marine biology

Showing 48 posts tagged marine biology

This amphibious fish is called a mudskipper and it uses its pectoral fins to walk on land, specifically mud. It also rolls, jumps, digs, excavates, socializes, fights for territory, and breathes air while not being in the water. Watch this amazing clip from the David Attenborough-narrated BBC Life seriesepisode 04: Fish.

Related watching from the same episode, two weedy seadragons dance into the night, and from Sci-news, a walking bamboo shark.

For the last five years, Dr. Pim Bongaerts of University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute has been documenting the lives of corals through time-lapse photography. It all happens too slowly for the human eye, but capturing life in a coral reef over longer periods of time reveals much more about their growth, locomotion, and even their violent competition with each other. The video above is from BBC News: Underwater time-lapse shows secret life of a coral reef.

Plus some extra info from NOAA.gov:

So what exactly are corals?

Corals actually comprise an ancient and unique partnership, called symbiosis, that benefits both animal and plant life in the ocean. Corals are animals, though, because they do not make their own food, as plants do. Corals have tiny, tentacle-like arms that they use to capture their food from the water and sweep into their inscrutable mouths.

Any structure that we call a “coral” is, in fact, made up of hundreds to thousands of tiny coral creatures called polyps…

In the archives: more coral.

Thanks, Annie.

Updated video link.

This is a male Sapphirina copepod or Sea Sapphire, transparent and only a few millimeters long, but attention-grabbing when they seem to emit an incredible blue flash. What causes luminous color from nothing? The “microscopic layers of crystal plates inside their cells” catch light and reflect back the violet-blue. Rebecca R. Helm writes:

Like their namesake gem, different species of sea sapphire shine in different hues, from bright gold to deep blue. Africa isn’t the only place they can be found. I’ve since seen them off the coasts of Rhode Island and California. When they’re abundant near the water’s surface the sea shimmers like diamonds falling from the sky.  Japanese fisherman of old had a name for this kind of water, “tama-mizu”, jeweled water…

In the case of blue sea sapphires, these crystal layers are separated by only about four ten thousandths of a millimeter; about the same distance as a wavelength of blue light. When blue light bounces off these crystal layers, it is perfectly preserved and reflected. But for other colors of light, these small differences in distance interfere, causing the colors to cancel out. So while white light is composed of all colors, only blue light is reflected back.

More iridescence: the Blue Morpho Butterfly, Peacock Spiders, and the Birds of Paradise.

via Deep Sea News.

In 1999, near the Cape Verde Islands, “an unusually large Caulophryne pelagica [anglerfish] was captured in perfect condition, due perhaps to a lethargy induced by a prodigious meal which had expanded the stomach in excess of the standard length.” Not long after, the rare, deep-sea specimen was a part of the Natural History Museum's collection in London.

Only 17 examples of the hairy anglerfish have been discovered thus far, and this was the largest, so scientists were reluctant to cut it open for examination. However, a 3D scan of the fish could easily reveal its huge last meal.

Related watching: The Brilliance of Bioluminescence, skeletons, and more fish.