The SS Yongala Wreck

The SS Yongala sank in a cyclone on the 23rd of March 1911. She remained undiscovered for almost 50 years, not being positively identified until 1958. She sank 12 nautical miles from the coast of Cape Bowling Green in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with the loss of all it’s passengers (122 people). We will never know what happened exactly, but the fact that none of the life rafts were found off the boat suggests that the loss of Yongola was sudden and tragic.

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It has now become known as one of the world’s top wreck dives, and certainly one of Australia’s best dive sites due to the rich variety of marine life. Many people who have been there say that you can see more fish down there in one dive, and you can see on the reef in ten dives. Queenfish, barracuda, turtles, sea snake, eagle rays and clown fish are just few of the animals down there.

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The Great Barrier Reef is the most bio-diverse ecosystem on the planet including over 1500 species of fish and 350 different types of coral. The Yongala wreck has now become an artificial reef with more varieties of coral growing on it than most natural reef systems. It is also host to a huge diversity of pelagic and reef species found in the Coral Sea. You will see more fish in one dive on the wreck than ten on the reef. It’s certainly a dive experience you will never forget.  Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 19.17.16 Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 19.17.07

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The Mola Mola

Lots of people think the Mola Mola, or the Giant ocean sunfish is a useless and ugly animal. Well, to those people, I just want to say, you are terribly wrong. In this post, I want to introduce to you, the truly amazing Mola Mola.

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As many of you must know, the jellyfish is nearly 98% water. That means, 100 grams of jellyfish equals 4 calories. You have to eat a lot of jellyfish to get full. Well, believe it or not, the Giant ocean sunfish feeds on only jellyfish. And not just any kind of jellyfish, the Mola Mola eats Moonjelly. 

It has broke the Guinness Book of World Records for being the heaviest bony fish on the planet. It reaches up to almost 5000 pounds – on a diet of jellyfish, primarily.

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The sunfish got it’s name for their love of sunbathing. Because of this behaviour, most people think they are sick, or lazy, but actually, this is a typical behaviour for them.

Their other name, the Mola Mola, is latin for millstone. They got that name because of their roundish, bizarre, cut-off shape.

They appeared shortly after the dinosaurs disappeared, and they come from a rebellious little pufferfish faction, who got sick of the shallow coral reefs, and headed for the high seas, and lots of generations later, that little puffer turned into the Mola. They may look a little unfinished, but I think evolutions never over, and who knows, another hundred generations, and they become beauties 😀

They’re in The Guinness World Book of Records again, for having the most number of eggs of any vertebrate on the planet. A single four-foot female has 300 million eggs. – Now imagine how much the ten-foot one has. – and from that little egg, they pass through a spiky little porcupine fish stage, reminiscent of their ancestry, and develop to their little adolescent stage, they school – as adolescents – and become behemoth loners as adults.

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They’re in The Guinness World Book of Records again, for being the vertebrate growth champion of the world. From their little hatching size of their egg, into their larval stage, till they reach adulthood, they put on 600 million times an increase in weight.

Now imagine if you gave birth to a little baby, and you had to feed him. That would mean that your child would gain the weight of six Titanics. 

We’re not sure how much they gain in the wild, but in captivity, they had one that gained 800 lbs in 14 months.

If we want to save the word from total jellyfish domination, we’ve got to figure out their predators lives. Tierney Thys tagged a Mola Mola with a tag that can record temperature, depth and light intensity, which is coordinated with time, and from that they can get locations. After collecting data for up to two years, it floats up to the surface, and submits the data to a satellite, which relays it directly to their computers, and that whole dataset is just lying on their desk. And all they had to do, is tag the Mola, and wait.

What we want to find out, is how do the Molas use the currents, the temperatures and the open ocean to live their lives. So after the data came back, they realised, the Molas don’t really travel much… like, at all. This is an important piece of data.

What is also important, is that they found out, that they’re not slacker, lazy fish. They go up to the surface, then down to the deep ocean 40 times a day, at least. As the sun comes up, they start their dive. As the sun gets brighter, they go a little deeper, down to 600 meters, in temperatures to one degree centigrade, and this is why you see them on the surface sunbathing all the time, because it’s cold down there. They come up, warm up, and then head back down, and go up and down, and up and down. With the help of tagging, they’ve seen a similar pattern for swordfish, manta rays, tunas…

So here you go, the fascinating life of the Mola Mola. Not at all lazy, not at all ugly, they’re just… one of a kind 😉

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Lolita

So this is not going to be a long post, or a hard post, because I have no time. But I really wanted to write about the Orca again. Not to bore you, or anything, it’s gonna be a totally new post, don’t go anywhere. My obsession, as you can guess, is the Orca. You just don!t know why. Here’s why:

I have no idea.

Have you just looked at something (or someone), and fell in love with it, but you had no idea why? Well, that’s how I feel.

And for you to see the Orca how I see them, I must tell you the tragedy of their lives.

On August 8, 1970, 80 Orcas were rounded up using explosives, 7 were brutally captured, shipped to marine parks. 5 of them were killed, and a 4-year old was taken away from her mother, sent to the Miami Seaquarium. In 2013, a woman named Dr. Ingrid Visser (Orca biologist) went to Miami, to see the now 43 year old Lolita. Her mission was to show people “what’s going on”. Lolita has lived for the past 43 years in the smallest orca tank in the US.

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A lot of the aquariums like Seaworld, that keep whales and dolphins in captivity say that it’s for educational purposes. “But I just can’t see, how it’s education. If it was education, we’ve had 40 years of that, why do we still have to have them in captivity, surely we’ve been educated enough by now!” And as adults, who’ve been growing up knowing these animals are in captivity, we should be the ones shutting it down.

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On an average day, when you’re out following an Orca, you can follow them for 5-8 hours, over minimum 50 km, and in that timeframe, they’re sleeping, hunting, socialising, and obviously traveling. And yet, when you see an Orca captivated, you either see them just lying there, or you see so called ‘Stereotypic Behaviours’, which are abnormal repetitive behaviours, like chewing on the concrete, or swimming in a circle, which very common with zoo animals, like tigers, or bears, they’re just pacing up and down and up and down, non-stop. This is exactly what you see with whales and dolphins if they’re in captivity. They typically surface at the same spot.

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The Animal Welfare Act states, that a tank for an Orca the size of Lolita must be 48 ft in each direction, with a straight line to travel across the middle… Lolita’s tank is 35 ft wide. So, the rehabilitation plan is:

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So, I watched the video Ingrid put out there, and used her words, to open peoples eyes, and I hope I did, and I hope she did, she is an inspiration of mine, and I hope yours too.

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The Effects of Global Warming

So, in a way, we all know, that there is a thing called global warming. I know, that some of you out there don’t really believe it, if you don’t, that’s no reason to go away, this is going to be an interesting post, I promise. Because the waters on earth are changing per minute global warming, or not; and that’s what I’m going to write about now.

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So, first of all, let me explain to you, what the global warming is. As greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane are released into the atmosphere, a shield forms around our Earth, trapping heat inside of our planet and therefore creating a general warming effect.

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During the past century sea level has risen worldwide at an average rate of 1-2mm/year reflecting a net flux of heat into the surface of the lands and oceans. Corresponding studies based on satellite altimetry shows, that this rate has increased to closer to 3mm/yr during the past 20 years. (A worrisome increase). 30% of the sea level rise since 1993 is due to thermal expansion and 55% due to continental ice melt, both resulting from warming global temperatures. In another study, results estimate the heat content of the ocean in the upper 700 meters has increased significantly from 1955-2010. An even more recent study suggests, that the melting of the two large ice sheets alone are causing global sea level to about 1mm/year.

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Scientists used an earth system model to study the ocean’s change since 1500. The results were that since 1500, the ocean heat content of the upper 500m has increased.

Rising air temperatures affect the physical nature of our oceans. As the temperature rises, water becomes less dense and separates from a nutrient-filled cold layer below. This is the basis for a chain effect that impacts all marine life who count on these nutrients for survival.

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Due to warming oceans, Phytoplankton have started their yearly growth earlier this year. That means, that animals that once traveled to the surface for food are now finding an area void of nutrients and light-driven creatures are starting their growth cycles at different times, AKA, the entire food chain is affected.

foodchain(So, as you can see, the Phytoplankton is at the very beginning of the food chain. If that changes, whale, seals, and polar bears could be at stake)

Coral reefs are extremely important for biodiversity, providing a home to over 25% of all marine life. They are also vital for people and business. They provide nurseries for many species of commercially important fish, protection of coastal areas from storm waves, and are a significant attraction for the tourism industry. However, coral reefs are very fragile sensitive ecosystems that can only tolerate a narrow temperature range.

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One of the most visually dramatic effects of climate change on corals has been bleaching. When the ocean warms, the oxygen content reduces, and corals become ‘bleached’.

People can be very dramatic if we ask about the future, and they tend to look over the fact, that it’s all our fault. But yet, I’m still going to share some of that drama with you guys, just so we can get up to 500 words in this post 😀

I’s just kidding. So here’s some drama. “The warming of our oceans and its effect on marine life has a direct impact on us. As coral reefs die, we will lose an entire ecological habitat of fish. According to the World Wildlife Fund, a small increase of two degrees Celsius would destroy almost all existing coral reefs. Additionally, ocean circulation changes due to warming would have disastrous impacts on marine fisheries…” (Find out more on: http://geography.about.com/od/geographyintern/a/globalmarine.htm)

So, that was the destruction of our planet in 589 words so far. I think it’s a fact, the our oceans have drastically changed in the last century, and I think it’s not too late to change that.

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My Top Sharks

So I already listed like… I don’t know, 30-40 Shark species, maybe less, and so I thought, I’d make a list about my personal favorites.

(This is not in order, because there is no thing as “I like this shark better that the other”. Please! You can’t choose a favorite from your kids can you?)

1. Bahamas Sawshark

I mean, have you ever seen anything this funny-looking? It’s so cute! It’s like a little terrorist 😀 .

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2. Basking Shark

The Basking hark is simply amazing! I mean, truly wonderful! Just… Ah! I love it! 😀

Basking Shark, closed mouth Look, look! His mouth is shut!

3. Blacktip Reef Shark

This shark is beautiful! So elegant, and fancy, graceful, and truly wonderful.

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4. Blue Shark

The Blue Shark is so… unusual. In my opinion. I mean, he’s graceful and beautiful, but in the same time, he’s silly, and playful.

blue shark-III L And he has that expression: “OMG, did I leave something home, did I miss the left turn?”

5. Caribbean Reef Shark

I just love, that this shark is a little chubby, and cute, yet beautiful and ruling.

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6. Grey Reef Shark

This shark is so majestic, and… I don’t know any more new words, so let’s just stay with majestic. 😀

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7. Great Hammerhead Shark

Well who doesn’t love him? The most unique shark of them all (maybe I’m a little over the top with that one, but he’s definitely in the top 5 most unique)

Great-hammerhead-profile-view-of-head Great-hammerhead-dorsal-view hammerhead nemo

 

8. Great White Shark

Well, there are no words for this one, everyone knows who I’m talking about! The most wanted of Hollywood!

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9. Greenland Shark

I truly think this shark is the siren of the seas and oceans. I mean, doesn’t he look like he’s constantly singing? 😀

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10. Mako Shark

You know, when you look into these eyes, and you see that terror… and you think it’s beautiful? That’s what I feel about the Mako Shark. The way he looks around with such ruling and terror, it’s (I don’t know why, but) beautiful.

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11. Silky Shark

Beautiful. Nothing else to say.

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12. Silvertip Shark

I love when a shark has a beautiful, unique peculiarity on it’s body.

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13. Thresher Shark

This shark was always my favorite, so unique, so small, yet… big, so gentle, yet dominant, so full of opposites.

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14. Whale Shark

You watch out for this baby, because she’s in great danger, and doesn’t deserve to die. Or to be extinct.

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15. Whitetip Reef Shark

Sorry, I’m out of explanations. 😀

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When I decided that I was going to write this post, it seemed like an easy post. I just had to open my other posts, and write out my favorites. But no. It wasn’t easy, at all. It was REALLY hard. Every shark is unique, beautiful, funny, majestic, dominant, fantastic etc. So, it was a challenge, but I said “Challenge accepted!”

Sharks III.

If you accidentally missed out on part I: https://oceanuts.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/sharks/

And, if you past by part II, please make a U turn, and check out: https://oceanuts.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/sharks-ii/

If you did see those, you know, that the next shark is… Wait, it’s on the tip of my tongue! Yes!

– Sailfin Roughshark

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– Sand Shark

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– Sawback Angelshark

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– Scalloped Hammerhead Shark

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– Sharpnose Sevengill Shark

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– Shortfin Mako Shark

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– Silky Shark

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– Silvertip Shark

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– Thresher Shark

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– Tiger Shark

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– Whale Shark

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– Whitetip Reef Shark

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– Zebra Bullhead Shark

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– Zebra Shark

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The Greenland Shark

The Greenland Shark, also known as the Gurry Shark, or the Grey Shark, is a large shark from the Somniosidae family, who lives in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean around Canada, Greenland, and Iceland. These sharks lives farther north than any other shark species. They are closely related to the Pacific Sleeper Shark. This species of the shark holds the world record for being the most poisonous in its type.

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Greenland Sharks grow to 6.4 m (21 ft) and weigh 1,000 kg (2,200 lb), but they can reach up to 7.3 m (24 ft) and can weigh more than 1,400 kg (3,100 lb).

Males are typically smaller than females. The Greenland Shark is a thickset shark with a short, rounded snout, small eyes, and very small dorsal and pectoral fins. The gill openings are very small considering the sharks size. They can be pale creamy-gray to blackish-brown, the body is typically uniform in color, though whitish spots or faint dark streaks can be found on the back.

Greenland Shark

Due to their cold environments, Greenland Sharks grow at a very low range. They don’t know how long they live exactly, but fully grown Greenland Sharks have been recaptured 16 years after being tagged. (Wow!)

When feeding, the shark employs a rolling motion of its jaw. The teeth of the upper jaw are very thin and pointed, lacking serrations. On the upper jaw, they have 48 to 52 teeth. The shark uses these teeth as anchors while the lower jaw does the cutting. The lower teeth are interlocking and are broad and square, 50 to 52 in count, containing smooth cusps that point outward. Teeth in the two halves of the lower jaw are strongly pitched in opposite directions.

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The Greenland Shark has a very long-ranged diet. (If you know what I mean). They mostly eat fish, but sometimes the “run into” smaller sharks, skates, eels, herring, capelin, Arctic char, cod, redfish, sculpins, lumpfish, wolffish and flounders. Also, they may even bump into seals. Bite marks were found on dead seals at Sable Island, Nova Scotia and Hawarden, which mean that these sharks may be a major predator for seal in the winter months. Rarely, but these sharks have been found as far south as the Gulf of Mexico.

The Greenland shark may be the slowest swimming sharks of all time, yet they manage to feed on seals. How do they do that? Well, researches have shown, that the Greenlands ambush seals while sleeping. Greenland Sharks have also been found wth remains of polar bears, horses, moose and even reindeers (in one case an entire reindeer body) IN THEIR STOMACHS! It is unknown, how those animals got in their. It is known, however, that the species is attracted by the smell of rotting meat in the water.

The shark is colonized by the parasitic copepod Ommatokoita elongata that eats the shark’s corneal tissue. It has been reported that this parasite is bioluminescence and gives the shark a greenish glow around the eye when seen in dark waters but this has not been scientifically supported.

Greenland Shark

The females do not deposit eggs, but retain the developing embryos within their bodies so that they are born alive after an undetermined gestation period. 10 pups per litter is normal, each initially measuring some 90 cm (35 in) in length.

I think, this shark is one in a billion, it’s unique, smart, and it kind of looks like it’s constantly singing! 😀

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The Spinner Dolphin

I love the Spinner dolphin, they are just so wonderful! They are gorgeous, unique, and just… wonderful.

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They are sometimes referred to as the Long-snouted dolphin, particularly in older texts, to distinguish it from the similar Clymene dolphin, which is often called the Short-snouted spinner dolphin.

The Spinner dolphin is a small cetacean with slim build. Adults are typically 129-235 cm long and reach a body mass of 23-79 kg. They have a triangular dorsal fin. The dorsal area is dark grey, the sides are light grey, and the underside pale gray or white. I think, they have a very unique and beautiful pattern. In the open waters of eastern Pacific, dolphins have relatively small skulls with short rostra. A dwarf form of the Spinner dolphin occurs around southeast Asia. In certain subspecies, some males may have upright fins that slant forward. Some populations of the spinner dolphin found in the eastern Pacific have bizarre backwards-facing dorsal fins, and males can have strange humps and upturned caudal flukes.

Hawaiian spinner dolphin

They may use different habitats depending on the season. They feed mainly on small fish, squids, and sergestid shrimps, and will dive 200-300 m to feed on them!

Spinner Dolphins are well known for their acrobatics and aerial behaviors. They jump out of the water, front first, and twist their bodies as it ascends in the air. After they reach their maximum height, they descend back into the water, landing on their sides. A dolphin can make 2 to 5.5 spins in one leap.

http://www.arkive.org/spinner-dolphin/stenella-longirostris/video-lo12b.html

I found this amazing video of a spinner dolphin, and I thought I’d share it with you guys!

http://www.arkive.org/spinner-dolphin/stenella-longirostris/video-lo00.html

And, if you want to see more amazing videos, go to http://www.arkive.org

Hawaiian spinner dolphin

Hawaiian spinner dolphin

Hawaiian spinner dolphin

Hawaiian spinner dolphin

Hawaiian spinner dolphin

Hawaiian spinner dolphin

White-Beaked Dolphin + The first part of our Christmas game!

The White-Beaked dolphin was first described by John Edward Gray in 1846. Due to its relative abundance in European waters, it was among the firs genus Lagenorhynchus to be known to science. Its specific name: Albirostris, translates to “white beak”. It refers to the color of the dolphins beak (duh).

The White-Beaked dolphin is a robust species of dolphin with a short beak. Adults can reach up to 2.3-3.1 m (7.7 ft-10.2 ft) long and can weigh 180-354 kg (397-780 lb). Calves are 1.1-1.2 m (3.7-3.10 ft) long at birth and probably weigh about 40 kg (88 lb). The dolphin is characterized by its short thick, creamy-white beak and very falcate (curved) dorsal fin.

The White-Beaked Dolphin id found in a band stretching across the ocean from Cape Cod, the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and southern Greenland in the west, around Iceland in the centre, and across in the beluga or narwhal. This dolphin is easily misidentified as the Atlantis White-Sided Dolphin, although the White-Beaked i commonly found further north. The White-Beaked Dolphin is also typically larger, and does not have yellow streaks on its side.

The population, breeding pattern, an life expectancy of this dolphin are all unknown, although most sources estimate several hundred thousand individuals, more densely populated in the eastern North Atlantic than west.

White-Beaked dolphins are acrobatic and social animals. They will frequently ride on the bow wave of high-speed boats and jump clear of the sea’s surface. The White-Beaked dolphin is a social feeder and has frequently been observed feeding with killer, fin, and humpback whales, as well as other dolphin species.

Christmas game question 1:

In one of my posts I mentioned one of my favorite movies! What is the title of that movie?

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