their radar data into estimates of bird numbers. Weather radar detects birds in the atmosphere in a standardized way over time and over a large geographical area.

The radar data reveal when birds migrate and what routes they take. The timing of peak spring migration was consistent over 20 years along the 1,680-mile coastline. But the researchers found that the 18-day period from April 19 to May 7 was the busiest — approximately one billion birds passed over the Gulf Coast in that time span. Not all locations were equally busy, with key hotspots showing significantly higher levels of activity.

The highest activity, with 26,000 birds per kilometer of airspace each night, was found along the west Texas Gulf Coast,” says Horton. “That region had 5.4 times the number of migrants detected compared with the central and eastern Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida.” The data show Corpus Christi and Brownsville as having the highest level of migration traffic along the western coast of Texas.

Knowing where and when peak migration occurs means efforts can be made to turn off lights and wind turbines, which are known threats to migratory birds.

Migration timing is also critical for birds. Although migration has evolved in the past as climates changed, the current rate of change may be too rapid for birds to keep pace. This study shows that the earliest seasonal movements are starting sooner, advancing by about 1.5 days per decade, though peak activity timing hasn’t changed, which may be cause for concern. These findings provide important baseline information that will allow scientists to assess the long-term implications of climate change for migratory birds.

“If birds aren’t changing their migration timing fast enough to match the timing for plants and insects, that’s alarming,” Horton says. “They may miss out on abundant resources on their breeding grounds and have less reproductive success.”

Scientists from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the University of Oxford, the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, the University of Delaware, and the University of Oklahoma conducted this research.

Swainson’s thrushes’ dangerous migration, new study


This 2010 video from North America says about itself:

Often heard but difficult to spot. This video of a singing Swainson’s Thrush is a cherished prize!

From the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences in the USA:

Plump songbirds more likely to survive migration over Gulf of Mexico

October 25, 2018

A kilometer above Fort Morgan, Alabama, small migratory birds face a critical decision. Ahead lies a thousand kilometers of open water, the Gulf of Mexico, and a 22- to 24-hour flight without rest or food. On the other side, if they make it, they’ll continue the journey to their South American winter habitat. For some, the journey will end in the waters of the Gulf.

With many migratory birds in decline, ornithologists are keen to identify “choke points” along their routes. Large geographic barriers like the Gulf are likely suspects, but survival rates across these barriers are difficult to estimate. A new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B provides the first survival estimates for small migratory birds crossing the Gulf, and the factors that explain whether or not they survive the crossing.

“We know a lot of birds die going across the Gulf because we see birds floating up on shore and in the stomach contents of sharks. We just don’t know how many and how risky it is to go across the Gulf”, says Mike Ward, lead author of the study, an associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at U of I, and avian ecologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey. “We figured out that survival depends on a combination of how fat they are — the fatter the better — and how much wind they have at their back.”

Ward and his colleagues focused on Swainson’s thrushes, small sparrow-sized birds that travel between Canada and South America twice each year. Some avoid the Gulf, opting to fly over Texas and mainland Mexico, but many more brave the treacherous shortcut between Fort Morgan and the Yucatan Peninsula. Why take the risk?

“They want to get to their wintering location as soon as possible because birds are territorial in the wintering grounds. They want to get to Colombia or Venezuela to get the best habitat for the winter”, Ward explains.

In the study, Ward’s colleagues captured Swainson’s thrushes at Fort Morgan each fall for five years. For each of the 139 birds they caught, the researchers gauged fat reserves, determined sex, and used eyelash glue to attach a tiny radio transmitter to the bird’s back. Meanwhile, Ward was on the Yucatan side erecting radio towers to pick up signals from the birds’ transmitters.

Using sophisticated analyses, the team estimated survival probabilities for all departing birds. Using data from both the birds detected and not detected on the Yucatan side, they were able to determine the factors that predicted which individuals were likely to survive the crossing.

The researchers state, “Survival estimates varied with wind profit and fat, but generally, fat birds departing on days with favorable wind profits had an apparent survival probability of greater than 0.90, while lean individuals with no or negative wind profits had less than 0.33.” In other words, the fatter the bird and the stronger the tailwind, the greater the probability of survival.

Going back to that moment of decision above Fort Morgan — to cross or not to cross — Ward says birds can usually tell if they’re ready to make the trip.

“Birds that aren’t fat enough know it. When they fly up in the sky at dusk, they circle around a little bit and head back north to find more food. The really fat ones — we call them little butterballs — fly up in the sky then start heading south. As long as they don’t have a strong wind in their face, they should be fine. Individuals with intermediate levels of fat have to make a tough decision”, he says.

Ward says that from a conservation perspective there’s not much people can do to control the wind, but conservation efforts can improve birds’ chances of surviving the journey across the Gulf. The action that people can do is help birds get fat.

“If people throughout the migration corridor provide habitat and food sources for birds to add fat, they’re facilitating their ability to cross the Gulf even if the winds aren’t ideal. Whether it’s planting native shrubs in your backyard, or setting aside a big tract of forest, I’m a big proponent that every small thing helps.”

Underwater ecology, BBC video


This 27 January 2017 video says about itself:

Discovering underwater lake ecosystems for Blue Planet II #OurBluePlanet – BBC Earth

Brine pools are saltwater lakes at the bottom of our oceans that we know little about. Dive down into the deep sea with the Blue Planet II and Alucia Productions team to discover how they filmed the incredible ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico.

Hear from pioneering scientists Dr Sylvia Earle and Dr Mandy Joye about why these fascinating but toxic lakes offer exciting opportunities for new science and medicine.

Big oil spill in Gulf of Mexico


This video from the USA says about itself:

Massive Oil Spill Hits Gulf Of Mexico

23 October 2017

Most of the media is completely ignoring this. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, discuss.

“On Thursday, the Coast Guard reported that the amount of oil discharged from a damaged pipeline 40 miles offshore of Venice, Louisiana was significantly more than initially reported. The pipeline, operated by LLOG Exploration at its Delta House well site, was secured upon discovery of the leak. The spill is still not expected to reach shore.

On Wednesday, LLOG reported a revised estimated volume of unaccounted-for oil to the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, based on additional data. These new calculations indicate that the total volume of oil discharged could be as much as 16,000 barrels (nearly 700,000 gallons), rather than the 9,000 barrels initially reported.”

Read more here

See also here.

Gulf of Mexico marine life video


This video says about itself:

3 February 2017

In the Gulf of Mexico, Jonathan visits several oil rigs to scuba dive on the structure and learn how these offshore platforms attract marine life as artificial reefs.

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