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
Links to interesting stuff around the web.
LINKS TO INTERESTING STUFF ON THE WEB – CETACEAN EDITION “Seven North Atlantic Right Whale Calves Spotted So Far This Year,” The Scientist The number is still too low to be sustainable, but last year it was zero, so it’s promising. “Beaked Whales Are the Deepest Divers,” New York Times Not that much is known about them, but they dive deeper and can stay longer than any other marine mammal. “Migrating blue whales rely onRead more
INTERESTING STUFF FROM AROUND THE WEB A marine biologist snorkeled with a great white shark, even touching it. She called it “magic.” Others call it risky behavior and tell you to please not try it. Story and video, Washington Post. An anomaly in our age of global warming, a deep region of the Pacific Ocean is actually cooling. It’s because of the very slow churn of the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt; the water in questionRead more
INTERESTING STUFF ON THE WEB Jellyfish have generally been regarded as more nuisance more than key players in the ocean food web. But they may be much more significant than has been previously thought, according to a study described in the online magazine Anthropocene. While they have long been considered “tropic dead ends” ignored by predators, in fact they’re regularly consumed by marine life as diverse as fishes, penguins, turtles, crabs, octopuses, sea cucumbers andRead more
GOOD READS ON THE WEB – WHALE EDITION Whales change their tune and pick new songs every few years, according to the Science Magazine news feed. At least, humpback whales do, according to a team of Australian and British scientists. Whale populations tend to have their own songs, which change gradually over the years. But the researchers, studying separate humpback populations from the east and west coasts of Australia found that the eastern groups tended toRead more
GOOD READS ON THE WEB Researchers have added a new species of pygmy seahorse to the six already known, according to an article in National Geographic. Compared in size to grains of rice, Hippocampus japapigu – “Japan pig” – is tiny but active, playful and adorable, according to the international team of scientists who documented it. The little guys had been observed by divers for some time but the scientists realized it was an undocumented speciesRead more