Deep, dark, and mysterious, Lake Vostok is one of the deepest subglacial lakes in the world.
Buried under more than 2 miles (3.7 kilometers) of ice near Vostok research station in Antarctica, the lake filled before Antarctica froze 15 million years ago, researchers think. Covered with ice for millennia, cut off from light and contact with the atmosphere, Lake Vostok is one of the most extreme environments on Earth.
The freshwater lake may harbor a unique ecosystem of microbes and other creatures that evolved in isolation for hundreds of thousands of years. These “extremophiles" could mimic life on other moons and planets, such as Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. Only meltwater from the overlying icesheet and drainage from Antarctica’s subglacial waterways have touched the lake since it froze over during the Miocene period. This constant replenishment means the water in the lake may be only as old as the ice that melts to form it, some 700,000 to 800,000 years, according to ice cores. But the true age of the lake water is unknown…
brian skerry photographs the results of commercial bluefin tuna fishing in the mediterranean. the world wildlife fund estimates that each year, 4.4 million sharks and 90,000 turtles are unintentionally caught as bycatch from unregulated commercial tuna fisheries using long lines and drift nets. a shark caught in a net will suffocate to death. shark numbers have declined by as much as 80 per cent worldwide, with a third of all species now threatened by extinction (pew charitable trusts)
Also known as the Threadfin Sand-diver, the long-rayed sand-diver is a species of sanddiver that is native to the Western Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific. Long-rayed sand-divers usually inhabit coastal reef slopes and lagoons and are often seen in large groups. These groups usually form a harem led by one male fish, who uses his elegant fins to court the females.
Also known as the carrier crab, the urchin crab is a species of dorippid crab that is found in the Red Sea and eastern Indian Ocean. Like its common name suggests this crab is famous for the symbiotic relationship it holds with several species of sea urchin. The urchin crab will grasp an urchin (usually A.radiata or D.setosum) with its back two legs and carry it around on its carapace. The urchin’s spines then provide the crab with protection, and the urchin will get access to a quick ride to new feeding grounds and will passively submit to this relationship.
Yup. This is the aptly named Goblin Shark(Mitsukurina owstoni)
~a rare, poorly known species of deep-sea shark. Sometimes called a “living fossil”, it is the only extant representative of the family Mitsukurinidae, a lineage some 125 million years old. This species looks unlike any other shark, with a long flattened snout, highly protrusible jaws containing prominent nail-like teeth, and pink coloration. It is usually between three and four meters (10–13 ft) long when mature, though can grow considerably larger. Goblin sharks inhabit upper continental slopes, submarine canyons, and seamounts around the world at depths greater than 100 m (330 ft), with adults found deeper than juveniles.
On a recent dive, we stumbled upon a rather private moment between a couple of simultaneous hermaphrodites, Roboastra luteolineata, doing the mutual penis dance. They were poking around for a while, and had yet to manage mutual fertilization when we (reluctantly) moved on.
Some of you might have found, that after a hundred dives or more, that although you still enjoy reefs, or fish, or the ‘prettiness’ of being underwater, that other aspects of the marine world take your fancy. I have zoomed in on macro life, and relish the challenge of finding tiny critters on a sandy bottom. And for the things that are a bit bigger, behaviour starts to catch your eye…
Not just the cost of prawns in terms of shark bycatch, but the indiscriminate killing that trawlers do to provide markets with mass quantities of seafood. They destroy the environment of the sea floor so it is harder for the shrimp or prawns to recover.
This is heartbreaking. Avoid shrimp and prawns! They are fished using a highly destructive method called bottom trawling. This fishing technique scraps anything and everything found on the seafloor. Since shrimp/prawns are tiny, the nets have to have small holes in them; this leaves no escape for sea creatures.
Not only does the trawling strip the ground of all animal life, it also rips up and destroys vital habitat leading to mass mortality of benthic encrusting organisms too.
And THEN people are like “oh this is aquacultured shrimp” well- I for one think aquacultured seafood is the way of the future. However, currently shrimp aquaculture is similar to slash and burn farming. Vast areas of rich mangrove forests are torn down to provide the coastal space for shrimp farmers. Then, when they’ve crashed the water’s ecosystem and polluted to capacity such that the water is anoxic, they move onto the next area.