Octopus Nursery, Outer Space Versus the Oceans & Other Interesting Reads

“EARTH WEEK: GIANT GROUP OF OCTOPUS MOMS DISCOVERED IN THE DEEP SEA”  National Science Foundation  Scientists studying thermal fluids seeping from the ocean’s floor two miles deep discovered something that shouldn’t have been there: an enormous group of octopuses brooding eggs – hundreds of the previously unknown species  occupying “every available rock in the area.”

As surprising as the find was, it was sad, in that the location probably means the octopus nursery is doomed. “Deep-sea octopuses usually live in cold waters and exposure to higher temperatures jump-starts their metabolism, fueling a need for more oxygen than warm water can provide,” according to the scientists.

In fact, the octopuses the scientists observed showed evidence of severe stress. The researchers could only guess that the 186 eggs that were attached to the rocks faced the same challenges. None had any sign of a developing embryo.

The sheer number of likely doomed octopuses and their eggs suggests that there’s a better habitat nearby, the scientists said.

“WHICH IS SCARIER: SPACE OR THE OCEAN? EXPERTS FINALLY SETTLE THE SCORE”  Inverse.com  Apparently some astronomers and oceanographers spend time debating whether being underwater in the oceans or exploring outer space is more frightening. Inverse.com asked some. They came down on both sides, but one opinion – actually, quite a few – was along the lines: “Space is passively trying to kill you. The ocean has things in it that are actively trying to kill and eat you.”  Enjoy….

 “BODIES REMODELED FOR A LIFE AT SEA”   New York Times   Studies of a Southeast Asian population whose members have been earning their livings by freediving for fish and shellfish for many generations have evolved bigger spleens, giving them enhanced endurance for their deep dives.

 “IN THE FATE OF THE DELTA SMELT, WARNINGS OF CONSERVATION GONE WRONG”   Undark.org  The Delta smelt, a fish native to the estuaries of San Francisco Bay, is in danger of becoming the first fish to go extinct in the wild while under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act. This case study says the focus on endangered individual species is inadequate; it needs to be on ecosystems.

“TINY SHRIMP MAY BE MIXING OCEAN WATER AS MUCH AS THE WIND AND WAVES”  Science Magazine News   It was long thought that the only thing that stirred the deep ocean waters were wind and waves.  New research demonstrates that swarms of tiny shrimps also are a significant contributor.

“OCEAN SUNFISH COULD OFFER CLUES TO THE ‘RISE OF SLIME’”  The Scientist  Ocean sunfishes eat sea jellies, among other things. Scientists are considering whether an increase in Mediterranean ocean sunfish populations reflects an increase in sea jelly populations, predicted as the world’s oceans warm (the “slime” part is the prospect of the oceans being taken over by jellies, algal blooms and “other slimy blobs.”

CARBON EMISSIONS OF LOBSTER AND SRIMP OUTSTRIP CHICKEN AND PORK – AND SOMETIMES EVEN BEEF   Antropocene   As the popularity of shrimp and lobster increases, carbon emissions from shrimp and lobster fisheries also are going up. Today they account for six percent of global catch landings and 22 percent of the emissions total.

 “A DEAD SPERM WHALE WAS FOUND WITH 64 POUNDS OF TRASH IN ITS DIGESTIVE SYSTEM   The Washington Post   A young sperm whale washed ashore on the coast of Spain. An autopsy found trash bags, plastic sacks, pieces of net and other debris in its stomach and intestines. It’s not the first instance of such events.

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