Nature | Killer Whales In Danger of Extinction

killer whale extinction Nature | Killer Whales In Danger of Extinction

More sad nature news and documentary on yet another species in trouble of going extinct. This time its the top predator of the sea, the Killer Whale. The Pacific coast of North America is the largest laboratory on earth where on-going studies into the state of the Killer Whale reveal startling new information about the oceans we inhabit. Killer in Peril is a sobering report on our planet’s heath told from the unique perspective of an extraordinary animal.

Via Killer whales in grave danger

Puget Sound’s southern resident killer whales are going extinct faster than the Seahawks playoff hopes, but the government agency charged with protecting them has refused to do anything about it. So today conservationists are going to court to force the agency to comply with the law and protect the whales from extinction. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos

Seahorses in the River Thames, Really?

short snout sea horses Seahorses in the River Thames, Really?

When you think of the Thames, a Turner painting might come to mind or Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows or, for a slightly more modern reference, the iconic titles of the BBC’s Eastenders or the opening boat chase in The World is Not Enough. What you don’t necessarily think of are…seahorses.

However, it’s been announced that short-snouted seahorses “have set up residence in the recovering River Thames”. The once heavily polluted river is now much cleaner, thanks to several rehabilitation efforts stretching back to the 1950s. Continue Reading / See Additional Photos

Salmon Disappearing Faster Than You Can Say Sashimi

salmon Salmon Disappearing Faster Than You Can Say Sashimi

We’re all aware of the crisis in global fisheries. Some of us may even know the details — that a third of the world’s fishing stocks have already collapsed, and that if this trend continues we’d be looking down the barrel of total collapse within fifty years.

But sometimes it takes an event a little closer to home to bring the message home.

For Angelenos, it doesn’t get much closer than the California coastline, where last fall only “about 90,000 adult chinook returned to the Central Valley the second lowest number on record and well below the number needed to maintain a healthy fishery”. This compared with 775,000 salmon in 2002. The Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet in Seattle this week, where they’ll vote to impose a total ban or “the most severe restrictions” on salmon fishing ever seen along the Oregon and California coastlines.

Continue Reading / See Additional Photos

Not Even Sea Life is Safe | Global Warming Creates Ocean Dead Zones

fish hypoxic Not Even Sea Life is Safe | Global Warming Creates Ocean Dead Zones

photo by AriaFotografia cc

There’s more grim news for fish and other marine life as scientists uncover oxygen deprived “dead zones” — also known as “hypoxic zones” — in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Once again, it appears that global warming is the main culprit.

A study by a team of scientists, led by Lothar Stramma of the University of Kiel in Germany, published in the journal Science, shows that oxygen depleted zones have been expanding over the past 50 years. They warn that the oxygen levels in these zones have reached critical levels and that the “continued expansion of these zones could have dramatic consequences for both sea life and coastal economies.” Continue Reading / See Additional Photos

Three New Species Found in Aleutians

aleutians new species Three New Species Found in Aleutians

“Mysterious creatures found lurking under the islands of the Aleutians…” Sounds like the beginning to “Underworld”, doesn’t it? But the follow up is far from Likens or Vampires. What have been discovered by a team of scientific divers are three new types of marine organisms.

Two new forms of sea anemones were discovered swimming along the ocean floor in search of food. While most anemones latch onto the ocean’s bottom, the swimming kind can detach and moved along with the currents. The size of the newly found anemones ranged from softball to basketball. (Those are some BIG anemones. I’d almost rather come across a vampire.)

The third type of organism found was a new form of Kelp. It has been named Golden V Kelp or Aureophycus aleuticus. (I’ll stick with Golden V.) Mandy Lindeberg, an algae expert with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service states that the kelp may represent a new family of the seaweed. Golden V was about 10 feet long and was found growing near the thermal vents in the region surrounding the dive.

Stephen Jewett, a professor of marine biology and the dive leader on the expedition, stated that “since the underwater world of the Aleutian Islands has been studied so little, new species are being discovered, even today.”

The dives were part of a health assessment of the Aleutian Islands and were sponsored by the Alaska Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program, AKMAP. The program is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. The samples from the dive are being used to check the biodiversity in the region as well as checking the water quality for potential contaminates such as radioactive materials left over from underwater nuclear tests conducted at Amchitka Island between 1965 and 1971.

Nice to know something wonderful (like the discovery of new species) can come from something catastrophic.

via Science Daily

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