New research and developments, in depth.

When Killer Whales Show Up, Great Whites Run Away

A NEW STUDY HAS FOUND THAT WHEN KILLER WHALES ARRIVE IN A FEEDING GROUND, GREAT WHITES SHARKS CLEAR OUT. In a study of great white sharks and killer whales, It turns out that great whites, renowned as the oceans’ apex predators, have apex predators of their own in orcas, or killer whales. Researchers at Monterrey Bay Aquarium and several partner organizations looked at patterns in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary off San Francisco, a

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Thermal Vents, Microbial Mats & Deep Sea Mirrors

THE MISSION WAS TO STUDY DEEP SEA HYDROTHERMAL VENTS. THE BONUS REWARD WAS MESMERIZING UPSIDE-DOWN DEEP SEA MIRRORS – at least, the illusion of mirrors – under ledges some 6,500 ft/2,000 m under the sea. The Schmidt Ocean Institute scientists on the research vessel Falkor were seeking earlier this year to learn about the life, geology and chemistry of little-explored deep thermal vents in the Gulf of California’s Guatmas Basin. And, using a remotely operated

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“Whale Falls” Have Large Impacts in the Deep Sea

WHEN A WHALE FALLS TO THE DEEP SEAFLOOR, A COMMUNITY FORMS AROUND ITS NUTRITIOUS CARCASS. Scavengers like sleeper sharks and hagfish arrive first to consume skin and muscle. Microbes convene to work on the scraps those fish scatter. Worms, snails and crabs show up to graze through its array of bones. Newly described worms called Osedax, which live only within the bones of fallen whales, appear. By one estimate, there may be hundreds of thousands

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Wet & Great: Underwater Photographer of the Year, 2019

WINNERS FOR THE UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR’S 2019 COMPETITION have been announced and as usual, the results are stunning. Drawing entries from around the world, the United- Kingdom-based group judges photos in eight categories – Wide-Angle, Macro, Portrait, Compact, Behavior, Black & White and Up and Coming – plus three British Waters categories, Wide Angle, Macro and Compact. Here are several samples from this year’s winners. SEE THEM ALL You can view the all

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The Conch Republic Has Just Banned Coral-Toxic Sunscreens, and So Should You!

THE EVIDENCE IS CLEAR: THE MOST COMMON CHEMICALS FOUND IN SUNSCREENS, OXYBENZONE AND OCTINOXATE, are damaging to coral reefs and contribute to coral bleaching. The city of Key West in Florida has just joined the state of Hawaii in voting to ban the sale of coral-toxic sunscreens. At stake is the health of their fragile reefs and, obviously, their futures as destinations for millions of divers and other tourists. They’d like to see reef-safe sunscreen

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These Humpbacks Let Seabirds Bring the Prey

OFF THE COAST OF CANADA’S VANCOUVER ISLAND, HUMPBACK WHALES have developed a new, low-energy approach to collecting their daily 2,500 kg of delectable edibles like herring. Kicking back and remaining stationary, these humpbacks let seabirds bring the prey to them. The scientists who have documented the new behavior have termed it “trap-feeding,” after the plant world’s Venus fly traps. CONVENTIONAL FEEDING TECHNIQUES Humpbacks (Megaptera novaeangliae) are baleen whales – that is, they earn their livings by

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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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The Ultimate Wreck Dive You’ll Never Do

HIDDEN IN THE BLACK SEA FOR MORE THAN 2,400 YEARS, an ancient Greek shipwreck sits tantalizingly intact, awaiting visitors – one mile below the surface. It’s the ultimate wreck dive nobody will do except with ROV’s or manned submersibles. The 75 ft-/23 m-long ship, believed to be a trading vessel dating from about 400 B.C., sits on the bottom tilted towards its starboard side, with its mast still erect, its rowing benches in place, its

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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

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A Newly Discovered Coral Reef on America’s Doorstep

A NEWLY DISCOVERED CORAL REEF off the U.S.’s mid-Atlantic coast  stretches for some 85 miles, dense with stony Lophelia pertusa, a branching deep-sea, cold-water coral. A half-mile below the ocean surface, the “new” reef has “mountains” of coral, according to researchers. It’s situated about 160 miles off Charleston, S.C. DEEP SEARCH – A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY The newly discovered coral reef was identified by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other agencies as

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