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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Ruby Tuesday

Well they finally did it. After years of searching, scientists have finally found the first living ruby seadragon. This is the third species of seadragon and up until now the only place ruby seadragons have been found is in museums.

Link: HERE

"Previously, scientists had thought sea dragons were distinguished by long, wispy, leaf-like appendages. This feature helped name the two other species in existence — the leafy sea dragon and the common sea dragon (also known as the weedy sea dragon).
But the ruby sea dragon lacks these, bearing a far greater resemblance to a sea dragon relative, the seahorse."

 "Upon seeing the animal in the wild without the same plant-like growths as other sea dragons, the team concluded the ruby sea dragon may have lost them somewhere along the evolutionary timeline."


Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Stayin Alive

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017. So after being forced out of the water for the last 3 months and consultations with the "specialist" (I use that term loosely as I got a distinct felling he was more about the money rather than assisting me), I've decided to get back in the water anyway and see what happens.

As it turned it, it wasn't as traumatic as I imagined it would be and I'm still alive. It's not all perfect though as I'm going to re-acclimate and work round a few issues but several dives into 2017 things can only go up from here on in.

Diving at LHP was more a testing ground rather than a full blown macro hunt but I still managed to get on or two half decent shots, despite everything else going on.

And this happy little chappy we found by pure accident, which is always the way when you're not actually looking for anything.

And as always I would be remiss if I didn't add in a few blennies in for good measure.

And a little golden tail moray to round things off. With any luck I'll be back in the water again on Sunday with a few more images. Sport Diver has a few more of my bits and pieces to publish over the next few months so keep an eye out for them.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Return of the phantom stranger

It's always fascinating and exciting to see footage of marine life that you would never get to see in real life. In this instance the MBARI have some of the best recorded footage of the ghost shark known as a pointy-nosed blue chimaera.

Ghost sharks, or what marine biologists call chimaeras, are a family of unusual fishes whose bodies are stiffened not by bones, but by plates and bone-like bits of cartilage. The animals may be rare, but there are about 38 species of chimaeras around the world.

Technically speaking, chimaeras are not sharks, having diverged from a common ancestor some 400 million years ago. These creatures, which are also related to rays, are veritable living fossils, confined to depths as low as 8,500 feet (2,600 meters).

Link: HERE


Monday, 19 December 2016

Sonic Attack

Could this be the start of underwater transmissions, texts, sound and music? Maybe radio location for missing divers? Or do you think that the the underwater world has no place for man made signalling? What effect, if any, would it have on marine life?

Link: HERE

"It's easy to take modern wireless communication for granted above ground, but it's useless in areas where the signals can't propagate, like underwater or in caves. DARPA might have a better way: its AMEBA (A Mechanically Based Antenna) team is developing portable ultra-low-frequency (1Hz to 3kHz) and very low frequency (3kHz to 30kHz) transmitters that could penetrate materials like water and stone with basic data. Scuba divers could send text messages to each other, for instance, while search and rescue teams could still contact the outside world while they're in tunnels."

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Fisherman's blues

There's a first time for everything. Despite not having been in the water for the last few weeks due to the weather or more exactly the wind, I still managed to end up with a perforated eardrum and an ear infection in the middle of the day while at work. Don't ask me how it happened, I have no idea.

So lots of time spent at the doctors, then even more time at the specialists and all I have to show for it is a ton of drugs and no hearing. Just in time for the holiday season. Hooray. At least I got to see pictures of the aforementioned perforation. It's not a pretty sight looking at the inside of your own ears. Like looking at the moon's surface. Only pinker. And slightly moister. Also having the inner ear reconstructed about 8 years ago makes this a little awkward for the healing process.

Hopefully I'll be good to go in time for the traditional Xmas dive. Or maybe New Year.......

And now for the boring bit if anyone has ever wondered what a perforated eardrum is......

A hole or rupture in the eardrum, a thin membrane that separates the ear canal and the middle ear, is called a perforated eardrum. The medical term for eardrum is tympanic membrane. The middle ear is connected to the nose by the Eustachian tube, which equalizes pressure in the middle ear. A perforated eardrum is often accompanied by decreased hearing and sometimes liquid discharge. The perforation may be accompanied by pain, if it is caused by an injury or becomes infected.

Middle ear infections may cause pain, hearing loss, and spontaneous rupture of the eardrum, resulting in a perforation. In this case,there may be infected or bloody drainage from the ear. Infections can cause a hole in the eardrum as a side effect of otitis media. Symptoms of acuteotitis media (middle ear fluid with signs of infection) include a senese of fullness in the ear, some hearing loss, pain, and fever.
In patients with chronic Eustachian tube problems the ear drum may become weakened and open up.

Most eardrum holes resulting from injury or an acute ear infection heal on their own within weeks of opening,although some may take several months to heal. During the healing process the ear must be protected from water and trauma. Eardrum perforations that do not heal on their own may require surgery. How is hearing affected by a perforated eardrum?

Usually the size of the perforation determines the level of hearing loss--a larger hole will cause greater hearing loss than a smaller hole. If severe injury (e.g., skull fracture) moves the bones in the middle ear that send out sound, out of place, or injuries the inner ear, hearing loss may be serious.

If the perforated eardrum is caused by a sudden traumatic or violent event, the loss of hearing can be great and tinnitus (ringing in the ear) may occur. Chronic infection as a result of the perforation can cause longer lasting or worsening hearing loss.
Before attempting any correction of the perforation, a hearing test should be performed. The benefits of closing a perforation include prevention of water entering the middle ear while showering, bathing, or swimming (which could cause ear infection), improved hearing, and lessened tinnitus. It also may prevent the development of cholesteatoma (skin cyst in the middle ear), which can cause chronic infection and destruction of ear structures.

If the perforation is very small, an otolaryngologist (your ear, nose and throat physician) may choose to observe the perforation over time to see if it will close on its own. He or she might try to patch a patient’s eardrum in the office. Working with a microscope, your doctor may touch the edges of the eardrum with a chemical to stimulate growth and then place a thin paper patch on the eardrum.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Denn du bist was du isst

Interesting video on shark behaviour when interacting with humans. Now because this is on youtube, you may need to take it with a pinch of salt unless there are any shark experts out there that can confirm or deny the information contained within. Still worth a few minutes of your time. Embedded video below and youtube link below that for those that don't have flash enabled browser.


Link: HERE

Bottom line, according to these guys, most humans don't have enough fat content for their liking and we're too bony for their slow digestive system. Also the risk factor for the sharks is too great for the potential gains in trying to eat us as there's more potential for injury, so we're not worth the effort. They're far more afraid of us than we are of them.

And quite rightly so. Using data on shark catches, discards and mortality rates worldwide, the researchers estimated that approximately 100 million sharks are killed per year by humans. However, they add that this is a conservative estimate, and the true number could be as high as 273 million sharks killed annually by humans.

No wonder they're afraid of us as we're systematically wiping them off the face of the planet. Next time you see a shark whilst diving, be grateful as at this rate, they could disappear entirely and that would be a tragic loss of epic proportions for us.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Smokestack Lightning

Mantis shrimp are amazing creatures. They can strike prey as fast as 330 metres a second, but some other mantis shrimp use a stabbing technique to kill.

The little critters hide their body up to their eyes in the sand as they wait for a fish to swim by. When a fish gets close, the mantis shrimp shoots its body out of the sand, impales the fish with serrated blades, and then drags the fish back into the sand with it. All this happens in a matter of seconds, so it’s almost like the fish just disappeared.

With eyes that have six pseudopupils and 12 color receptors, they have exceptional vision compared to us. We only have two pupils and 3 color receptors. But beyond that, what’s really impressive is their ability to see polarization. Scientists have found that some mantis shrimp species use circular polarization to communicate with each other on a kind of secret visual channel for mating and territorial purposes.