Coral Reefs Ring, Scientists Say

CORAL REEFS “RING,” ACCORDING TO NEW RESEARCH. You may not hear it above your bubbles or the cacophony of surges or the clacking of snapping shrimp that contribute to the sounds we hear underwater. But, if listened to properly, the reefs may be able to tell us about their health. IT’S THE BUBBLES More specifically, algae on the reef produces ringing sounds as it goes about its business of photosynthesizing H2O molecules into simple-sugar nutrients

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

“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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Rambo Rules: An Octopus Takes Photos of People

FINDING A FRIENDLY OCTOPUS ON YOUR PHOTO SHOOT DIVE IS A RARE JOY.  Sony Corporation and Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium in Auckland, New Zealand, turned the tables. The concept: An octopus takes photos of people. The octopus is Rambo, so named because he wrecked two camera systems in the course of the training.  RAMBO RULES Of course, the concept in which an octopus takes photos of people is a long-running performance art commercial for Sony’s TX30 camera,

Read more

Your Scallops Are Probably Watching You

NOT THE ONES ON YOUR DINNER TABLE (presumably). But scallops you might be eyeing  during a dive may well be looking back at you, possibly contemplating an escape with a sort of jet propulsion created by clapping their shells together. And, they see through as many as 200 grain-sized, complex eyes located at the tips of tentacles extended past their shells, each resembling the structure of a reflecting telescope with a tiny concave mirror. “WHAT”

Read more

Echoes of The Wall: The Pink Floyd Pistol Shrimp

SCIENTISTS IDENTIFYING A NEW SPECIES OF PISTOL SHRIMP is interesting but not astounding, since discoveries like this continually advance our understanding of the web of life. UNLESS…The researchers name the new species after the iconic prog rock band Pink Floyd. That’s what a team of marine naturalists from the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil did with the newly identified Synalpheus pinkfloydi, which they found in Pacific waters off the coast of Panama. A

Read more