Archive for March, 2012

I thought this article was fascinating. What caught my eye was the article’s picture of the endangered crab(You guys have to see it!). According to the article, scientists found four new crab species of the colorful crab called Insulamon. They were found in the Philippines in an island called Palawan. These crabs are unable to spread elsewhere because all the stages of their development relies on freshwater all their life. This means you can’t find them anywhere else other than this island.

This is a concerning matter because there are mining projects very close to their habitats, so with these risks, there’s a chance this might lead to their extinction! This is shockingly disappointing; we discover a cool new species, only to find out they’ll become extinct soon if no one stops the mining activity there! On the bright side, students are trying to create awareness for these poor crabs and their unique habitat.

Do you think the awareness is enough to stop the mining activity?

Are there any benefits in learning about these unique species?

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I read an article about a group of scientists and professors at university in Israel are looking for renewable energy source that doesn’t endanger natural habitats or human food sources, such as bio ethanol which come from crops. Diverting crops to produce fuel limits food resources for some people. They say that common can be grown more quickly than land-based crops and harvested as fuel without sacrificing usable land. It’s a possible source of bioethanol that has remained unexplored until now. The researchers are now developing methods for growing and harvesting seaweed as a source of renewable energy. Not only is growing seaweeds along coastlines harmless they also clear the water of excessive nutrients that disturbs the marine environment.

What other methods have been found in making biofuel?

Do you think there are risks to making fuel out of seaweeds?

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I read this article about the golden cowrie and it talks about how cool this thing is. This is a marine snail, and they call it brilliant orange because of its shell. It is one of the largest shells in the world reaching up to four inches in length. They mostly spend their life hiding under the rocks. Cowrie only comes out of the rock when its night to eat sponges and algae. They like egg-shaped that has flat base and narrow opening. What cool thing about this golden cowrie and people can make a necklace out of it. It’s also a symbol of status and rank. By the time comes Golden Cowrie loss and over-harvesting because of the people who are using this species to make money.

Do you know that the Ancient Romans used the word porculi, or little pigs, to refer to cowries?

Do you know that this species size related to tea cup?

 

 

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I read this article about the declining population of sea otters in Monterey Bay. During the late 1800s and early 1900s sea otters were nearly hunted to extinction, despite decades of efforts to bring them back they are still in trouble. In 1911 sea otter hunting was banned throughout the world, but even today the otter population in California is just 2,700, down from perhaps as many as 16,000 in the past.

The underlying problem is simply that the otters are running out of food. While they are not starving to death, they are depleting their favorite prey, sea urchins and abalone, and having to spend more time hunting. Poor nutrition is compromising their fitness to survive diseases or other threats, said Dr. Tinker, who runs the United States Geological Survey’s otter research program. “They’re not getting enough food to make it through.” Reports from Dr. Tinker’s team also suggest that otters are particularly vulnerable to sharks.

What would a solution to the sea otter’s problems be?

If there is a solution why do anything about it?

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/science/sea-otters-failure-to-thrive-confounds-researchers.html?_r=1&ref=fishandothermarinelife

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From: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070222-squid-pictures.html

On http://deepseanews.com/ I was searching for a blog post and I found this: The Colossal Squid. The Colossal Squid is the largest invertebrate ever known. The website says that the Giant Squid is longer but it isn’t heavier. The Colossal Squid can cloak it’s eyes. It weights about half a ton. It’s huge tentacles are line with razor sharp hooks. The eye is the largest of any animal known. On a national geographic post i found it says: (From 2008)

“Marine scientists studying the carcass of a rare colossal squid said Wednesday they had measured its eye at about 11 inches (28 centimeters) across—bigger than a dinner plate—making it the largest animal eye on Earth.”

The animal was caught off of the coast of Antarctica. It was frozen and the eye was the largest intact Colossal Squid eye found.

1. Will they find even larger specimens in Antarctica as they ice melts?

2. How old is this squid and can they get bigger than this one?

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I’m reading this article about a giant penguin fossil that has been reconstructed after about 35 years. A paleontologist named Dr. Ewan Fordyce collected the fossils in 1977. It says that the researchers dubbed the the penguin Kairuku. The name translates to “diver who returns with food.” Dr. Dan Ksepka is interested in the diversity of penguin species that lived in what is now New Zealand during the Oligocene period, approximately 25 million years ago. Dr. Ksepka said that the penguins were in a great location where it offered food and protection. New Zealand at the time was underwater, and it was isolated, which kept predators from eating the penguins. I read that the Kairuku was around 4 feet and 2 inches or maybe even taller. This article was very interesting to me, one reason is because I didn’t expect penguins to be that tall.

1. What type of food did these penguins eat, during the Oligocene period?

2. What kind of predators do you think they faced against during that time period?

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I was reading along and found this article about the ice berg that sank the Titanic.  Scientists say that iceberg was launched by the strong pull of the full moon on that one fateful night says scientist Donald Olson of Texas State University-San Marcos.  During this time scientists are saying that that month had been a very bad time for icebergs.  They are still trying to figure out why it was.  Olson says that the reason why there were so many icebergs is because there was a “Supermoon” where the moon is closest to the earth.  It was also during a spring tide as well.  Where the tides were higher and lower than usual.  Scientists say that this was the closest lunar approach to the earth since A.D. 796!!

Do you think this was the cause of the sinking of the Titanic?

What other reasons could have caused this?

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The article I found talks about a unique sea snake that has spiny scales. This snake is called Hydrophis Donaldi and it is found in the northern Australia. One of the ecologist leader names Kanisha Ukuwela says, “no other sea snake has this curious feature. All snakes usually has smooth scales but this new discovered sea snake was totally different because of its spiny scales. This snake is rare and it lives in coastal habitats largely avoided by fishermen because normal sea snake usually lives in the open ocean and they are often caught by prawn trawls. This sea snake is also venomous and could be dangerous to humans like all snakes are. The don’t know very much about this new sea snake because it was very hard for the scientist to classify its unique features. This sea snake is also called Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake. When I first read about I was surprised because it is unusual to snakes to have spiny stuff on them. They’re usually silky smooth.

Do you like this kind of snake?

Why DO they have spiny scales?

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I was reading this really cool article that was talking about how when turtles get old they migrate back to where they were born to give birth to their young.  It turns out that their reproductive migrations aren’t the only migrations they make in their lifetime, when they are young they make a longer “even more amazing” migration than when they’re adults.  It said that researchers tracked the baby green turtles who migrated the distance from where they hatched in Costa Rica all the way to North Carolina and Bermuda, before they go and spend their adulthood in Nicaragua.  They said that the study suggested that these adolescent migrations can be very dangerous for the young turtles, and they may need to officially protect the ocean corridors they travel to.  Also the article talked about how there are some turtles such as the largest sea turtle, the colossal leatherback, are becoming critically endangered because of these migrations.

I think its pretty amazing how these young turtles can migrate that far of a distance by themselves but i would think that i would be really scary, and I had no idea that they made more than one big migration other than the reproductive migration they make when their old.

Why do you think that the turtles make this migration when they’re so young?

What could be a reason for the Colossal Leather back becoming endangered?

 

 

 

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And say Hello to seaweed bio-fuel! After reading this article I’d have to say this would be a good idea to start on. I guess researchers are now trying to develop methods of growing and harvesting seaweed as a source of renewable energy. A algae called macroalgae can  clear the water of excessive nutrients. Nutrients caused by human waste or aquaculture. Nutrients that can disturb the habitat.

What would be a downfall of this opperation?

How do you think this would effect the environment?

 

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