Whale Shark Size And Age: Long Live Whale Sharks!

APPARENTLY IT TAKES TIME TO GROW TO BE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST FISH. A new study of whale shark size and age has indicated that gargantuan fishes can live to the ripe old age of 130 years. Marine biologists at the U.K.-based Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme and Florida’s Nova Southeastern University analyzed a decade’s worth of repetitive, non-invasive underwater measurements of whale sharks in the Maldives to understand whale shark age and growth details. Previous

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For Shark Week: The Shark Pup Hatching, from bioGraphic

HERE’S A REMARKABLE PHOTO OF A SHARK PUP HATCHING, published in the terrific science magazine bioGraphic. It’s a small spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula), caught just after its emergence from its egg casing. That’s its name – small spotted catshark – but the little shark has other common names, including lesser spotted dogfish. Recreational diver are not so likely to see one. S. canicula is a bottom-dweller at depths from 30 to 300 feet/10 to 300

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 It’s Shark Week. Here’s to Eugenie Clark – and “Genie’s Dogfish!” 

A NEWLY IDENTIFIED SPECIES OF SHARK has been named “Genie’s Dogfish” in honor of renowned marine biologist Eugenie Clark, a.k.a. the “Shark Lady.” It may be just coincidence that the news about “Genie’s Dogfish” came out just when the cable networks have resumed telling us that it’s totally unsafe to be in any ocean with any shark. But it’s fitting. Dr. Clark, who died in 2015 at age 92, was a pioneer in shark research

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Rats and Reefs: What Happens On Land Doesn’t Stay On Land

A NEWLY PUBLISHED STUDY ON THE LINK BETWEEN RATS AND REEFS has found a substantial link to the health of the coral reefs in the waters around the islands.  The reason: Seabird poop on land is good for a broad range of reef denizens underwater. And the rats kill off seabirds, whose guano provides nutrients that enhance the reef’s health. An international team of scientists studied the ecosystems of rat-infested and rat-free islands in the Chagos

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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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Starbucks to Eliminate Plastic Straws

STARBUCKS HAS JOINED THE LIST OF PLACES AND COMPANIES to announce plans to eliminate plastic straws in its businesses. With some 28,000 stores, the coffee seller is the largest corporation to take the step, a move pushed by activists to decrease the amount of plastic waste in the environment, especially in the oceans. The company says the plan to eliminate plastic straws by 2020 will will mean one billion less straw in circulation. PLASTIC STRAWS NO, LIDS

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Bioluminescent Firefly Squid: “Flashes of Brilliance,” bioGraphic

THREE INCHES LONG, MOSTLY DEEP-WATER DENIZENS and found in Japanese waters, bioluminescent firefly squid (Watasenia scintillans) are not particularly familiar to western divers. But once a year, female fireflies come to the surface in large, nightly aggregations and put on dazzling shows of light. “The squids’ twinkling displays have captured scientists’ attention since the early 20th century, and have helped researchers better understand the chemistry of bioluminescence,” says science writer Elizabeth Preston in “Flashes of

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Seattle Joins the Plastic Straw Ban Movement

SEATTLE HAS JOINED THE LIST OF CITIES, COUNTRIES AND CORPORATIONS ON PLANET EARTH TO ADOPT A PLASTIC STRAW BAN. The measure, which went into effect July 1, bans straws and plastic utensils in bars and restaurants. The move is a step forward in the worldwide campaign to cut down on the amount of plastics entering the environment, especially the world’s oceans. It’s estimated that Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. Many of them make their way

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Good News on the Belize Barrier Reef

THE BELIZE BARRIER REEF, the second-largest reef system in the world, has been removed from the United Nations list of endangered world heritage sites. The U.N. agency UNESCO voted Tuesday to remove the reef from its list of threatened sites, citing significant progress by the Belize government in protecting the reef, according to an article in the New York Times. UNESCO placed the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS) on the endangered list in 2009

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“Do Dolphins Feel Grief?” Science News Feed

A VIDEO OF A STRIPED DOLPHIN IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA remaining with its dead female companion prompted a new study on the question of whether dolphins feel grief, reported on in Science Magazine’s daily news feed. It’s been a mystery for a good half-century. There are plenty of reports of dolphins exhibiting grief-like behavior, like mothers (and some males) carrying dead infants in their mouths for days. In this case, the male dolphin pushed, nudged and

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