Seeking Fish, Patrolling Albatrosses Join the Cops

In an innovative experiment to help find commercial fishing vessels poaching in restricted waters, scientists have attached tiny radar detectors to high-soaring albatrosses, renowned flyers known for their attraction to ships at sea. Patrolling albatrosses revealed that about a third of ships in the Southern Indian Ocean were seeking to avoid detection. TWO IMMUTABLE FACTS: 1) IF THERE’S FOOD AROUND, ANIMALS WILL SHOW UP FOR AN EASY MEAL. 2) There are always going to be

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Marine Life Stamps: When Snail Mail Is Really Fishy

From queen angels to sea jellies, whales to nudibranchs, marine life stamps are a medium for appreciation of life under the sea around the world. SOMETIMES THE FOCUS OF MARINE LIFE STAMPS is on fishes important to an nation’s economy, like Latvia’s 2004 recognition of the turbot, an important food fish in Baltic Sea waters. Sometimes, it’s on the exotic reef creatures that draw divers and other tourists to their waters, like Australia and Caribbean

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Eels in Seals’ Noses: No One Knows Why

ONE EEL UP A SEAL’S NOSE IS AN EVENT. FOUR EELS IN SEALS’ NOSES IS A FAD. Like teenagers swallowing detergent pods, Hawaiian monk seals seem to be chasing a trend – stuffing eels inside in their nostrils. At least, that appearance baffles staff at the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program, an NOAA agency based in Honolulu. Unknown until recently, the researchers have encountered the eels in seal’s noses phenomenon several times in the past

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Octopuses on Ecstasy Become Huggy

GIVING THE PARTY DRUG ECSTASY TO OCTOPUSES may sound like a joke from a slacker movie. Some news stories about the research have taken a humorous tack, talking about how octopuses on Ecstasy become huggy. But, in fact, the study has a serious goal and may result in improved understanding of evolution and treatment of human afflictions like post-traumatic stress disorder. IT’S ABOUT THE GENES Johns Hopkins University’s Gül Dölen and Marine Biological Laboratory’s Eric

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In The Galapagos, Penguin Gender Can Be Told by Beak Size

IN CASE YOU EVER WANT TO ASK A PENGUIN FOR A DATE, researchers studying Galapagos penguins have found an easy way to tell males from females: Penguin gender can be judged by the fact that males have bigger beaks than females. I’m not sure what practical use this information has for most of us but it’s important for scientists doing field research on the little guys. And, it gives me a chance to post one

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“The Fastest Punch in the World”

MANTIS SHRIMPS ARE PARTICULARLY AGGRESSIVE CRUSTACEANS with exceptional traits. One is their ability to smash hardshelled prey with lightning strokes. As this awesome Smithsonian Channel video shows, the mantis shrimp punch is perhaps the strongest, fastest left hook in the ocean. The mantis headlines earlier this year focused on their complex eyes and exceptional vision (seethe Poseidon’s Web post How Mantis Shrimps See – With Polarity). Even more impressive – and worrisome to fishermen who may accidentally

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The Sapona Wreck: Strange Ship, Stranger Story – But Not Al Capone’s

A POPULAR WRECK DIVE IN THE BAHAMAS’ BIMINI CHAIN, THE S. S. SAPONA HAS A SHADY PAST but nothing as lurid as the tales people tell about it. And while the Sapona wreck’s story does include (a little) gambling and (some) Prohibition-era bootlegging, it doesn’t include the oft-credited gangster Al Capone. It was built of reinforced concrete as a solution to the World War I shortage of steel for Liberty Ships, just not by Henry

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It’s About Giant Larvaceans. Watch It Anyway. An Awesome Video

THIS POST HAS TWO PARTS: One is a terrific video about giant larvaceans, deep seazooplankton, featuring a cast of many other deep sea denizens and a terrific jazz piano score (It’s from the estimable folks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, naturally). Then there’s the article from the quarterly science magazine Cosmos, focusing on research on giant larvaceans’ role in sequestering carbon in their “mucus houses” – yes, “mucus houses” – and sending it to

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The Penguin Selfie: Better Than Yours

WHAT’S MORE ADORABLE THAN PHOTOS OF TWO EMPEROR PENGUINS? A “selfie” video taken by the penguins themselves. Admittedly, I’m hardly the first to take it up – posted March 7th, it’s been featured on television news and print media around the world and the 38-second video has had more than 400,000 views – but, really, it’s irresistible. JUST HAPPENED TO BE TURNED ON  Basically, two curious emperor penguins – the noble species featured in the 2005

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