Marine animals helping each other, video


This video says about itself:

Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Cleaning Stations (HD)

22 April 2016

Jonathan explores cleaning stations on the reef, where animals get cleaned of parasites and infection by other animals. Some examples shown are anemones and anemonefish (clownfish), wrasses, shrimp, manta rays, moray eels, Goliath groupers, sea turtles and barracuda. This episode was filmed in many locations such as Malaysia, the Philippines, Yap, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Caribbean.

Will endangered Pacific petrels’ nesting sites be found in 2016?


This video is called Beck’s Petrel, 19th April 2008, off NW Bougainville.

From BirdLife:

Will 2016 be the year the nesting sites of the enigmatic Fiji and Beck’s petrels are found?

By Mike Britton, Wed, 30/12/2015 – 23:34

Lost then found species capture the imagination of people everywhere. They make the news and their discovery is celebrated. There is every expectation that once `found’ the lost species will now join the list of living species, rather than the ghosts of species lost.

But that is not a certainty as most `lost’ species are extremely rare and endangered. And unless conservation action can be taken to secure them for habitat threats and predators that are responsible for their `loss’ in the first place, these new sightings may only be a glimpse before they are gone once again, this time for forever. The biggest danger for most sea bird species is the time they spend ashore nesting and to their eggs and fledglings. Knowing exactly where these `lost’ birds nest is essential to ensuring they have a future.

Beck’s petrel is one of the `lost’ seabirds of the Pacific. Lost for 75 years after its initial discovery and recording, it was only spotted again in 2007 offshore of the Papua New Guinean islands of New Britain and New Ireland. Despite increased reporting of Beck’s Petrel sightings for southern New Ireland there is no knowledge of precisely where they breed and the search area remain vast. It is rated as Critically Endangered.

Fiji Petrel is another `lost but found’ bird that is also Critically Endangered. Lost for over 100 years apart from a few tantalising glimpses, it was rediscovered when one was captured in in 1984. It is currently believed that fewer than 50 pairs survive, breeding in 52 square kilometres in rugged forest on the island of Gau, Fiji, but its nesting grounds have yet to be located. It has to be assumed that the existing meagre population of Fiji Petrel is declining. We know that cats are on the high ridgelines as are Pacific Rats. Brown and Black rats are also on the island but their distribution is not known. Feral pigs are also a major treat. But until the location of the nests is known no practical conservation measures to secure the remaining nests and start the recovery can happen. Finding where they nest is the single most urgent and important conservation action required now to save the species from extinction. BirdLife wants to make 2016 the year we gave both these birds a secure future.

Thanks to a grant from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) we are planning an expedition to find the Beck’s Petrel nesting sites. In narrowing the geographical area down the project will aim to capture birds, probably off the coast, using techniques recently developed in locating the nesting sites of other Oceania sea birds. The objective is to put tiny satellite transmitters on these birds and follow them back to their breeding colonies. This will enable subsequent fine-scale land-based searches to occur (with the likely assistance of VHF transmitters) and in ultimately pin-pointing the colony and then enable land-based conservation efforts. A pretty ambitious project and we are urgently seeking more sponsors and supporters.

The initial need is contributions to pay for more satellite transmitters and for the hire of boats.

The search for Fiji Petrel is even more urgent. This may be their last chance. There have been other searches and it is ongoing. Two (New Zealand-trained) petrel detector dogs are deployed on the island and the presence of Collared Petrel on Gau allows the search teams to gain experience without impacting on the rare Fijian Petrels. But finding Fiji Petrel is a complex challenge and needs the further support of experienced seabird biologists and the application of a range of technologies to support the petrel dogs and increase the chances of finding these nesting sites. Recently experience has been gained in locating the nests of other petrels including other `lost birds’ such as the New Zealand Storm Petrel and the Chatham Island Taiko. Fiji Petrel are too small to use satellite technology but if some can be captured at sea of on land then radio transmitters can be used with telemetry to help pin point their location. But is not easy and will require a long time, over several months, at sea around Gau where the birds congregate at dusk or on land with spotlighting.

Bringing together a team of the people will be the key and is a really exciting challenge. These is no guarantee but if we don’t succeed this iconic bird will be lost.

This attempt will not be cheap and we need to raise US$200,000. A donation of boat time would be another way someone who loves the Petrels of the Pacific could make a huge contribution.

Ninja lanternshark discovered in Pacific ocean


This video says about itself:

23 December 2015

In the Pacific Ocean, near the coasts of Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, scientists discovered a new species of shark: Ninja Lanternshark. The species was named Etmopterus benchley, in honor of Peter Benchley, author of Jaws. Etmopterus benchley is a small shark, growing up to 50 cm, and lives at depths ranging between 836 and 1443 meters. In the darks of the ocean, Etmopterus benchleyi emits a faint glow.

By Miriam Kramer, 23 December 2015:

‘Ninja lanternshark’ found lurking in the Pacific Ocean

A newly-discovered species of shark with jet black skin and a faint glow is a master of stealth.

The shark, appropriately given the common name “Ninja Lanternshark,” lives in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Central America in waters from
2,742 feet to 4,734 feet, or 836 to 1443 meters, deep.

The animal owes its unique name to the young cousins of Vicky Vásquez, one of the scientists on the team that detailed the new shark finding in a study published in the Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation.

See also: 5 ways you can track sharks live from your computer

“The common name we have suggested, Ninja Lanternshark, refers to the shark’s color which is a uniform sleek black as well as the fact that it has fewer photophores [organs that emit light] than other species of lanternsharks,” Vásquez told Mashable via email.

“Based on that, we felt those unique characteristics would make this species stealthy like a ninja. The common name was actually proposed by my little cousins (ages 8 to 14 yrs. old).”

While glowing in the ocean may not sound like a great way to keep yourself hidden, scientists think it works well for lanternsharks like the Ninja.

According to Vásquez, lanternsharks glow enough to hide their shadows, likely as a form of camouflage.

Scientists are still trying to learn more about Ninja Lanternsharks. So far, researchers have found about eight specimens of the new shark, with the first discovered in 2010.

If researchers are able to study more of these sharks up-close they might be able to answer some basic questions about their biology.

“If more were found, we could really start to explore biology details of this shark like, ‘What is the maximum size?’ Our biggest specimen is only 515 millimeters long, but since it had eggs we know that this was an adult size,” Vásquez said.

“However, we did not find an adult male. If anyone is working off the coast of Central America (on the Pacific Ocean side), they could certainly help by letting us know if they find another one.”

The shark’s scientific name — Etmoterus benchleyi — also has a fun origin story.

It was named for Peter Benchley, the writer of Jaws.

“Although a lot of people are aware of the negative backlash that the movie created for sharks, most are not aware that Mr. Benchley took positive action by creating the Benchley Awards, which seeks to recognize people that have made lasting contributions to ocean conservation,” Vásquez said.

Vásquez refers to the Ninja Lanternshark as a “lost shark,” which are species of shark that get “overshadowed” by other, more charismatic sharks like the Great White.

From 2000 to 2009 scientists “were discovering about 18 new species of Chondrichthyans (sharks and their relatives like stingrays, skates and ghost sharks) every year,” Vásquez said.

Save Pacific petrels


This video says about itself:

Murphy’s Petrel (chick), 7th September 2013, Henderson Island, SE Pacific

There were many chicks on Henderson and Oeno.

From BirdLife:

Pacific’s Petrels in Peril: a new initiative to save these iconic birds

By Mike Britton, Wed, 07/10/2015 – 02:24

For generations of sailors and those who love the sea, seabirds have been their companion, entertainment and shared the times when the seas turn angry. They can be majestic, funny, noisy, mysterious and spectacular. Sprinkled across the tropical Pacific, the innumerable islands of Oceania are home to some of the most unusual bird communities on the planet. The Pacific is the sea-bird capital of the world.

But these companions of travellers, fishers and visitors to the coast are in trouble, especially in the Pacific. They are more threatened than any other comparable group of birds. And their status has deteriorated faster over recent decades. Many of the birds that live in this region are endangered. Many more have become extinct as a result of human activity, in both recent and prehistoric times. And some really special sea birds are right on the brink of joining the legions of ghosts of past birds.

Over the years BirdLife and its partners have taken actions to protect (and find) different species but the problem is so big we want a Pacific wide strategy for the conservation of this critically endangered group of seabirds. We are calling it ‘Pacific Petrels in Peril’.

The petrels, which conventionally include the petrels, shearwaters and storm-petrels belonging to the families Procellariidae, Oceanitidae and Hydrobatidae, have lost far more populations in Oceania than any other bird family. That is why this new programme gives emphasis to this group – the ‘Petrels’. Specific projects that are being developed as part of the strategy for different flagship petrel species will also help other seabird species.

Priority actions will be to find the breeding sites of Fiji Petrel, Beck’s Petrel and Heinroth’s Shearwater. Overall there are more than 18 species for whch action is needed including Vanuatu Petrel, Collared Petrel, Polynesian Storm-petrel, Tahiti Petrel, Phoenix Petrel and Tropical shearwaters. And probably more.

Most islands in Oceania have not had systematic surveys of breeding seabirds. While there are some threats at sea for seabirds breeding in the region, the primary threats are on land. Until we can eliminate predation pressure and the degradation of nesting/roosting colonies and establish these as secure sites there will be no improvement in their conservation status.

The help of sea bird lovers the world over is needed to develop the first coherent and comprehensive plan for the conservation of Pacific seabirds. With your support we will find the breeding sites to allow conservation action to make them safe, confirm the population status of species and develop conservation plans for each of them. We will also improve the current conservation work, and where we need to start new actions. This intiative is bigger than BirdLife and we will work with other organisations, develop networks for improved communication, resource sharing, capacity building and further project development.</blockquoteBirdLife steps up conservation work in Vanuatu: here.

Mongoose on the loose in Tonga: here.

Pacific orca babies born


This video says about itself:

Orca Baby Boom Hits Pacific Northwest

2 April 2015

New optimism emerges for an endangered group of killer whales after the fourth orca baby this season is spotted off the coast of British Columbia.

From the Christian Science Monitor in the USA:

Orca baby boom: Enough to save the endangered whales?

Kelsey Warner

July 20, 2015

Orcas in the Pacific Northwest are experiencing a baby boom – and not a moment too soon, say experts.

The population off the coast of Washington and British Columbia hit a 40-year low in December, when a pregnant orca died in the Georgia Strait, near Vancouver. Area experts feared it was the beginning of the end for the killer whale population there, reported The Toronto Star.

“Not only did we not have the baby coming that we needed, but we also lost a breeding-age female,” said Michael Harris, executive director of the Pacific Whale Watch Association. “We thought we were on an irreversible slide to extinction.”

In an area famous for its orca pods, the population had dropped from a high of 98 in the mid-90s to just 78 whales in the summer of 2014. The death of the pregnant whale dropped the population to a low of 77.

Following the death of the orca mother in December, local experts believe the pod delivered the next baby together, to ensure its successful arrival. Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research and his colleagues noted bite marks on the newborn’s fin, indicating other whales may have served as midwives, pulling the baby from the womb. The researchers then observed the calf in the care of its grandmother for the first few days, while its mother recovered.

“They made very sure that the birth was going to go well this time,” said Mr. Harris. “Literally the baby was just pulled out by other members of the pod.”

He added, “That started the baby boom.”

By the end of the spring, four calves had been born, bringing the total population total to 81. About 35 to 45 percent of newborn orcas don’t make it past their first year, according to NOAA. If these babies survive, they will be the first successful newborns in the Puget Sound population in about two and a half years.

Eric Ward, who tracks the whale population for NOAA Fisheries, told the Star that the pods are still a long way from the 120 whales necessary to remove them from the endangered list.

“There’s reasons to be optimistic for this population, and there’s reasons to be concerned,” said Dr. Ward.

He attributes their initial decline in part to depleted populations of prey, including the pods’ favored Chinook salmon. He also says contaminants from fish that spawn near urban areas may have been a factor.

In 2014, the Chinook salmon population spiked, and that may have turned things around, combined with a demographic shift with more orca females of reproductive age.

This baby boom “will continue as long as there’s available prey,” said Ward.

Still uncertain is the effect of warmer ocean temperatures on the Pacific fish stock, who generally prefer colder waters. This past winter, tides shifted and warmer sea temps were recorded.

“We don’t know the implications this giant blob of warm water will have on marine life and the killer whales,” Ward said.

Puget Sound orcas welcome sixth baby born to endangered pods this year. Newborn known as J53 seen swimming with ‘Princess Angeline’. ‘Class of 2015’ brings population of threatened killer whales to 82: here.

Angry Birds help Pacific living birds


This video says about itself:

BirdLife and Angry Birds save the Endangered Birds of the Pacific

29 April 2015

The birds of the Pacific are seriously angry, because predators have invaded their islands and are eating all their eggs. Please support Angry Birds and BirdLife International to create pest-free island sanctuaries for Pacific birds.

From BirdLife:

Rovio’s Angry Birds team up with BirdLife to fight bird extinction

By Martin Fowlie, Thu, 30/04/2015 – 10:00

The famous Angry Birds team up with BirdLife International in a unique campaign to protect real-life birds in the South Pacific. Like their counterparts in the game, Pacific birds are threatened by introduced predators eating their eggs and so pushing them to the verge of extinction.

Rovio Entertainment Ltd, the world-leading entertainment company, announced with the planned release of Angry Birds Seasons on the 30 April that they are taking up the fight with BirdLife International to save the most threatened birds of the Pacific from extinction. The new release will allow gamers to explore the story behind real birds in the Pacific and support their struggle against non-native predators.

“With more than 2.8 billion downloads of Angry Birds our fans worldwide know only too well the story of the Angry Birds’ mission to protect their eggs from their mischievous nemesis, the piggies”, said Sami Lahtinen, SVP Games at Rovio Entertainment. “It is great to be able to reflect this story with a real life situation that helps BirdLife protect and restore bird populations in the Pacific.”

“It’s really sobering to realise that some of the species to be saved by BirdLife have populations lower than the number of staff working at Rovio Entertainment.”

The introduction by humans of non-native species – often referred to by experts as “alien invasive” – such as rats, has caused the extinction of half of all bird species in the Pacific. This tragedy continues with 81 species still threatened with extinction today.

BirdLife and its Partners have restored more than 30 islands in 5 Pacific countries (the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and Palau) to save their bird populations and other biodiversity.

Now, with the support from Rovio and the crowd, and run with positive impact platform kriticalmass, BirdLife is looking to raise $150,000 for island restoration in French Polynesia and additional support for its longer-term plans to save species from extinction across the Pacific.

The work in French Polynesia will target islands with populations of Critically Endangered birds. Species like Polynesian Ground-dove, which has a population of fewer than 100 remaining, will be given a lifeline for a better chance of survival.

“Over the past decade BirdLife International has become expert at removing non-native predators from Pacific islands”, said Patricia Zurita, BirdLife’s Chief Executive. “With more funding we can make a huge difference to more tropical islands and restore them back to their original paradise and help the local bird populations and other species thrive. They impact local communities who have benefited from better crop yields when non-native predators are removed.”

Introduced species have been the primary driver of documented bird extinctions. They are implicated in the decline of more than half of all threatened bird species. In the Angry Birds Season Tropigal Paradise update, gamers will have the chance to learn about the perils of real-life birds in the Pacific and support our work that ensures their survival.”

Just like in the game, Rovio and BirdLife are turning to the crowd to help defeat the predators that are stealing the bird eggs and threatening their existence.

On www.kriticalmass.com/p/savepacificbirds users can not only hear and share the story but also volunteer, donate money or buy rewards to help save the birds in the Pacific.

Hard work not over yet for seabird protection in the Pacific: here.

World’s largest marine reserve around Pitcairn islands


This video says about itself:

Edge of the World: Stunning Pitcairn Islands Revealed

18 March 2015

In 2012 National Geographic‘s Pristine Seas project went on an expedition to the Pitcairn Islands—a legendary and remote archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean—and returned with footage of incredible natural wonders underwater and on land. The expedition led to the historic announcement that the British government has created the largest contiguous marine reserve in the world, protecting this one-of-a-kind ecosystem. Join National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala as he meets with some of Pitcairn’s residents and explores the waters around the islands.

Read more about the announcement and the area around the Pitcairn Islands, one of the most pristine places on Earth: here.

From Wildlife Extra:

The world’s largest marine reserve given green light

The UK government has announced the creation of the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve in the southern Pacific Ocean.

The Pitcairn Islands is one of the remotest places in the world, and protecting its 322,000 sq miles (over 834,000 sq km, or roughly three and a half times the area of Britain) of pristine waters will safeguard countless species of marine animals – mammals, seabirds and fish.

The government’s decision was endorsed by two leading organisations working to preserve the world’s oceans, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the National Geographic Society, both of which joined the local elected body, the Pitcairn Island Council, in 2013, to submit a proposal calling for the creation of a marine reserve to protect these spectacular waters.

“With this designation, the United Kingdom raises the bar for protection of our ocean and sets a new standard for others to follow,” said Jo Royle, Global Ocean Legacy, a project of Pew and its partners that advocates for the establishment of the world’s great marine parks.

“The United Kingdom is the caretaker of more than 6 million sq km of ocean — the fifth-largest marine area of any country. Through this designation, British citizens are playing a vital role in ensuring the health of our seas.

“The Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve will build a refuge of untouched ocean to protect and conserve a wealth of marine life. We celebrate members of Parliament for pressing for this action.”

National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Enric Sala, head of the Society’s Pristine Seas project, says: “Our scientific exploration of the area revealed entirely new species as well as an abundance of top predators like sharks. It was like travelling to a new world full of hidden and unknown treasures, a world that will now be preserved for generations to come.”

In a statement, the Pitcairn Isleand Council said: “The people of Pitcairn are extremely excited about designation of the world’s largest marine reserve in our vast and unspoiled waters of the Pitcairn Islands, including Ducie, Oeno, and Henderson Islands. We are proud to have developed and led this effort in partnership with Pew and National Geographic to protect these spectacular waters we call home for generations to come.”

A March 2012 scientific survey of Pitcairn’s marine environment, led by the National Geographic Pristine Seas project in partnership with Pew, revealed a vibrant ecosystem that includes the world’s deepest-known living plant, a species of encrusting coralline algae found 382m (1,253ft) below sea level.

The reserve will also protect one of the two remaining raised coral atolls on the planet as well as 40 Mile Reef, the deepest and most well-developed coral reef known in the world.

In conjunction with the designation, the Bertarelli Foundation announced a five-year commitment to support the monitoring of the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve as part of Pew’s Project Eyes on the Seas, using a technology known as the Virtual Watch Room.

With this satellite monitoring system, developed through a collaboration between Pew and the UK-based company Satellite Applications Catapult, government officials will be able to detect illegal fishing activity in real time.

This is the first time any government has combined creation of a marine reserve with the most up-to-date technology for surveillance and enforcement of a protected area.