Today's Catch

Sep 4, 2013
Credit:

Doug Nowacek/Duke University

This radio device is used to track North Atlantic right whales. Suction cups hold the device to a whale's back, where it records data such as depth, water, temperature, and underwater sounds. These tags can be used on many species of whales, including blue whales and humpbacks , and other versions have been used to study many other ocean animals . Read more about right whales in the Tale of a...Read more
Sep 3, 2013
Credit:

sean.sheldrake, Flickr

Diving to survey, sample, and manage marine life takes a great deal of skill and knowledge. This diver is sampling the seafloor, also known as the benthic zone. This kind of sampling is important for mapping and can allow scientists to draw conclusions about animal habitats and distributions. For this to work, divers must collect many samples for the data. They can use a wide variety of tools...Read more
Aug 30, 2013
How do we know what coral reefs looked like hundreds of years ago? Often times, we are simply left wondering. Scientists can get an idea from naturalist recordings, but there are many unknowns and they are relying on interpreting personal observations. The landscape of coral reefs has certainly changed since 1846, when Joseph Jukes recorded his impressions of the Great Barrier Reef, and there is...Read more
Aug 29, 2013
Credit:

Michael Bear, Flickr

Swimming by a black sea nettle may be a bit of a shock. These large jellyfish can grow to be over three feet in diameter, and their tentacles can be over 25 feet long. Despite their large size, much about them is still unknown, and they are relatively new to science: black sea nettles weren't an official species until 1997! This is because they are rarely observed in the wild, preferring calm...Read more
Aug 28, 2013
Credit:

Choo Yut Shing, Flickr

The Japanese spider crab is a large catch for any fisherman. With a leg span of 13 feet (4 meters) and an average weight of around 40 pounds (16-20 kg), it claims the title of largest crab. It may also have the longest lifespan of any crab, living to be 100 years old. However, Japanese spider crabs do not survive very long without injury. Their long legs are weak , and a study found that three-...Read more
Aug 27, 2013
Credit:

João Pedro Silva, Flickr

The blue-spotted stingray ( Taeniura lymma ) doesn’t like to be covered in sand like other species of stingray do. Instead, it prefers to show off its beautiful blue spots and, to stay up to the best standards, it needs the help of cleaner fish. These cleaner fish remove parasites from larger fish. Their coloring gives them a sort of uniform, which lets the larger fish know not to eat them. Other...Read more
Aug 26, 2013
Credit:

NASA Earth Observatory, Flickr

When hurricanes blow through an area, they don’t just have an impact on humans. These intense wind events also cause great damage to the ecosystems (pdf) they touch. They harm marine animals by spewing pollution and debris onto their habitats. While there are a few animals, such as sharks and dolphins, that can sense the change in air pressure as a hurricane approaches and swim away, many animals...Read more
Aug 23, 2013
Credit:

United States Department of Defense

On March 1, 1954, the United States military tested nuclear bombs in the ocean around Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean to see what kind of damage they would do to ships. The largest explosion was set off 90 feet underwater: nicknamed "Castle Bravo," the bomb blasted a crater 2 kilometers (more than 1.2 miles) wide in the coral reef and obliterated ocean life in the area. Smithsonian scientists...Read more
Aug 22, 2013
Credit:

Tony Brown, Flickr

The blue lined octopus may be small, growing to at most 15 cm, but it can be deadly: its venom can cause breathing failure in humans as well as other animals. Turtles can accidentally consume the octopus when grazing and drown due to the immobilizing toxins. The blue coloring serves as a warning since it only appears when the octopus is aggravated. Even though the blue lined octopus is more...Read more
Aug 21, 2013
Credit:

Bo Pardau, Flickr

The false killer whale (pdf) ( Pseudorca crassidens ) is a large dolphin that, despite its name, is not closely related to the killer whale. Instead, it's named for similarities in their skull shapes, as the first false killer whale was described from a fossil in the mid-1800s. They are very social animals and form strong bonds with each other, causing them to stick together in pods. This can be...Read more

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