Today's Catch

Mar 27, 2014
Credit:

Bob Nicholls/Bristol University

Today, filter feeders like clams, sponges, krill, baleen whales, fishes, and many others fill the ocean, spending their days filtering and eating tiny particles from the water. But when did the first filter feeder evolve? The first known filter feeder is a large shrimp-like creature called Tamisiocaris borealis . This species is an anomalocarid, a group of early marine animals from the Cambrian...Read more
Mar 26, 2014
Credit:

Zhifei Zhang et al.Link

For a long time, scientists thought that some small tentacled fossils were early ancestors of jellyfish. But a new study has found that these ancient animals are actually related to an entirely different group of animals : the entoprocts, which are still alive today. The new fossil ( Cotyledion tylodes ) lived during the Cambrian period (around 520 million years ago), along with the ancestors of...Read more
Mar 25, 2014
Credit:

Hidden Ocean 2005, NOAA

In the icy waters of the Arctic , a deep-water larvacean (aka “sea tadpole” because it looks like a tadpole) drifts through the water in its 'house.' This house is made of protein and creates almost a shell around the larvacean and helps to filter particles out of the water for the larvacean to eat. And when the filters get clogged, the plankter can just shed the 'house' and build itself a new...Read more
Mar 24, 2014
Credit:

Wikimedia User “Fisherman”

Buyers examine tuna lining the floor of Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan. Ounce per ounce, tuna is one of the most valuable varieties of seafood. In 2012, a single 593lb bluefin tuna sold for $736,000 in a Japanese market. Not surprisingly, populations of bluefin tunas have declined to very low levels, and the species is listed as endangered .Read more
Mar 21, 2014
Credit:

New England Aquarium

A close up view of Phoenix and the rough patches of skin known as callosities that are found on all North Atlantic right whales . These callosities are inhabited by small amphipods called whale lice and they can be used to identify an individual right whale much like fingerprints. More about the right whale can be found in our Tale of a Whale featured story .Read more
Mar 20, 2014
Credit:

Texas A&M University

This deep-sea black coral from Hawaii ( Leiopathes sp. ) is more than 4,200 years old. Black corals are named for the color of their skeletons, but the external tissues of black corals come in many bright colors. Explore more in the multimedia feature " Coral Gardens of the Deep Sea ."Read more
Mar 19, 2014
Credit:

Lawrence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Climate and sea changes in the Southern Ocean create conditions that favor the growth of salps over krill , the latter of which are a vital food source for seals, whales, and penguins. Salps are filter-feeding tunicates that float through the water column, sometimes forming long salp chains, consuming phytoplankton and using jet propulsion to move. Read about their complex life history in “ The...Read more
Mar 17, 2014
Credit:

NOAA's National Ocean Service

Giant kelp ( Macrocystis pyrifera ) is large, brown algae that grows in dense forests along coasts around the world. Long stalks anchor each plant to the seafloor, and they grow meters high like giant trees towards the surface. Kelp forest ecosystems are home to a variety of animals, including seals, sea lions, whales, sea otters, gulls, terns, snowy egrets, great blue herons, cormorants, and...Read more
Mar 14, 2014
Credit:

Flickr User Telemachus

Sharks have young in three different ways. After internal fertilization, some species lay a thick egg case that encloses the shark embryo (seen in the photo here). Most species are ovoviviparous, which means that the shark hatches and develops within the female shark and is born live. A third way (viviparous) is similar to human development, where the young shark grows within the female and gets...Read more
Mar 13, 2014
Credit:

Lexa Grutter

A parrotfish ( Chlorurus sordidus ) creates a mucus cocoon to protect it from parasites, like bloodsucking isopods , while it sleeps. Read more from the Citizens at Sea blog .Read more

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