Tag Archives: ocean

BBC/Discovery: LIFE

The BBC and Discovery have done it again. They’ve created another insanely beautiful animal documentary, Life, following Planet Earth and Blue Planet. The 11-part series debuted in the US last month and purchases start shipping June 1st. This latest series focuses on the extreme behavior and specialized strategies which have evolved in certain animals.

If you’re looking for a teaser, check out the trailer below or these clips off of the Discovery site. I just watched the cuttlefish clip where a couple of males battle over a lady. Not only are their color shows amazing but its a little humorous watching what appears to be a couple of submerged rugs throwing down.

You can pre-purchase a copy here. Although, I bought my copy off of Amazon so that I could have the UK version with narration by David Attenborough instead of Oprah Winfrey. I do love Mr. Attenborough so… and sorry Oprah but I can’t respect anyone who vouches for The Secret no matter how philanthropic you are.

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Tiny Ocean Oddities

Sunday the Census of Marine Life released some amazing images of the oceans’ tiniest creatures.. everything from amoebas to larval cephalopods. Among the minute animals, scientist photographed this pink sea cucumber which may be a newly discovered species and is blowing my mind.

Pink Sea Cucumber

Larval Tube Anemone

Angler Fish

Squid Worm

Tube Anemone Larvae

Young Cephalopod

Fish Egg - Near Hatch

Tornaria Larvae

Spider Crab Larvae

Forever Young

Turritopsis Nutricula is anything but a quitter. This little jellyfish is the only animal we know to be immortal. It spends its infant stage as a polyp then becomes a sexually mature medusa. But unlike other jellies, after it reproduces it refuses to die and instead returns back to the polyp stage through a process called transdifferentiation. This cycle can continue indefinitely; however, the animal can still succumb to disease or being eaten. I like its scientific name too.. it makes me think of a vampire triceratops (which may be my new favorite hybrid animal).

One of my little bunnies, Squirrel, is in the animal hospital tonight and I miss her dearly. If she makes it out I must remember to teach her this transdifferentiation thingamajig.

Kings of Camouflage

Cuttlefish are hands down my favorite animal. These strange little creatures have three hearts, blue-green blood, can alter their skin to match an enormous range of colors and textures even though they can only see in shades of green and are intelligent enough to change their defensive strategies based on the type of predator they are facing.

Below is fascinating hour-long Nova special which does a great job explaining how their skin functions as well as exploring their intelligence and odd mating behaviors.

Octopus Hijacker

I love these little hijackers, especially when they’re running away on their tentacles. Apparently this video is the first documentation of octopodes using tools. I can’t wait until they unite with orangutans and crows to take over the world.

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Goal: Visit Great Aquariums

Okay, so I totally have mixed feelings about aquariums and zoos. On one hand, they pull animals out of their natural surroundings and cage them in small, sometimes miserable quarters. On the other hand, they serve to educate and hopefully inspire people to take an active role in protecting animals from becoming endangered. Further, they provide a place to preserve species who have become extinct in the wild and many, like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, are leading the way with their conservation programs.

For better or worse, there are few places that make me as happy. Here are 3 aquariums located in the U.S. that I’ve read about which seem pretty amazing and I’d like to see. Any other recommendations?

1. Georgia Aquarium Atlanta, Georgia

The Georgia Aquarium claims to be the world’s largest aquarium with over 100,000 animals housed in 8.1 million gallons of fresh and saltwater. It is the only aquarium outside of Asia to exhibit whales sharks (of which it has two males). Other notable specimens include great hammerhead sharks, beluga whales and manta rays. The aquarium also has a 100ft underwater tunnel as well as the world’s second largest viewing window.

2. Monterey Bay Aquarium Monterey, California

The Monterey Bay Aquarium contains a 33 foot high, 350,000 gallon tank which holds the world’s first man-grown kelp garden as well as housing California coastal marine life such as leopard sharks and wolf-eels. The aquarium also boasts a 1.2 million gallon tank which is large enough to allow tuna to reach speeds of 18 miles per hour. Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly nerdy, I like to check out the otters on their webcam.

3. Oregon Coast Aquarium Newport, Oregon

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a hop, skip and a jump from my brother and his cute little family, so now I have two excuses to make the trip! The main attraction here is the acrylic tunnel which allows you to be surrounded by sharks, bat rays and rockfish without ever getting wet.


Bloodybelly Comb Jelly

You thought I just strung a bunch of unrelated words together to get your attention, didn’t you? The Bloodybelly Comb Jelly is a sea creature from the deep. What a strange and fabulous little creature.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN WEEKEND!!

TED Talk: David Gallo – Underwater Astonishments

Another favorite TED talk. David Gallo shows video footage of luminescent deep-sea creatures and camouflaging cephalopods. Have I mentioned lately that I can’t stop thinking about cuttlefish?

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The Secret Lives of Seahorses

Dwarf_seahorseaI’ve been dying to go to the Secret Lives of Seahorses exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Seahorses are such strange and romantic little things. They perform courtship dances (lasting up to 8 hours), hold tails, swim snout to snout and bond monogamously for a season.

Then to top that, the males carry and birth the babies! What gentlemen. The female deposits her eggs into his pouch, using a tube called an oviduct, where he fertilizes and incubates the fry until they are ready to swim out fully developed. The pouch provides nutrients, oxygen and regulates salinity.  The male even produces prolactin (a hormone found in pregnant women) and has contractions during the birthing process.

Pigmy SeahorseYou can find an archived webcast here of Monterey Bay Aquarium experts discussing seahorses, pipefish and sea dragons. It’s about an hour long but has some really great photos and videos.

If you’d like to aid in the conservation of one of America’s only species, you can send a note to Governor Schwarzenegger of California asking him to support legislation which will help protect marine areas. Monterey Bay Aquarium makes it easy by providing a form which can be personalized and delivered from the site.

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Sepia Lepus

Well, I’m getting pretty amped up to get down in Mexico. And so how do I prepare… Packing? Naw. Researching the area? Nope. Exercising to get bikini-ready? Pshaw! Looking for pics and videos of whale sharks? You know it!

And what a pleasant surprise when my quest brought me to the art work of Sepia Lepus.  Her images are charming little morsels with attention to placement and pattern. A courageous little white bunny is the central figure in many of her prints. Imagine that James Bond hooked up with a mermaid and they had a baby bunny.. this would be him. He saddles pigs to fight dragons and dives with sea creatures. And frankly, I think that’s pretty great.

The images below (and many more) are available for next to nothing on her Etsy page.

Home Print

Home

Submariner

Submariner

Arctic

Arctic

*I lost a good deal of fidelity in the Arctic print when shrinking to post.

George

George

Clover

Clover

Portrait of Felix

Portrait of Felix