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Volume One Issue 2
72% of the Earth is covered in water. Water that is rising.
Welcome to our second issue - better late than never! Sometimes life can be very busy and timing with new projects can be tricky but now that we are getting used to this publishing palava, we aim to have four issues out a year for your perusal. Just in case you hadn’t yet noticed, 72&Rising is designed to be a collectors set. With its novel design and important and unique area of focus, we have organised issues to be arranged in volume sets: a different volume for each year. We hope that you will share the journey with us over the years and collect each volume in turn. We had great feedback from our first issue and thank all of those that wrote and emailed in to us or commented on our social networking sites. Any feedback really helps us to provide you with a publication that you will enjoy reading, so keep those messages coming! So, onto Issue 2: What do you call a seastar thats missing an arm? ‘armless! OK so it’s a terrible joke, but have you ever wondered about these brainless, heartless critters? Well, this issue Dr Liam Herringshaw takes us on a journey back in time to delve into the lives of some Silurian seastars and explains what these multilimbed echinoderms have to do with asteroid impacts. Wade Hughes is a man who I am just a touch jealous of as he spends a portion of his life underwater each year photographing and observing sperm whales. In this issue he tells us about one special encounter in particular and how it created an internal debate about interaction with wild marine life. Sara Smith explains a little about ocean acidifcation and what we can do to help reverse this sad phenomenon and Rebecca Davis takes us along on her incredible shark dive in Fiji. Of course this just scrapes the surface of what is inside this issue, so ill sign off here and let you go delving for yourself. Enjoy. Rowena Mynott Editor
also this month
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s omment c ’s r e d a e Our r ontributions ar h ge o and c d t in p v eet o ke l o l l a u it o v w re hnd We a w tsita ck ag h r t n u o o s h ue u t os r ing what ya you e l P id . v s o mentd. We value pr m o ea line c o tn t to r y a r wan a o F s . u s p w o ie r v e d r u osm .ca yo ale ip e d c e n e m t d n n o w a sp reh r@ o o cf s at in contact uedia.com ntm info@haw
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Volume One, Issue 2
Drop u thoug s a line wi ht th star l s and comme your et nt will w ter for nex s. Our i t issu ‘Shark n a signed e s off c o p y Devo of wall’ by Ric n and Corn hard Peirce -
“Who am I? I am a regular person, in a regular land-based world. I live over an hour’s drive from the nearest coastline. I am actually terrified of sharks. A childhood viewing of one particularly infamous shark movie left me mentally scarred for years. I became unable to wade beyond my knee-depth in any outdoor body of water. Until today, I had no idea that there are over 400 species of shark out there. I just learned enough fascinating shark facts to make a list as long as my arm... no... way longer! (Bad comparison; I’m quite a short person. I have short arms.) However, I do possess the ability to recognise something special when I see it. Even someone like me would have to be extremely cold-hearted and small-minded to not appreciate the sheer grace and beauty of these amazing creatures. So, the most mindboggling fact I learned is that many species of shark, after surviving whatever phenomenon globally wiped out the dinosaurs, are being barbarously driven towards the brink of extinction by Man. I had vaguely heard something of shark finning once, and that shark fin soup was considered quite the delicacy, but when a good friend of mine mentioned the subject on Facebook, my interest was piqued. You see, this friend adores the ocean. It is her office. I am jealous. And, like me, she abhors the horrors mankind has inflicted on the very ecosystem that allows life to exist on our planet. If she mentions it, I want to know more. So I looked it up. I was horrified. I was horrified for two reasons. One reason was obvious – the barbaric slow torture and eventual slaughter of a live creature. Why? For a bowl of soup. A bowl of soup, for crying out loud! The answer seems pretty simple to me on that one. Change the menu! A trip down the grocery store’s soup aisle will give you a fair idea of many delicious alternatives. Sadly, the world is ruled by politics and money. Politics and money are far more powerful and far more complicated than the simple ramblings and thoughts of a 34-year-old, stay-at-home, mother of 2. Simple answers just don’t work in our world. The second was why hadn’t I heard of this before? Millions of creatures disappearing from under our noses and yet no-one seems to be arranging benefit concerts, selling t-shirts or forming protest marches in our nations’ capitals. I can probably make a few educated guesses at that one. Let’s be honest - they are not exactly seen as a cuddly poster puppy, and public perception has been horribly influenced by the entertainment powerhouse of Hollywood. (Remember? I was one of many suckered in!). The Discovery Channel just cannot boast a fraction of the viewing figures of a Spielberg blockbuster. So, this newly re-educated, 34-year-old, stay-at-home mother of 2 has a favour to ask you... if you don’t know already, educate yourself on this horrendous, pointless practice before it is too late. Then, pay it forward. Tell 5 people. Tell those 5 people to tell 5 people. Use Facebook. Use Twitter. Blog it. Eventually, it may get to the ears of someone who arranges benefit concerts, makes t-shirts or is ready to rally people in large numbers. And lastly, enjoy a steaming bowl of minestrone soup – delicious, good for you and good for the ocean.” -Mandy, Canada.
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.. . ... . . . . . . . . 5 9 ALSO FEATUR Wildlife Environm & ent 21 O VISIT T S E C A PL e. . . . . . . . . . IES 13 17 ANIM Destinat & Adven ion ture 72: Wildlife & Environment . . . . . . . m wh A ales SPEC . . . . ... . .. . . . . . . . . . 25 PORT slands I e n TRIP RE u t e Nep h ns in t Sea lio Migr AL E V a taki tions ENTS and ng p an lace duri imal ac ANIM t ng t his ivities This AL L INEU issu mon e . .. . . . . . . . . . . .. .Contents Volume One. .... Readers Photog raphy. . . . . . . . ... . . Issue 2 y r e l l a G Featured Artis Portfolio. .. . t . . th i n th P FOCU 11 e G ala Sper S ON p a gos. . . . . . .. . .. .. . .. . ark div Fiji sh . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . .1 GALLERY ADMIT ONE Cal Mero ING Photography Ti ps .
. . .. . . . . tes.. . .. . . . . . . .. . . .. . . SERVAT 27 31 n o i t a v r e s s n e o u C Iss Focu s on Ask a sc a rese SCIE arch Guid ient er . ... 49 . ... . . . . . . .. ..50 i B Fish a Revie . .. ... . .. . .. . . .. . .. . . . . . .. ets phin of s tarfi dentis try.CON ati idific c a n Ocea ess. . . . sh . . . . . ... . . . . i • s Med petition • m Co • fun ! f f u st Science Rising: Science & Conservation . . . . ... ... .... . . . . . .. . . .. ... . . . . . e i NCE Secr to dol st.. ... . . 3 4 37 39 41 . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . ... . . .. . .. ... ws. . . ..47 . . .. . . ... . . . e proc Marin SSUES I N O I on. . .. . . . .. . . .
The Eureka Prizes. The Aperture Awards. Cal formally trained as a marine biologist. Soon underwater photography turned into a mild addiction and then later. Prestigious locations that feature Cal’s photography include the foyer of both the Australian National Muesum and the Australian Centre for Science.ABOUT THE ARTIST CAL MERO PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO: C aelum (Cal) Mero is a multi-international award winning photographer. 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT 1 . Cal has been the recipient of over 25 international awards including awards from peak photography bodies such as the International Photography Awards. it became an aquatic obsession. During this time he dived extensively and developed his passion for underwater photography and so began to study and practice underwater photography as often as possible. The Epson Pano Awards and The Australian Institute for Professional Photographers.
72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT 3 .
calmero.www.com.au All photos © Cal Mero SEE MORE PHOTOS .
you’re excited. maybe scared. maybe nervous. you’ve travelled across the globe to the hot-spot dive destination. Despite all this you have been waiting to dive with sharks for a long time and you want to go home with a few keepers in your image library.SHARKS NAILING THE SHOT! S By Colin Lee o your bags are packed. so how do you do it? 001 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT Get ready for your close up 5 . maybe all the above.
. Strobes are banned on the thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) dives with some dive operators in Malapascua (Philippines). sometimes known as “the ocean’s dustbin”. »» Check with the local dive operator to ascertain any special rules that need to be adhered to such as no strobes. some species.a common photojournalist technique that can provide move in a slow and deliberate manner. despite all the media hype. »» Some sharks are very big! Adding a diver or other visual references into the shot with a whale shark for example. some sharks can be scared of human interaction so don’t go chasing the shark in case you scare it away. “shoot from the hip” for a different perspective »» Some sharks such as tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) can . »» Studies have shown that brightly coloured clothing may 003 A wider angle lens allows you to capture more of the action . »» Conversely. Tiger sharks.. so it’s a good idea not to attach your housing to you or your BCD. They demand the some interesting compositions. utmost respect and are known at some places to come really close (read: nudging your dome port!) so it’s crucial »» to keep a visual lookout all around once in a while instead of just burying your head in the viewfinder for the entire dive. A gentle »» When you’re blessed with a dive location such as Tiger nudge back normally works to give you some more space. can be partial to a bit of shiny metal (read: your shiny and expensive housing!). »» Generally speaking. will create a sense of perspective. This way you can let go easily if the sharks decide that your housing is on today’s buffet menu. Beach (Bahamas) where you can rest on the sandy bottom..HOW TO. »» Observe proximity limits imposed by authorities when diving with some species such as whale sharks (Rhincodon typus). such as lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) at certain dive sites are very comfortable with human 002 Strobes help to add some fill in light interaction and will happily come to nudge you.
»» Try something with a slightly longer reach (17-35mm) if the sharks are a little shy. so strobes are useful to add some fill-light. give yourself the full ninja treatment – yes hoods and gloves are necessary. 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT 005 Try a longer lens if sharks are a little shy 7 . »» The “go-to” lens is definitely the fisheye (16mm / 10-17mm). »» Since you’re dressed in black anyway. Therefore it may be advisable to leave your multi-coloured diving apparel at home and stick with black whether it’s in vogue or not. EQUIPMENT. don’t forget to put the camera down for a bit and savour the moment of interaction between you and the shark. »» Put on the macro lens for a slightly different perspective.004 You will probably be shooting upward draw additional attention to you as a diver. It’s perfect especially when the action gets really close.. Better not to cause the sharks to debate whether your hands are tasty eatables or not. »» You will probably be shooting upward much of the time and sometimes against bright sunlight. »» Although you’re there to capture some great shots..
whether they be for Japans 50+ dolphinariums or overseas facilities.” (Look closely down towards the dolphins tail. -Editor) 9 photos © Michael Dalton .“ 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT Michael Dalton (left) “This underwater shot of a dolphin is of a rare four-finned bottlenose dolphin at the Taiji Whale Museum. This is a rare genetic throwback which under x-ray shows clearly that dolphins were once land mammals. the facility that trains dolphins purchased from the dolphin hunters.READERS PHOTOGRAPHY Michael Dalton (top) “These dolphins were photographed at a place called “Dolphin Base” in Taiji.
“ “Polycera faeroensis .” photos © George Gross . Unfortunately we are unable to return the images.com GET YOUR PHOTOS PUBLISHED With the title ‘Photos’ in the subject line.one of several yellow and white species found abundantly all year round and grows to 45 mm. your location and a title for each photo. “Facelina auriculata . please submit your photos as original sized jpegs . as well as a 20-word description or story.35 mm long with irridescent speckles on the cerata. This 25 mm long animal feeds on hydroids and is common in spring and summer. Cabo San Lucas. Feeding on bryazoons this specimen was photographed near Oban on a shore dive.scottishnudibranchs. marketing or website with proper accreditation.co. Mexico” “Oceanic whitetip at Cat Island.” “Starfish at night. Abbs on the east coast.photographed on the St Kilda islands.” photos © Jim Anderson www.Jim Anderson (left) (From Top) “Flabellina lineata . These islands lie 45 miles west of the western isles and are dramatic. Your submission of photos to ‘Readers Photos’ grants 72&Rising the right to publish them at any time in the magazine. Dont forget to include your name. George Gross (below) (From Left) “Turtle having lunch at Akumal. The colours of thes varies from red to bright blue dependent on the hydroid food.uk email: info@hawntmedia. so make sure you retain a copy. remote and beautiful above and below. Photographed on an isolated offshore pinnacle at St.
August Salmon Spawning Alaska. With the return of the salmon comes another spectacle – the brown and black bears who arrive in time to feed on them. it is assumed they depend on their olfactory memory to guide them. just north of the Canadian city of Vancouver. the rest ending up as food for a myriad of creatures that use the river. as upon returning to freshwater. the fish encounter obstacles such as weirs.CALENDAR: ANIMAL EVENTS June . Producing a high leap depends on the depth of the pool below the falls. meaning they are born in freshwater. migrate to saltwater and return to freshwater to breed. 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT The life of a salmon is one fraught with danger. which in turn gives a greater speed producing a higher leap. Swimming upstream. 11 . This loss of life may seem like a waste to us but it is in fact. Only about 10% will survive to see the ocean. spending up to three years as fry in the rivers and up to four years in the ocean they only spawn once in their lifetime. shortly after laying their eggs. It is the time of year when salmon are visiting their birthplace to spawn. they will die. A deeper pool gives a better take off angle. where water cascades down from one calm pool to another. Although not known for sure how salmon find their way back to these natal rivers. Salmon are anadromous. procreation is taking place. It is not only the fry that are in danger during this time. the salmon use the hydraulic lift created by the plunging water that is returning to the surface. beneficial for the environment. In the freshwater creeks of Alaska. To navigate these cascades. The carcasses that they leave behind strewn across the riverbeds sustain the ecosystem by providing nutrients for plants and animals. Their lifespan is short. The spawning grounds of the salmon are often at high altitudes.
unlike other whale species. July . blubber and baleen stores.September Green. one southern right whale testicle weighs in at to be yielding promising results. Costa Rica. loosely translated as ‘region of in length the southern right whale is found at this turtles’ can be found within the Tortuguero National time of the year along the coast of South Africa. Each whale mating with a female will compete using With government protection in place as well as the ‘sperm competition’ . but its Although now a protected site. blue whales have been observed trapped in the ice.September Blue Whales The Gulf of St. As these the local hotels and shops that have grown around whales do not posses the teeth. Park. they have guides during the nesting season they are further had to find another method of winning the battle able to show the turtles’ sustainable financial worth. floated on the During this time. Lawrence is home to a high concentration of blue whales. By employing locals as other animals to compete for a female. therefore diluting that of their competitors these turtles. located on the northeast Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. horns or claws of this natural phenomenon. working to conserve sperm. By Southern right whales are not monogamous. calf is around twelve months. In addition. over 2600 green turtles were tagged . every female turtle arriving in this surface after death. they were sought out by whalers for their vast quantities of oil and meat. along the coastline. It was chosen due to its slow September you will find these endangered turtle swimming speed and the bounty held within its species lumbering ashore to lay their eggs. as it was the in the western hemisphere. When the young whales have matured. Leatherback & Hawksbill Turtles Tortuguero National Park. This comes in the form of sperm. entanglement in fishing nets and the potential for boat strike – a real problem in the busy St Lawrence shipping channel. right whales in the Southern Hemisphere with South Africa receiving a large proportion of these Since the 1950s scientists from the Sea Turtle migratory animals. Sadly not only does this affect adults (suppresses the immune system.producing massive amounts of many groups. Lawrence. Before whaling ceased. Working alongside local grounds of Antarctica to calve in the warm bays customs that still use turtles for their meat and eggs. Canada. One promoting sustainable tourism the STC have been female is likely to be mated by all of the males in the able to offer local villagers a steady income through group. Because kilometres of nesting beach – an effort that seems of this. August . They have been known to be vulnerable to orca attack and it has been noted that young calves have been susceptible to predation by sharks. high levels of PCBs (a family of chemicals banned from use in households in the late 1970s but still used today in manufacturing processes) are found in their systems. is the most important nesting During the peak whaling years in the early 1800s site for green. the park now offers a sanctuary of 35 and successfully impregnating the female. such as STC. .October Southern Right Whales South Africa. From August to September the Gulf of St. Blue whales may live up to 90 years of age and reach lengths up to 33 metres. Holding an endangered status since 2002. leatherback and hawksbill turtles this robust whale was given its name. With protection now in place. These whales make their annual Conservancy (STC) have been tagging and recording 2000 kilometre journey from the cold feeding this turtle population. By sticking close to their mothers and suckling for the first year a lifelong maternal bond develops. Scientists are currently undertaking genetic studies to determine whether these 250 animals are part of the 1500-strong North Atlantic group or are a separate population altogether. promotes cancer and interferes with other biological systems). it is hoped they will be seen in the breeding grounds of South Africa giving birth to their own calves.a huge increase from the 2002 animals tagged The gestation period for a southern right whale during the same period in 1999. the STC work to educate the local peoples in using sustainable means to profit from these turtles. Due to the large amount of krill the whales consume daily. global warming affecting krill stocks. This park. however even these leviathans have predators to contend with and challenges to overcome. events in the 1960s buoyancy made the collection of these animals easy almost led to the extinction of the green turtle. Weighing up to 60 tonnes and measuring 17 metres Tortuguero beach. This blubber not only provided financial reward for the whalers. Other issues these animals face are noise pollution interfering with their sensory systems. area to nest was killed and exported for the turtle soup industry. During the 2000 a massive 500 kilograms! nesting season.July . to sire the calf. From now until mid‘right’ whale to hunt. four tonnes of which they may consume in a day. the population is slow to increase with roughly 5000 individuals worldwide. possibly searching for food before ice flows shifted leading to their mortality. Eggs were. as they. taken as it is There are believed to be about 7000 southern believed they are an aphrodisiac. and still are. it is hard to believe that we know so little about the largest animal ever to have lived. 250 of which can be seen in the Gulf of St Lawrence area. Blue whales migrate here to inhabit deep cold waters in search of krill. a potential of up to seven suitors. The calf comes into the world already a whopping six metres long. these high levels are passed down to calves through the mothers’ milk.
of course. whilst the finches played their part. So. an international non-government organisation known as the Charles Darwin Foundation was founded. This attracts fish and birds. The unique and endemic wildlife of the islands were. especially from July through September. the inspiration for Charles Darwin developing the theory of evolution in his publication On the origin of species by means of natural selection or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. Darwin himself was mainly concerned with the islands’ geology during his visit. making it what many consider to be the best time of the year to snorkel and to spot an albatross or a penguin. 13 As an interesting side note. presenting their findings to the Ecuadorian government to assist effective management of the archipelago. June to December is considered the cool season although the average daily afternoon temperature is only five degrees less than during the hot season. when the Humboldt Current brings cold water rich in plankton and other nutrients. The 70. there are effectively only two seasons. it was actually the endemic species of mockingbirds. along with facts he’d heard about the Galapagos tortoises. Because the islands straddle the Equator. In 1959. January to March is the warmer wet season and April to December. awarded special status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve. Darwin had neglected to record which islands they had been collected from. the centenary year of Charles Darwin’s On the origin of species. However. It is typically more overcast at this time of year but it rarely rains. The result of all this uniqueness is that the Galapagos Islands are now protected as Ecuadorian National Park.000 square kilometres of ocean surrounding the islands have been declared both a marine reserve (second in size only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef ) and a whale sanctuary. Darwin’s famous finches of the Galapagos are widely credited with helping him develop his theory of evolution by natural selection. Their core responsibility is to conduct research on the islands’ marine and terrestrial flora and fauna. the cooler dry season.animal lineup The Galapagos Islands he Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of 18 T main islands and several minor islands located on the Equator some 972 kilometres west of Ecuador. that played the most important roles in the inception of Darwin’s theory. of which they are a part. The seas are definitely rougher. 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT .
Growing to 2. They are known to eat a wide variety of items and their disproportionately small mouths indicate they would spend much of their effort bottom-hunting. The IUCN has assessed the species as being Near Threatened. feeding on benthic fishes and cephalopods with larger animals feeding on sea lions and marine iguanas. Galapagos Shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis) Despite its name. hammerheads often swim in schools during the day. Unlike most sharks. sometimes in groups of over 100 animals. The most common species of hammerhead found in the Galapagos. In the evenings they become solitary hunters. especially around Wolf and Darwin Islands. As one might expect. The 3. As a result of worldwide overfishing and demand for their fins. Proposed evolutionary benefits for the cephalofoil include stereoscopic scent detection. The characteristic flattening and extending of their heads into a “hammer” shape is called a cephalofoil.5 metres long and are active predators. the Galapagos shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis) is not endemic to the Galapagos Islands but is common around oceanic island reefs. shark fishing is expressly banned in the Galapagos Archipelago.5 metre smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) and the five-metre great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) are also known to inhabit the waters of the Galapagos. . They can grow to be up to 3. the scalloped and great hammerhead are listed on the IUCN Red List as Endangered. There are nine known species of hammerhead shark worldwide.Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini) They are perhaps the most distinctive and appropriately named of all shark species. electroreceptory sensitivity.5 metres. with the typical fusiform reef shark shape. The Galapagos shark is often the most abundant shark in shallow island waters forming large aggregations in some areas. a greybrown coloration when seen from above and yellow-white beneath. prey manipulation and improved depth perception. usually found in warmer waters along coastlines and continental shelves. maneuvering. the scalloped hammerhead is renowned for their awe-inspiring formation of large schools. They are a species of requiem shark. is the scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini).
the iguanas have evolved a flat snout to scrape algae from the rocky bottom and salt glands in their nostrils to filter out any excess salt they may have ingested during feeding. cooling is an issue and the penguins have developed certain behavioural adaptations to deal with the heat and strong sunshine. They are thought to have arrived at the Galapagos islands from Antarctic waters on the cold nutrientrich waters of the Humboldt Current. Their coloration and banding is similar to that of the Magellanic penguin. Reproduction is usually dependent on food availability and therefore usually occurs when the sea surface temperature drops below 24 degrees Celsius. Standing up to 50 centimetres tall and weighing nearly three kilograms. the marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) is found only in the Galapagos Islands. to which it is genetically related. they live on rocky shores throughout the archipelago where they feed on seaweed and algae. For this reason and because they face pressure from anthropogenic activity. The salt is excreted by sneezing whilst basking on the rocky shore.6 . They are not migratory. To facilitate feeding. Galapagos penguin populations have faced sharp declines during El Nino years yet their numbers are slowly recovering. Galapagos hawks and introduced dogs. This allows for heat to escape from their bodies and prevents their feet from being sunburned. Able to remain submerged for over half an hour at a depth of 15 metres or more.1 metre.Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) The only known species of marine lizard. their uniqueness and endemism has allowed this species to be completely protected under CITES Appendix II.7 metres in length and weigh up to 13 kilograms. predation from sharks and seals. Galapagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) The Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is the only species of penguin whose natural habitat range extends north of the Equator. with smaller populations scattered around the archipelago. cats and rats. they are the third smallest of all penguin species. Whilst locally common. 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT 15 . It is understood the adults mate for life. staying on the temperate Galapagos Islands year-round. adult females measure about 0. such as spreading their wings and hunching forward while resting on land. Populations occur mainly on the island of Fernandina and the west coast of Isabella Island. Adult males are up to 1. As a result. they have been listed as Endangered by the IUCN.
Unable to feed whilst defending his territory. can weigh over 30 tonnes and dive to over 700 metres. They are a migratory species. Global population sizes of the whale shark are unknown.(Rhincodon typus) Whale Shark The largest species of fish in the world. The average dominant male holds his territory for only a few months. chest and shoulders. They are targeted by commercial fisheries in several areas where they seasonally aggregate. fishing nets and hooks. fresh male. Sharks and killer whales are their main predators. the Galapagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) is known to be agile.100 year lifespan. The large range in size and weight is indicative of the dimorphism between the sexes. Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus wollebaeki) Known as the Galapagos welcoming committee. playful and curious of humans in the water and tolerant to the point of feigning indifference on land. whale sharks are slow-moving filter-feeders and are known to be quite docile around divers and snorkelers. the whale shark (Rhincodon typus). The species is considered Vulnerable by the IUCN. preferring the warmer waters of tropical latitudes. off the Ecuadorian mainland.000 individuals due in a large part to collapses in marine life during El Nino events causing cessation of reproduction and die-offs. Despite its impressive size. he eventually becomes tired and weak and is easily overpowered when challenged by a well-nourished. They have a prolonged breeding season. It’s skin can be up to ten centimetres thick. The pattern of spots and stripes covering the dorsal side of the whale shark’s body are unique to each individual. where males are typically larger with a prominent forehead and thicker neck.000 and 40. It is thought they reach sexual maturity at about 30 years of age and have a 70 . On land. can be found in the waters of the Galapagos year-round. sea lions form colonies where an adult male asserts dominance over a stretch of coast defending a harem of five to 25 females. . They usually grow to about 12 metres in length. extending from May through January.60 centimetre pups. They are listed as Endangered by the IUCN. Population numbers tend to fluctuate between 20. though slightly smaller at 150 250 centimetres in length and weighing between 50 and 400 kilograms. They are genetically and morphologically similar to California sea lions. Their inquisitive and social nature makes them especially vulnerable to human activity such as encounters with pollution. Galapagos sea lions inhabit the shores and surrounding waters of all islands in the archipelago and have colonised Isla de la Plata. Whale sharks are ovoviviparous and will give birth to hundreds of 40 .
THE CURIOUS SECRETS OF SPERM WHALES By Wade Hughes 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT T The age at which sperm whales are considered adults 50 80 The average life span of a sperm whale 17 hey are the world’s largest toothed predators. and weights of around 50 tonnes or so. . Large bulls can. although numerous reports from 18th and 19th Century whale ship logs recount capture of bulls of 25 metres or more. today reach lengths of 20 metres.
Each encounter yields another fragment of insight and familiarity – and releases a fresh surge of unanswered questions. First its left eye stared at me. Some estimates of their annual food intake are similar to the amount of biomass the human race plunders from the oceans each year. French zoologist René Lesson declared in exasperation “What an impenetrable veil covers our knowledge of cetacea! Groping in the dark. giving birth and sometimes apparently just laying about. After six summers of entering the water and swimming with these distant cousins. it is possible to see that Beale was correct in both of these observations. a 15 metre long bull diverted from its path to swim slowly and directly towards me. described in 1839. hunting and … well. Thomas Beale . more than with any other animals that I’ve photographed or observed. each fleeting encounter with a sperm whale.Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus). Sperm whales are shrouded in curious secrets. Last year. It hung there motionless. Whitehead describes sperm whales more as “surfacers” than “divers” because they spend so much time in the depths and only return to the surface for short intervals. Then it revolved slowly in front of my face. rays and some octopus. It cruised to a stop less than a metre from me – so close that I was concerned we would touch. As mammals they must breathe. as well as secretive. they are down deep and dark. Was it a threat? An And so it is today. evokes a sense of privilege at being allowed a glimpse of their behaviour. we have come to realize that another 19th century observer got it right too. they spend time on the surface socializing. they appear to be “timid and inoffensive” as the first comprehensive observer and recorder of sperm whale behavior and biology. we advance in a field strewn with thorns”. Using some method of buoyancy control that we don’t understand. Yet. are capable of taking on and overwhelming the ferocious and aggressive creature of the deep. As a present day observer. They also snap up fish. in waters up to 3000 metres deep. and then its right eye locked with mine. as it swims briefly up into the light and then recedes inexorably into the darkness. flukes down. But for the remainder. and they can also be curious. so they typically spend eight to 12 minutes an hour doing that. It was also Beale who considered sperm whales to be a “curious secret”. on the surface. So. large and small. Preeminent contemporary researcher Hal investigation of a potential snack? An invitation to touch? . it rotated its body into a vertical position alongside me. In addition. there’s that field of thorns again. then its massive throat and jaw slid past. the giant squid – and in order to feed they do so regularly. and as far as we know only sperm whales. taking squid. head up.
heads in and tails radiating outwards in a roughly circular formation. A hand extended begets physical contact head on with the squid’s swimming fins hanging through a handshake. our presence does temporarily encounter such as this is appropriate or not. or swim or dive away from us. It’s a difficult to remain undetected in broad daylight in the open ocean when in the presence of an animal that can detect and intercept darting squid and fish using the animal world’s most powerful echo-location. But I know one But some days we see extraordinary behaviour! world-class authority on cetacea that holds a different view. we advance in a field strewn with thorns”. Firstly. she contends. take shape. even inadvertently.so-called because. on two grounds. Whales. appropriate. Some whales will swim up view is that it is not.French zoologist René Lesson declared in exasperation “What an impenetrable veil covers our knowledge of cetacea! Groping in the dark. rubbing. Her argument is that if an animal makes the Last northern summer. bumping. they resemble the petals of a daisy … some daisy! But would a sperm whale welcome physical contact with another species? More thorns. there is plenty of debate about whether the visible presence of an observer in the water changes the behaviour of the observed. Others won’t are wild whales and I feel that touching them would deviate an inch. class fright and 50 tonnes of startled whale could do some damage. Equally. The relationship has begun to symmetrically down each side of the whale’s jaws. A gentle inquiry solicits an equally gentle surface. are no different. then a proportional response is surfaced with a large squid firmly clamped in its jaws. I think There is debate about whether physical contact in an that in some cases. The whale appeared to have taken the squid response. just as it is with humans or any other tactile It is rare to see sperm whales with squid near the creature. My own modify their behaviour. Sometimes we see contrasting breach their wildness. We do know that sperm whales participate in highly tactile activities. a young male sperm whale first initial approach. It might also give them a first behaviour from the same whale on the same day. 19 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT . these to us. gently mouthing each other in rollicking melees known as marguerites .
convulsively chewing and snatching at the squid’s carcass. and then on its back. the squids extended tentacles and hooked suckers jammed in the whale’s throat.The width of the squids body. The attack on this squid probably occurred in the last moments of the whale’s hunt in the deep.blurb. fin tip to fin tip was estimated to 1. After swimming on or near the surface for about ten minutes with the squid held in its jaws. just before it began its long haul to the surface. some circular lesions presumably caused by the suckers of large squid. The method of consumption resulted in considerable wastage of the whale’s food. From a review of the photographs. To find out more about Physeter macrocephalus and to buy a copy of the book “Curious Secrets’ by Wade Hughes please visit www. pursued by strings of frantic sardines feeding on sinking shreds of squid. the whale sank slowly on its side.com/books/1532705 . a number of scientists consider that the squid is most likely the Dana octopus squid (Taningia danae) .5 to two metres. So as our last whale of the season descended out of sight. a species that grows to substantial size and weight. it left in its wake answers to some intriguing questions as it retreated again into the abyssal fields strewn with Lesson’s thorns. The whale was around six to seven meters long and carried extensive scarring and marking on its skin.
The number of different shark species potentially seen on a dive 8 D Number of metres depth of ‘The Arena’ 30 The year that the Shark Reef Marine Reserve was established . 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT Fijis Ultima t e Shark Dive By Reb ecca D avis 21 . After all. I can’t help but wonder how many pairs of hungry eyes are watching and waiting. this is said to be one of the best shark dives in the world. so I know they can’t be too far away.the first of its kind in Fiji 2004 escending silently through the blue water of Fiji’s Beqa Lagoon.
The wriggling shark is restrained and feed the enormous bull sharks. and obligation the Fijians have towards their shark friends. when to snap. Now accustomed to the frenzied feeding of fish we sit back and immerse I search the madness for the telling stripes of a tiger. around 20 bull sharks. They glide effortlessly towards help as a hook and 2.these are enormous sharks. the activity is intense. Amidst the confusion of feeding animals. The water is comprehension! Where to look.5 metres of thick trace line are an outstretched arm and with a gentle grasp. sharks. whitetip reef sharks patrolling the upper levels. The feeding stops. The bulls are to venture closer. . blacktip reef sharks and further off. Radiating it’s harder to not smile! We are witness to the compassion confidence. The water is too enticing to stay on the boat for the surface interval.Once we settle into our viewing positions. are the sleek silhouettes of grey reef somewhere below waiting for their second course! sharks. clambering over each other to find food. The sharks soon becomes clear that they are trying desperately to are calmer and swim with purpose. the intensity of movement defies I have never seen anything like this. But I’ll be back here again and I’ll observed by a rather large and overly friendly moray eel. are countless deliberate and heartfelt display of shark conservation. The guides converge on a single tawny nurse.control this animal. coming and going with a regulator in your mouth. what is swarming with remora and giant trevally in numbers that about to transpire? defy belief. The guides hand. desperately fish debris and seven divers wrapped around a shark. the hook and line are removed and Casually cruising into “The Bistro” for a bite to eat are the shark is released. floating The smaller fish dart about erratically. but ourselves in the experience that is diving with Fiji’s sharks. The fish diversity and abundance is strikingly evident. a little too timid with the wary grey reef sharks beneath us. sicklefin lemon sharks whose size is impressive. None of them could be described as ‘small’ or ‘average’ . After several long minutes piece of fish and continue on their way. the cameras are raised and lunch is served at “The Bistro”. Writhing. have my fingers crossed for Galeocerdo cuvier next time. they take a embedded inside its mouth. The second dive is just as exhilarating. flitting around behind us. it grabbing every floating morsel they can find. It clearly needs amongst a sea of chaos. of careful extraction. but after seeing such a with all the nonchalance of a top predator. they are fantastic specimens. intently sadly no tigers this time. Back to the action. it becomes apparent that the “Labradors of the ocean” We swim around a wreck dotted with remora and have joined us. As my gaze drifts down to the ground level dining area. it’s a civilised affair the divers manoeuvre around its head. rolling scores of tawny nurse upwards over a large coral bommie to reach the surface. so we grab the snorkels and mingle All the while. overwhelming the senses. Also It really is quite difficult to smile and keep breathing strewn around the feeding arena.
we were approx two hours south of Port Lincoln in Spencer Gulf. making them one of the rarest in the world 10-20.000 300 n board the ‘Princess II’. South Australia heading out to the Neptune Islands for a little shark spotting.n a i l a r t s Au Lions: Sea t a buzz! a h W By John Natoli number of metres Australian sea lions can feed 300 O 72: WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENT total population of Australian sea lions. we had ventured only two hours out to sea when the ‘Princess II” experienced problems which unfortunately forced our immediate return to Port Lincoln. This was our second attempt in six months to get to the Neptune Islands. number of kilograms a bull can weigh 23 . with the team from Rodney Fox Great White Shark Expeditions. On an earlier trip in February 2008.
With one look into a sea lion’s eyes one gains an emotional connection that is rarely experienced with other animals. I held my ground . When they come over to you. Photographers note: the sea lions will position themselves between you and the sun. Where had they gone? Should I have followed them? But didn’t Andrew say “Don’t let them lead you away from the bay”? I remained alone for what seemed an eternity (maybe three to four minutes) and thank God I did because just as was indicated to us in our dive brief. swimming in figure eights and constantly on the move. . I didn’t know where to look. It was around midday when Andrew Fox suggested that conditions were perfect for a brief stopover at Hopkins Island to dive with Australian sea lions. Hold your ground and don’t let them lead you astray as they will come back to you. Our brief was uncomplicated. it is impossible to have anything but complete admiration for them. These guys seemed to be just as excited to see us as we were to see them and in their state of excitement. extending them fully out when I was ‘buzzed’ by the first of many sea lions. The inquisitive nature of these fascinating animals seems almost human-like. but very specific: “We will send somebody over to attract the attention of the sea lions. This is a defence strategy that would normally have predators staring into the sun and which could make it difficult to photograph the sea lions”. Remembering Andrew’s words during our brief. However this time their excitement was more contained as they had returned with an intriguing curiosity. I was still fiddling with my strobe arms on the seabed at a depth of four metres. wanting to check me out as much as I wanted to observe them in their natural habitat. Back on the boat for our return trip we were looking good. They were everywhere. Once this heartfelt bond is made. the sea lions came back and I had them all to myself. most divers allowed themselves to be led out of the bay by the sea lions. The Australian sea lion is a species that breeds only on the south and west coasts of Australia. Geared up and with air on.ready to catch our first glimpses of great white sharks. above. riding in smooth seas with light winds and a beautiful clear sunny day ahead of us . We were on a shark expedition to cage dive with great white sharks off the Neptune Islands and this opportunity to dive with the sea lions came as a complete and unexpected surprise.The boat required some extensive work to repair a problem with oil lines which led to our much-awaited trip being cancelled and our team of four offered a return trip at a later date. I rolled backwards over the side of the inflatable boat. below and around us ‘buzzing’ me from top to bottom. they were looping. all 12 guests on the boat met this suggestion with much enthusiasm and in no time we were geared up and ready – some of us were diving and some were snorkelling. I felt myself spinning around and around attempting to focus on these beautiful animals.left all alone with no divers around me and certainly no sea lions. Of course. they will try to draw you away from the bay and around the corner of the island. Contrary to the divers’ briefing. The brief stopover at Hopkins Island turned out to be one of the most exciting dives I have had the pleasure to experience.
reefcheckaustralia. government agencies and community organisations to create innovative collaborations and sound data applications. In addition to our long-term reef health data sets. offers divers and snorkelers an opportunity to learn the Reef Check basics and take a closer look at any reef they visit (no need for additional equipment or training!) • Collaborative underwater clean ups with dive shops. universities. LEARN MORE RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION www. tourism operations. includes course materials. management and conservation. Reef Check Australia is working on other opportunities for more community members to get involved. Reef Check programs promote community education. Reef IQ. not-for-profit environmental organisation that engages the Australian community in hands-on reef monitoring. Reef Check Australia has been monitoring the Great Barrier Reef since 2001 and extended to monitor rocky reefs in South East Queensland in 2007.by Jennifer Loder R eef Check Australia (RCA) is an awardwinning. The long-term data set acts as an early detection system for changes in the health of reef habitats. Each project uses the same standardised Reef Check scientific survey method and basic indicators. helping to provide more opportunities for divers and fishers to get involved • Sustainable behaviour products. Reef Check surveys collect data about substrate cover. But it’s more than monitoring. Our teams of trained volunteer divers are part of a worldwide network of volunteers who regularly monitor and report on reef health in more than 90 countries. By visiting each research site annually. reef health impacts and fish abundance. a community photographic identification monitoring program will be hosted by RCA. helping to monitor reefs on a local scale and compare reef health on a global scale. university groups and management agencies remove marine debris from reef sites • The new online public database for Grey Nurse Shark Watch. Raw data is available to researchers and managers interested in the information we collect. The information collected by Reef Check volunteers is used to design and implement ecologically sound and economically sustainable reef management. • Our education program for children. key indicator invertebrates. All data is stored in the Reef Check Australia Reef Health Database. we are able to record what is happening on that reef at a specific point in time. We work with leading marine research organisations.org To learn more about Reef Check and how YOU can protect reefs at home or as part of a monitoring team please visit our website. simply by using the Google maps interface to review summary data for each site. 25 . reminders and ideas are available on our website to encourage people to help protect reefs on a daily basis. This resource is freely available to anyone who wants to learn more about our Queensland monitoring locations. workshops and fun activities using coral reefs as a vehicle to encourage sustainable practices and handson science programs for young people • The brand-new ReefSearch program launching May 2011. collect useful reef research and facilitate better conservation of reef resources… all through the power of volunteers and community partnerships. We believe in protecting reefs and oceans by empowering people.
assessment and mitigation of environmental impacts. education and training about environmental issues and their management. SYMBIONT ECOLOGY GROUP We believe that.symbiontecology.com or contact us at symbiont@symbiontecology.We are a specialist independent environmental research. We specialise in marine.com . we as a society can achieve a balance. coastal. government and conservation groups. Achieving this vision requires no more radical a notion than to approach old problems from a new perspective. please visit our website: www. through rigorous science and engaging education programs. estuarine and aquatic research and management. with nature. a symbiosis. consultancy and education company providing scientific advice and consultancy services to industry. Our services include: Strategic Environmental Assessment Review of Environmental Factors Environmental Impact Assessments for Marine and Aquatic Ecosystems Species Impact Statements Active Adaptive Environmental Management and Impact Mitigation Ecosystem Health and Regeneration Flora and Fauna Ecological Survey and Monitoring Marine and Aquatic Biomonitoring Biodiversity Assessment & Modeling Invasive and Pest Species Adaptive Management Sustainability Assessment and Eco-Efficiency Optimisation Environmental Education and Training Programs For more information on our services.
000. There are others who are quite vocal sceptics who debate the science unwilling to accept that it’s something we should be worried about. The more we know the more there is to discover! Scientists tell us that our planet is warming at quite an alarming rate.by Sara Smith RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION W 27 e’ve all heard about global warming and climate change. 50 is the percent of oxygen that we breathe that is created by plankton 22. it can be quite a complex issue.000 80-90 the number of ton of carbon dioxide the ocean absorbs on a daily basis the percentage that we need to reduce our carbon emissions by to reduce the effect on the oceans .
a logarithmic scale (like earthquakes with the Richter scale) it actually So far the oceans have absorbed a represents a 30% increase in hydrogen third of the anthropogenic (human ions. Life processes such as growth. what is not debatable is that since the industrial revolution. basis of all food chains) is reduced and fewer organisms reproduce. until recently unrealised. By doing this however. each of these dead plants and animals sink to the processes become more difficult. is compressed under layers becoming As these organisms have to spend what we call fossil fuels. Plants and also calcium carbonate structures of phytoplankton use the carbon dioxide the plankton. crabs. different forms over the globe. but as pH is measured on created for our atmosphere. The human more energy just to survive. . decreased reproductive success and even decreased gene expression ⋅ Coral reefs are unable to produce their calcium carbonate skeleton and the change in pH is highly detrimental to the survival of the tiny zooxanthellae (organisms that have a symbiotic relationship with corals and provide 98% of the coral’s food) ⋅ Animals in the ocean that use calcium carbonate as their structural exoskeleton (clams. depths carrying carbon with them. releasing more into the tolerate this change. carbonate shells (molluscs and not only the coral reefs and the calcium crustaceans) and hard structures (such carbonate sinks in our deep oceans but as coral and limestone). Since the last ice age.2. urchins. Most important of these are plankton. with less than 0. increase in the atmosphere. As it becomes absorbed by the Southern Ocean more difficult to calcify.7 equates to a doubling of hydrogen the industrial revolution (525 billion ions in the oceans. their existence.Whether you agree or not. Prior to the industrial revolution. our oceans have removed one tonne of carbon per As the oceans become more acidic. All gases will dissolve into oceans will sit at over 500ppm and by water. Of the recent research that has been conducted. Some inhabitants of our oceans Acidic oceans will also potentially use this carbon to produce calcium dissolve calcium carbonate structures. this dead organic material stressful for the marine organisms. By our oceans have remained at a stable absorbing this carbon. On average.1% survival rate. we’ve basically managed to change the chemistry of our oceans. In turn 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide the productivity of phytoplankton (the every single day. some of this carbon dioxide is dissolved into the A low pH represents an acidic water of our oceans. It is estimated that by 2050 the Let’s take it back to basic high school concentration of carbon dioxide in the science. in turn causing As carbon dioxide is released and levels a drop in pH of up to 0. lobsters and of course coral reefs) have all displayed reduced growth and reduced reproductive success in more acidic conditions. the ocean had a carbon dioxide concentration of 280 parts per million (ppm). This increased to 385 ppm in 2010 which has led to a drop in the pH* of our oceans of 0. oysters. requiring more energy as it is more Over time.5. sea stars. less is population’s huge appetite for this fuel available to reproduce or even to and the process of extracting it from photosynthesize. THE ECOSYSTEM IS AFFECTED FROM THE BOTTOM UP Ocean Acidification as a topic has only come to light in scientific circles in the last ten years. metabolism and reproduction occur Carbon can also be stored deep in easiest within a small pH range. tonnes). it obscures their senses and some species are actually drawn to predators rather than instinctively being more wary. ⋅ Heavy metals become more soluble in the oceans and can therefore increase in the tissues of marine organisms ⋅ Additional problems have been observed in research on a number of species including metabolic changes. 2100. snails.1. The increased stress the Earth has disrupted the natural may make these species unable to carbon cycle. atmosphere. prawns. when we started burning fossil fuels. problem of ocean acidification. emitted carbon is threatening the Earth with the greater. we humans have released massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. in photosynthesis to produce their own energy and oxygen (phytoplankton All marine organisms alive today have are the greatest consumers of carbon evolved in the previously stable pH dioxide producing 50% of the world’s range. it is a very new concept to researchers. This absorption environment whereas a high continues as the ocean attempts to pH represents a more alkaline regain the equilibrium of carbon in environment. additional problems have also been observed: ⋅ Fish larvae will often react to an increase in acidity. Aside from creating that warm blanket of gas in our atmosphere. oxygen through photosynthesis). we have now managed to removed much of the potential depth reduce that to 8. decreased immunity. Once the ocean in the form of waste as this pH is changed. at over 800ppm. The predicted 2100 drop to a pH of produced) carbon emitted since 7.1. thus threatening AS PLANKTON FORM THE BASE FOR ALL FOOD CHAINS. such as krill (at the lower level of the food chain in the ocean and the primary food for our beloved humpback whales). This may not sound of the carbon dioxide blanket we have like much. more energy alone. have displayed very limited tolerance to the predicted levels of carbon. the person every year from our atmosphere ability for animals to produce calcium and two thirds of this carbon has been carbonate is reduced. scallops. Our oceans are still absorbing is required for this calcification. the basis of all our food chains ⋅ Some species. the oceans have pH of 8.
vote with your wallet »» Dont support illegal fishing »» Support marine protected areas »» Decrease pollution »» Be more energy efficient . all of which survived the extinction of the To learn more about ocean acidification please visit: http://www. of the seven species of sea turtles CALL TO ACTION: that exist today. It even drives our seen since the last ice age. The ocean These higher pH levels have been present in our oceans is our life support system providing not just the air we in the past. Research has shown that their shells are thinner and more brittle.nrdc. Vote with your wallet! With your pets. it is the basis of our food chains. having cooler waters. northern coast of California) the waters are already acidic enough that they are dissolving calcium carbonate shells.. phytoplankton produces 50% of all oxygen on the planet via photosynthesis. carbonic acid is produced. As plankton form the base for all food chains. What do we do? We need to give our ocean ecosystems the best chance to survive and withstand the hardship whilst we attempt to fix the problem. Four of the five great mass extinctions were associated with rapidly acidifying oceans. however all organisms now present on our breathe. It is therefore predicted that climate. As more carbon dioxide dissolves into the ocean however. Their shells are made up of calcium carbonate and they utilise the carbon in the water column to produce their skeletons. providing planet have evolved in the more stable environments us with food and the water we drink. know the facts and start making the smart choice to support sustainable fishing practices. there is no life on Earth. Primarily we should reduce the carbon emissions that we continue pumping on a daily basis into our atmosphere. fewer animals are able to survive and reproduce.org/oceans/acidification/aboutthefilm. polluted.As mentioned above. Furthermore. absorb more carbon than the tropical regions of our planet. In some regions of the northern hemisphere (e. It is imperative that we support marine protected areas and protect more of our oceans. A healthy system has more chance of surviving. If we reduce the amount of stress on our fish populations and give them a better chance to survive. there are more hydrogen ions and the pH decreases. these organisms may be unable to adapt and evolve to the rate of change that we are now seeing. Supporting alternative energy sources including solar and wind power can achieve this. For example. At the ‘normal’ pH level. RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION WHAT HAVE WE DONE? »» Eaten 90% of all large fish »» Damaged half of our coral reefs »» Depleted the oxygen in the ocean »» Created a garbage patch bigger than Australia in the middle of the Pacific 29 WHAT CAN YOU DO? »» Support Sustainable fishing . however this rate of increase that we are observing now is ten times faster The reaction that takes places in ocean acidification than before the last mass extinction. leaving less energy for other essential processes such as growth and reproduction. mined and exploited for oil. it becomes harder for these organisms to produce their skeletons. Why is this time different? Without the ocean. they can do this very easily. If there is less food. the ecosystem is affected from the bottom up. Populations of marine animals are already under stress from human impact and are not likely to handle further stress. six species are now listed as endangered. Less than 1% of the world’s oceans are protected in any way. Consequently.g. Our polar regions. make the choice not to feed them fish. they will be more likely to handle the other stresses we are throwing at them. they require more energy to produce in the first place. the other 99% are able to be fished. It is time we take better care of it. There is a great deal of illegal and unsustainable fishing happening in our oceans. dinosaurs.
broadcasting and media assignments. I feel comfortable asking for help. these animals are being over-fished to extinction. or helping to raise money for the film. the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf protecting sharks. I’ve never been comfortable asking for money. From time to time unique opportunities present themselves. Now due to the ever increasing demand for shark fin soup.thefintrail. He was one of the first members of the Shark Trust in 1997. For this reason the film’s producers sought collaborations in China with key legislators and environmentalists so that the film could impact on consumers as well as the supply chain. Note from the Editor: As you would have read in our first issue. so keep your eyes peeled. The aim is not just to make a film but to make a film that will make a difference which is why we have teamed up with some of the world’s best known and leading NGO’s.com for more details on how to donate and what you will receive in return. He is the author of a number of books on sharks and is a regular contributor to radio and television programmes around the world. without healthy oceans planet Earth will not sustain human life. and has been the Trust’s chairman for the last seven years. and sometimes these opportunities come with the chance of making a difference – a very real difference. and I truly believe that those who participate in the Fin Trail will feel proud to have done so. Richard is also founder of the Shark Conservation Society and has played a key role in getting legislation passed in Europe. on this occasion. We would love to see all of our readers getting behind this film and helping the team raise the funds they need to complete their project. Sharks make a vital contribution to keeping our oceans healthy. joined the board of trustees in 2004. which sets out to be the most effective and compelling shark conservation film yet made. If you would like to see more of Richards work. This powerful and compelling film will pull no punches and leave no aspect of the fin trail unexposed.DONATE & HELP: THE FIN TRAIL Sharks have been on planet Earth for 400 million years. The Fin Trail is a full-length feature documentary. public speaking. Richard now lives in Cornwall and devotes his time to shark conservation. This is a request for money and below you’ll find details of how you can get involved by donating to The Fin Trail. . Where there is demand there will always be a supply. However exposing the fin trails is less than half the battle. and its simple.K.. shark finning is a major issue for our oceans. which has made working in the charity sector difficult for me! However. some of his great DVDs and books will be up for grabs as prizes over the next few issues. In 2007 he co-founded Elasmo Films with Simon Spear. Check out their webste at www. The film goes into production this autumn and is planned to be ready for cinema release at the end of 2012. and his work and contributions in this field are recognised around the world. 72 Richard Peirce Co-Producer The Fin Trail Richard Peirce is a leading figure in shark conservation in the U. writing.
It is suggested that ‘fisheries’ be defined as part theory and part observation. The words of Thomas Huxley. 31 .Marine Process by Mary Gardner T he word ‘fisheries’ has. it’s timely to look into a few moments of history about our idea of “fisheries”. In 1883. a history of trouble. associated with it. a famous UK biologist at the time. he delivered an inaugural address to the International Fisheries Exhibition in London. He said sea fisheries were “in relation to our present modes of fishing…inexhaustible”. echo with observations and theories that startle us today. RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION “Fisheries” took on a new meaning during the Industrial Revolution. As overfishing is a controversial topic globally. blended together over time.
The next generation of fishery scientists. hand in hand with scientific assessment. The legal practice in the UK routinely deported people for offences. he assessed that fishing effort removes not more than five percent of that cod and the herring that they eat. Japan and Soviet Union began to travel to fish off the coasts of Iceland. They said they would enter into bilateral or multilateral fishing treaties as they saw fit. twelve and finally two hundred miles. Fish factories from the US. these and other developing countries set their territorial zones at sea to extend six. . the US appealed to the International Law Commission. They called for a new UNbased international body. The conference would first deal with the “technicalities” and conservation of fishing. Industrialization was seen to improve on nature. New technology such as refrigeration helped make a processing plant of a fishing boat. He said that a fishery should be harvested slowly. The US and the UK announced they supported“freedom of the seas” and the right to fish wherever they desired. so concluding that regulation was useless. These recommendations would then inform the 11th session of the UN in 1956 and guide any decisions about fishing regulation. was struggling with the biology and the economic pressure to make fishing a profitable enterprise. they were inclined to agree. Norway and Latin American countries such as Peru and Ecuador.Huxley went on to describe “shoals of fish 120 to 180 feet in vertical thickness” known as “cod mountains”. The marine historian Carmel Finley has a fascinating account of world events at the time. after two world wars. By the late 1940s. said “unregulated fishing is unprofitable”. Parliament then repealed fifty fishing laws and allowed unregulated fishing. Mark Graham. Australia and other places around the world. This was seen as progress. By the 1950s. “fisheries” were already appearing depleted in areas of the UK and the US. Now Huxley was the man who coined the word “scientist” and was one of the first to make a living as a paid professional of natural history. He lived in a period when industrialization was shifting people and changing the nature of labour not only in the UK but in Canada. with a binding authority to regulate fishing. In 1955. He felt politicians setting fishing restrictions were “making a criminal of a simple man of the people” more than they were saving any fishery. He pushed for monitoring the types of gear and the sizes of nets used in any fishery. set well away from Latin America. He believed the fishermen of the era did not affect the fish stocks as much as did natural predators. Huxley went on to describe “shoals of fish 120 to 180 feet in vertical thickness” known as “cod mountains”. Steam and diesel were powering methods like bottom trawling with strengths and to depths not known before. in both countries. minor and major. When the Royal Commission of 1863 heard that the now heavy duty process was as benign as ploughing a field and even helped certain fish stocks. UK. One leading UK scientist. Based on the latest fishery information at the time. They suggested a conference.
A. a “fishery” is changed. RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION 33 . that conservation measures should be applied when science shows fishing “adversely affects…the resource” while also considering “special interests of the coastal state”. Second. it tends to remain at that low level. the rest abstaining. Larkin were already explaining that the idea should be abandoned. When harvested again and again at this theoretical “maxima”.The Conference was held in Rome and Mark Graham was the keynote speaker. scientists can easily monitor “fisheries” species by species and managers can accurately allocate the maximum fishing effort. Try as scientists might. Year after year. By 1977. which has slowly gained momentum: Fish live in communities within ecosystems. The population becomes younger and the spawning event is not as plentiful or of as good a quality as that of one with older fish. When harvested again and again at this theoretical “maxima”. Forty-five nations sent delegates. The “maxima” and the very idea of “fisheries” are complicated by another old fact. By today’s standards. “Freedom of the seas” prevailed. In this way. although a number could be set to guide fishing effort. Natural predators have more effect on a “fishery” than any human fishing effort. Finally. But leading scientists such as the Canadian P. The population becomes younger and the spawning event is not as plentiful or of as good a quality as that of one with older fish. managers and politicians could now say they had no scientific basis to regulate fishing effort as long as everyone watched for the MSY. The Cold War set the tone. Therefore the numbers in subsequent generations decrease and often quite rapidly. which is wasted if fishermen don’t harvest it freely. the application was crude but powerful. If any fishing continues and the stock plummets. not showing recovery for years. Each “fishery” has a natural surplus. When the Soviets supported the Latin American position. with the vote 18 to 17. the “fisheries” turned up contrary results. In Finley’s account are the original three recommendations from that meeting. All this is possible because every “fishery” has an inbuilt quota. the immediate aim of conservation is to increase and improve fish stocks. the principle objective of conservation is to obtain the optimum sustainable yield of a fishery. But in the end. Political power was behind the US’ idea of “fisheries” with specific characteristics. this “maxima” was hard to find and proved unreliable. a “fishery” is changed. MSY was the managerial standard worldwide. international politics used science to add weight to policy. Meanwhile. Worldwide. First. the US took this as a security threat. the USSR voted with the US and the UK in support of a motion about the “conservation of fisheries”. This is called the Maximum Sustained Yield (MSY). A “fishery” did better being harvested right up to its maximum. That this new theory had little data and no testing behind it was ignored.
. bars and internet. I was almost disappointed (for about five minutes). restaurants.WHALE SHARKS IN MOZAMBIQUE The number of foetuses pulled from a whale shark in 1995 BY SIMON PIERCE 300 20 I The length in metres of a whale shark thought I’d be attacked by lions when I stepped off the plane. So when I arrived in the small picturesque coastal village of Tofo Beach. Before I decided to move there. with its sweepingbeach. riddled with landmines and someone had once been bitten by a sea snake. all I’d heard about Mozambique was that it was recovering from civil war. it’s really hard to escape Justin Timberlake songs these days. Civilisation does have its downside though: in case you were wondering.
I replied.” And so I became a whale shark researcher. these friendly giants have. Both are highly-migratory plankton-feeders and as such are completely harmless to humans. their numbers were decimated by targeted fisheries in the IndoPacific with up to 96% reductions recorded in some countries. and the adventure began.” she paused. but I quickly realised that the whale shark is a genuinely amazing animal. I just won’t tell them. in the middle of 2005 I was finishing off my field research for my PhD work at The University of Queensland. “but I’ve never seen a whale shark?” “Yeah. Whatever the case. Unfortunately the cessation of major fisheries for the species in recent years was probably more related to declining catch rates and therefore poor economic return. My research is based upon the photographic identification of individual sharks. the situation now presents both a challenge and an opportunity: how can we protect Earth’s largest fish from further exploitation and help them bounce back? Whale shark research sounds like a dream job to many people. with the largest recorded individual measuring 20 metres (about one and two-thirds the length of an average bus). I didn’t know much about them when I started. where they travel. It was cheap. I’ve just moved to a nice lodge over here and they ’ve asked me to find them a whale shark researcher! Want to come over?” “Ah. One night at home in Brisbane. true. The best estimate of their maximum lifespan is around 100 years. “no problem. “it’s Andrea. until recently. And it is! A huge upside of working with whale sharks is that we can get in the water and swim with them.Backing up a little. rather than burgeoning awareness of their dire conservation status. Sadly. The name “whale shark” comes from their huge size. Photo-identification was the per fect way to start learning more about the lives of these sharks. Up until 2008. who was then working on her PhD on manta rays over in Mozambique. she said. I can follow the life of each shark to some extent: how long they spend in Mozambique. but that’s not where the similarities between these behemoths and their mammalian namesakes end. “ . even the threats that they face and escape from. “Hey ”. I received a call from my friend Andrea Marshall. Based on their unique spot patterns. sure”. This also allows me to use some research techniques that aren’t possible with many other sharks. faced the prospect of extinction. And it is! A huge upside of working with whale sharks is that we can get in the water and swim with them. their rate of growth. which appealed as I had no research 35 “ Whale shark research sounds like a dream job to many people. and they are capable of diving to depths of at least 1500 metres. These huge sharks are the world’s largest fish.
what’s next? Well. despite dedicated researchers working on the species. our knowledge of their habits is rapidly expanding. Once they get older. My research in Mozambique could not proceed without support from Casa Barry Beach Lodge. and my team and I have identified over 600 whale sharks. Tofo is now understandably regarded as a global hot-spot for whale sharks and as such is an important area to preserve. I think of ‘my ’ sharks as being like teenage boys. huge gaps in our knowledge still remain. the 10 kilometre strip of coast immediately south of Tofo. the Shark Foundation. A vanishingly small number of pregnant female sharks have ever been sighted and it looks like only mid-sized juvenile sharks use coastal aggregations where most of the current research effort is focused. I’m happy to report that they ’ll be fully protected this year and the continuing development of the tourism is also being carefully managed to ensure ecological and economic sustainability. hanging around at an arcade somewhere. Whale sharks have become the basis of an important marine tourism industry in Mozambique and we’ve been working with the government to help them decide on the best way to conserve the species. Their whereabouts remain a mystery from birth (at around 55 cm) until they reach a length of three to five metres. We’re now turning our attention to their primary aggregation site. I saw eight whale sharks on my first jaunt and have been completely hooked ever since. we’ve begun to achieve some great conservation results for the species. the high numbers at this site mean that it is important to protect this habitat and ensure that no threats emerge in the future. Ocean Revolution. Most of the sharks using the Tofo coast are juvenile males of six to seven metres in length. Even though the sharks are moving through the area quickly. With their help. so I started jumping aboard the commercial snorkelling trips to investigate what was going on at sea. Although we’re still learning more about how and why the sharks are present in such large numbers in Mozambique. All Out Africa and Fujifilm cameras. they ’re protected from fisheries and their live economic value is realised in a carefully-managed tourism industry. Whale shark tourism was in the early stages of development in Tofo at the time. representing around 19% of the known global population of the species.budget at all and although it is time -intensive the idea of time on and in the water with these awesome fish wasn’t exactly unappealing. Peri-Peri Divers. guys realise that they ’re going to have to leave to find the girls: something similar appears to occur in Tofo. the adventure continues… . I think the next stage is to find these “lost giants”. once the key whale shark aggregation site is protected in Mozambique. So. Fast forward to the present. And so. as it’s very rare for us to see adult sharks of either sex.
The greatest threat to our shark the pressures of overfishing have depleted numbers to populations comes from fishing in international waters where approximately half of what they were estimated to be in 1975. In turn. the greater human population has begun to Some reports suggest that numbers of our large pelagic realise the essential role these animals play in our ecosystems. As the human population increases. A quick search on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Throughout international waters we are seeing an increase brings up a surprisingly large number of ‘Vulnerable’ and in commercial fishing that is targeting the larger predatory ‘Endangered’ species of sharks with many populations of these species. with many shark populations unable to This is supported by the fact that we’re seeing half as many in recover from these impacts.ASK A SCIENTIST LIFE’S MYSTERIES ANSWERED What is the estimated population of some of the larger pelagic shark species in the oceans. makos. the east coast population numbers of smaller shark and ray species that would once is thought to have dropped to as little as a few hundred have been prey of the larger predators. what we are also seeing is an increase in the most endangered species of shark. are targeted for their fins (debatable figure of 40-75% of those caught). It is estimated that 100 million sharks are killed every year. however effect on shark numbers. we then observe a significant decrease in their species listed as still declining. we’re having a direct We are not sure of exact numbers in our oceans. task. However. No longer seen merely as monsters that should be killed. we can only the time to act on reducing overfishing is now or not only will compare the catch data from before and after. many of them as ‘bycatch’ – not the species being targeted by a number of fisheries that manage to catch (and kill) them (Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St Petersburg). species such as the scalloped hammerhead. bronze whaler. few restrictions apply. However. However has exploded in the wake of the local hammerhead shark in the last decade we have started to see a shift in human population collapse. As we do not know definitively what the population of these sharks was before we began hunting them we cannot There is still hope for shark populations in our oceans. the wild. but the ecosystems that depend on them will also collapse. A large number of these shark species however. great white and grey nurse sharks. this is based on More conservation groups are focusing on sharks and more reduced catch data and how many less sharks are observed in money is being spent on shark research. Great whites. there are less of them to prey on the smaller sharks and rays. The latter is Australia’s Interestingly. The rest are RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION 37 . decrease in population. give an authoritative population count now. Chesapeake Bay in California is a Sharks are more vulnerable to these pressures as they are slow prime example of this where the Chesapeake ray population to reproduce and populations do not recover quickly. oceanic whitetips etc? Todd Cameron Quantifying shark numbers in our oceans is a very difficult bycatch or taken whole and their meat sold as flake. Amongst this list are familiar numbers. sharks have decreased by up to 80%. opinions of sharks. shark populations suffer. our oceans since large-scale commercial fishing began. As the larger predators individuals.
coastal geology or other water related topic? We would love to hear from you Send us your aquatic questions to: info@hawntmedia. Defined by its massive red dorsal fin that stretches all the way from the tip of the tail along the back to the eyes. Oarfish are found throughout the east Atlantic and the Mediterranean. wetlands. A deep sea species. With a long. dying or dead and washed up on beaches. Were these maybe the precursor for the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country and triggered the Fukushima nuclear fallout? email: info@hawntmedia. Following the 8. these animals are likely to be the inspiration for the mythical sea serpent. George Gross Oarfish (Regalecus glesne) are the world’s largest bony fish. slender. wildlife.Id like to know more about an uncommonly seen ocean creature the ‘Oarfish’. Oarfish are filter feeders. The primary recorded contact with these animals is when they are sick. whilst keeping the body still.8 magnitude earthquake of March 2010 on the other side of the Pacific in Chile.com with the title ‘Q&A’ in the subject line . They are thought to swim perpendicular to the water’s surface when feeding. generally living more than 200 metres below the water’s surface. however not much is known about their range. silvery body that appears scaleless. Oarfish swim in an ‘amiiform’ mode characterised by the undulation of the dorsal fin. it is reasonably rare to see these fish. Are there any living specimens studied? Where do they live? I have seen very few photographed. using their modified gill rakers to sieve plankton from the water. rivers. In Japan they are thought to be an omen for predicting earthquakes. it culminates in a large plumage on the head resembling that of a bird. ribbon-like. over a dozen oarfish washed up on the beaches of Japan. reported to grow up to 17 metres in length.com QUESTIONS? Do you have questions about our oceans.
DOLPHIN DENTISTRY by Carolina Loch Skull of a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) showing its multiple conical teeth. RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION MOST MAMMALS USE THEIR TEETH PRIMARILY FOR CUTTING AND CHEWING FOOD. Photo by Carolina Loch. 39 . DOLPHINS TEETH ARE MAINLY USED FOR PIERCING AND GRASPING AS FOOD ITEMS ARE SWALLOWED WHOLE.
waiting to be discovered! please take a look at: Loch C. My colleagues (2011) Dental pathology in dolphins (Cetacea: Delphinidae) from the southern coast of Brazil. premolars and molars. theses and recently a publication in the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. commonly have 32 (but only if your four wisdom teeth erupt). the research on dolphin teeth has shown several the biology of dolphins and other mammals. Some us and other animals that normally feed on processed and species of dolphins can have more than 200 teeth. and MSc. biting.Left . my colleagues and I discovered that those animals be much improved if we work in interdisciplinary areas. Simões-Lopes PC My studies led to a long-term project that became theme of my BSc. chewing food. In most mammals. studied and reported in the scientific literature. causes and consequences of pathological teeth of humans and domestic animals have been widely conditions in wild species. or is the process of caries formation different in shrimps and crabs. These causes seem plausible for us. These pathologies were not exclusive to cone . but there are still many questions to be answered. Third. Most mammals use their teeth primarily for cutting and we still don’t know how caries cavities are formed in dolphins. including bottlenose and estuarine dolphins as well as the canines. In humans. We discovered that conditions such as caries is related to the animals’ diet. and I used 27. but some may also prey on animals such as squids. science can America. altered food. but how can we understand the influences of the environment in which they explain acid erosion in wild dolphins? live and even allow us to estimate their age quite precisely. and most importantly.Teeth and skeleton of the False killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens). presented several pathologies and abnormal conditions in Without combining our knowledge of different areas such as their teeth – similar to the ones that make us fear sitting biology. on the other hand. Photo by Lucas Sampaio. as well as to consumption of soft drinks and acidic and relationships among species. For example. Rght – Analyzing pathologies in teeth and mandibles of a false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens). . Second. we don’t know as much about the biology of dolphins as we might think. nimals in general use their teeth in many activities such A as capturing prey. chewing and defence. however dolphins’ teeth are mainly used for In humans. but also about their evolution anorexia. zoology and odontology. Normally they don’t live under human care and people are not looking at the state of their teeth. Most dolphins feed have caries as well? Is there any source of carbohydrates in on fish. dolphins? There are similar intriguing questions to be asked about acid erosion. Calculus deposits in the bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus (A) and acid erosion in the estuarine dolphin Sotalia guianensis (B). caries occur because of fermentation of sugar piercing and grasping. In dolphins. As a rule. the shape of teeth killer whale. Photo by Ignacio Moreno. surface staining and acid erosion teeth are usually all the same (homodont dentition) – a simple existed in dolphins. Bottom – Some examples of dental pathologies diagnosed in dolphins. in comparison.maybe because they don’t go to the dentist. Kieser JA. Teeth may help us to juices. this condition is normally By studying teeth of animals we can learn not only about related to some eating disorders such as bulimia and their feeding habits.with many more teeth than in typical mammals. pathologies were always there. Humans. First of all. teeth differ from front to back. as food items are swallowed whole.559 teeth and 348 skulls from 10 species of dolphins in scientific collections from Southern Brazil. But these If you’re interested in this topic and are searching for more information. We now know that dolphins show dental pathology. calculus deposits. things. there remains much While studying teeth of different dolphin species from South to be discovered. Grando LJ. we wouldn’t understand on a dentist chair! Diseases and pathologies that affect the the processes. on the surface of our teeth. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 94:225-234. But the same is not true for dolphins . their diet. How can carnivorous animals Dolphins are carnivores – they eat flesh. That’s why teeth are an important tool for scientists studying For me. to give incisors. cavities.
How are you going to eat it? Are you going to push one half of your stomach out through your mouth. The secret life of by Dr Liam Herringshaw RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION The number of species of seastars 2000 40 D The number of arms on a sunstar The life span in years of a seastar 41 35 inner is served. On a plate before you. slurping up the nutritious broth as you go? No? Well you’re obviously not a starfish then. . let alone a knife and fork to use.In every sea. smothering the chicken in digestive juices to dissolve it. is larger than your head and you have no hands or teeth you can break it up with. then haul your stomach back into place. a delicious roast chicken. Beasts of freakish locomotion Prowl the substrate. however. seeking prey To feast on in a monstrous way. The bird. in every ocean.
But. There were no starfish. sea urchins or brittle stars in the Cambrian. Edward Forbes © Wikimedia Commons Image . Long-armed asteroids appeared. possess extraordinary powers of regeneration and move around on a system of tiny hydraulic tentacles. but their relatives were plentiful. though five hasn’t always been the magic number. asteroids have a skeleton made of crystals. so some brittle stars – echinoderms with rigid. The image resolution of each ossicle may not be of the highest quality – biologist Adam Summers likens it to “looking through a peephole covered with tissue paper” – but the compound effect at least enables the echinoderm to distinguish dangerous daylight from the cover of darkness. are among the most familiar of all sea creatures. In avoiding predation. sea urchins. If their feeding habits weren’t weird enough. around 425 million years ago in the Silurian period of geological time. However. Nevertheless. to give them their proper name. Yet for reasons unclear only the pentametrists persisted. each ossicle functions like a single crystal. In sea cucumbers they are often reduced to microscopic specks in a gelatinous bag of soft tissue. the quintupled body segments are still there if you know where to look. as well as really short-rayed forms more biscuit than animal. something changed. thanks to the intermittent benevolence of the fossil record we know that asteroids have been shuffling about the oceans for just shy of half a billion years. Sea lilies can have scores of feathery arms. And they don’t even have a brain. every little bit helps. sea lilies. disc-shaped bodies and writhing. when an estimated 86% of marine species disappeared. and though sea cucumbers and some sea urchins are at first glance bilaterally symmetrical. This pentametry is unique in the animal kingdom. the five-fingered favourites of many a seaside publicity brochure. nor as flexible as a sea cucumber’s. In sea urchins the elements. starfish were small and five-rayed. the Ordovician. an asteroid body consists of myriad tiny ossicles held together by collagen and other soft tissues. or ‘hedgehog-skins’. All. have fused to form a rigid shell known as a test. What they do have is membership of an exclusive club: the Echinodermata. It seems starfish seized the opportunity. If their feeding habits weren’t weird enough. These icons of the intertidal zone are about as strange as life on Earth gets. Yet even a cursory investigation of their biology. Indeed. A third feature that links all echinoderms is the structure of their skeleton. there were some with only three-fold symmetry and some without symmetry at all. but most bizarre of all was the evolution of species that broke the five arm mould. The preservation potential of the average dead starfish is therefore about that of the cake left out in the MacArthur Park rain*. possess extraordinary powers of regeneration and move around on a system of tiny hydraulic tentacles. ecology and evolutionary history reveals the familiarity to be a deception. asteroids have a skeleton made of crystals. Not as optical as a brittle star’s. are formed of the mineral calcite with a uniquely porous structure called stereom. you’ll know how they get their name. but always in multiples of five. and whilst most looked pretty familiar. snake-like arms – can literally see through their skin. echinoderms aren’t just spiny . brittle stars and sea cucumbers) all have five-fold body symmetry. whilst there are sea urchins that can peer through their spines. For the first 70-odd million of these.Members of the class Asteroidea. rarely much larger than a strawberry. though it must make echinoderm optometry a complicated business. If you’ve ever seen footage of crown-of-thorns sea stars chomping their way across the Great Barrier Reef. it wasn’t the end of the world and the Silurian survivors had room to experiment. however. but they do get fossilized. Optically.they also share a fondness for the number five: the five living groups (starfish. or ossicles (‘little bones’). One of the most catastrophic mass extinctions in Earth history had occurred at the end of the preceding geological period.
Indeed. So if the biological present is the key to the palæontological past. At first it reminded him of the common sun star (Crossaster papposus).The first of these deviants was discovered in 1850 by the Manx naturalist Edward Forbes. but how had they evolved? To decode this enigma. with arms for locomotion and its mouth against the substrate. but eight. As a result of his work. but only after he’d brought primæval asteroids to life. What he couldn’t figure out was why the fossils always seemed to be found upside-down. but this fossil baffled him. With its wide body an explosion of bony shards and its arms like corns-on-the-cob. it was their number. Richard Dawkins argued just that. madam? – but multiradiate starfish are common at the present day. More than 60 years passed before anyone examined it properly again. Spencer’s hypothesis gained no followers. in the Much Wenlock Limestone Formation of the Welsh borderlands. adding extra rays later in development. has demonstrated that even multiradiate mutants begin life with five body segments. Having many extra arms might seem to undermine the hypothesis that five-fold body symmetry is a defining characteristic of living echinoderms. Spencer was able to prove Lepidaster was a starfish. Not a quintet. began a monograph that would take another half-century to be published completely. However. As author-illustrator of the definitive British guide. He’d be dead by then. living asteroids can help us unlock the mysteries of their ancient ancestors. Gray’s scaly star (Lepidaster grayi) was defiantly at odds with its contemporaries. on the cusp of the Great War. the asteroid’s own water pressure regulation device. the broader puzzle remained of why a lineage of starfish ended up with not one or two extra arms. it is now generally accepted that living echinoderms have five-part body subdivision programmed into them at a basic level. Then a second triskaidekaphile turned up in slightly younger rocks from Australia and the waters were muddied further. Bilaterally symmetrical humans acquiring a third copy of everything would be pretty freaky – An extra eye in your forehead. Was this palæontological oddball even a starfish at all? Could it be the missing link between starfish and sea lilies. in his book Climbing Mount Improbable. or even a septet. their many-armed cousins? Sadly. its extra arms helping to gather whatever morsels of food drifted its way? It was an unprecedented concept. individuals of which often have 13 arms. Spencer was fascinated by fossil starfish and. Forbes knew his living starfish. nor a sextet. 43 . Edward Forbes died before he’d resolved the mystery and Gray’s scaly star drifted into obscurity. The scientist who finally took up the challenge was William Kingdon Spencer. but Forbes began to have his doubts. however. A seastar will most commonly possess five appendages © Rowena Mynott In the end. Lepidaster had thirteen. M is for madreporite. his detective work turning up some exquisitely preserved specimens unknown to Forbes. we need to look at modern bodies. sir? A third arm protruding from your rib cage. even if it gets obscured subsequently. A school inspector who claimed to make the best omelettes in England. too. but then so was the starfish. It wasn’t just the arms’ appearance either. So why do only some starfish go strange? RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION Corn-on-the-cob arms and an explosive body: Gray’s scaly star (Lepidaster grayi) from the Silurian of England. Had Gray’s scaly star flipped itself over and taken to living with its mouth pointed towards the surface. Among Silurian starfish. No. Palæontologists are fairly parsimonious and there was no compelling evidence that Gray’s scaly star hadn’t functioned like living forms. Marine biologist and palæontologist Fred Hotchkiss. 13 was clearly lucky for some.
in some species. You can out-muscle your competitors for existing food sources. such asteroids are known colloquially as comets. You’d be pretty pleased. When faced with a potential predator. the volume (or biomass) of a multiradiate starfish is roughly double that of a ‘normal’ form. what a flexible mouth you have! All the better for extruding my stomach and smothering you with! The ‘feet’ of a seastar © Wikepedia Commons . but your severed arm grew a whole new you. spewing out all their internal organs before wriggling off to grow them back in safety. but eight extra arms are added. thirteen. but many starfish can do exactly this . but multiradiate mutants might just be starfish that added extra arms without having lost any in the first place. taken to the greatest extreme by the sea cucumbers. The next question that arises is: does having extra arms help? If the ratio of body size to arm length is kept consistent. With tiny new rays budding from a nucleus and a streaming onearmed ‘tail’. it would certainly have been capable of doing something different. If you need more food. or you can start exploiting new ones. and it grew back. It’s a long way from certain.It might be a corruption of their regenerative powers. reproducing themselves from a cast-off. grandma starfish. or even fifty. the record set by the Antarctic sun star (Labidiaster annulatus). With its mouth in the middle of a much larger and more flexible body than that of its contemporaries.sacrificing a limb they’ll grow back later and. seven. Regeneration is another echinoderm eccentricity. My. Perhaps Gray’s scaly star was the pioneer. Imagine you lost your arm in an accident. But imagine how you’d feel if not only your arm reappeared. Many starfish with supernumerary rays seem to have taken the latter course of action. Switch a gene on at a different point in development and five rays might become six. Suddenly you’d be a twin. This means a marked increase in the energy required to keep the animal functioning. I wouldn’t recommend trying it. what a lot of arms you have! All the better for grabbing you with! Why grandma starfish. from consuming coral to eating other echinoderms. these garish mobile sausages can self-eviscerate. even to scoffing fellow starfish. there are two ways you can go about getting it.
or the pests were mopped up from the seabed with special cotton-tipped poles and boiled alive in on-board pots. It is said. If you have ever seen footage of crown-ofthorns sea stars chomping their way across the Great Barrier Reef. RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION The arms and defenses of a crown of thorns seastar (Acanthaster planci) 45 . It’ll save you a walk to the fried chicken vendor on the promenade. sometimes with a dash of poison as extra discouragement.It won’t come from the sky. Its stomach can squeeze through the sliver of an opening and liquefy the shellfish inside.(and mussel-) slurping starfish are a nightmare for most commercial shellfish harvesters. chopping them in half with a knife and then chucking the bodies back into the sea. Of course they didn’t know that this was simply helping their opponents double their numbers. Oystermen in the eastern US thus developed alternative strategies to keep their beds asteroid-free. Grabbing hold of fish that mistake the asteroid for a rather spiky rock. Oyster. perhaps apocryphally. but starfish suction needs only to outlast the muscle power of its opponent. the pedicellariæ skewer the stricken animal and. but if you are a coastal fisherman. In one species – the velcro star (Stylasterias forreri) – this has evolved to the level of lazy but very sophisticated predation. pass it across the surface of the starfish and around to the jaws. The sucker-covered rays wrap round the shells of the oyster and exert an opposing force to pull them apart. Oysters can pull their shells together incredibly tightly. like rock fans moving a crowd-surfer. The valves bite at anything that touches them. Asteroids may have many abilities. Once the bivalve tires and its shells part ever-so-slightly. the threat of an asteroid impact is very real. Perhaps you might like to try your own version of this next time you feel a bit peckish while sunbathing on the beach? Part-conceal yourself facedown in the sand and train the hairs on your back to catch unwary gulls and deliver them to your mouth. the asteroid has won. but pedicellariæ are certainly not flowery. certainly not if you’re a small sea creature. These snapping pincers are so independently minded that they were thought by many early researchers to be separate organisms entirely. They resemble miniature tulips. rather than part of the asteroid. Wagon-loads of starfish were carried off for use as farm fertilizer. deterring small organisms and parasites from setting up home or hitching a ride. that fishermen used to solve this problem by dredging up the starfish. Don’t write asteroids off as a soft touch though. but they aren’t invulnerable. you will know how they get their name. The surface of various starfish is covered by unpronounceable weapons called pedicellariæ.
you might want to keep any small animals you own away from the water. This enables it to scuttle over the seabed at speeds of up to ten feet a minute. stretching its suckered arms auk-ward and grappling it into submission? Sadly not. There’s no predicting what starfish *If you’ve never listened to Richard Harris’s epic take on might master next. It was apparently just scavenging a carcass it had come across. a member of the bird family that includes puffins and guillemots. Impressive as it was. Nonetheless. for another Pycnopodia was caught in the act of consuming an alcid. scientists in British Columbia were studying the dietary preferences of the Pacific sunflower star (Pycnopodia helianthoides). or the pests were mopped up from the seabed with special cotton-tipped poles and boiled alive in on-board pots. In the early 1980s. this gluttony soon paled into comparison. but many don’t. chasing down crabs. then reared up off the seabed. Not only is Pycnopodia big. if you do find yourself on the coast. . psychedelic pop. re-imagine before you the dinner I began with. If you’re thinking that a bird-eating starfish is a bit preposterous. I suggest you remedy that oversight soon. one sunflower star was found with 110 individuals of the orb clam Diplodonta in its stomach. hoovering up sand dollars and panicking molluscs into taking up swimming. Some escape. The sunflower star moves relatively fast. it’s also fast and flexible. having almost nothing in the way of a skeleton to slow it down. Wagon-loads of starfish were carried off for use as farm fertilizer. but how could it have captured a nimble diving seabird? Had the starfish lain in wait till one came within reach. I offer you this. With 24 arms and a body up to a metre wide. this is a sea star supernova.The endoskeleton of a seastar as seen on x-ray © Wikepedia Commons And since we’ve come full circle.
Prawn fisheries are an example of this. southern Japan. also known as bay lobster. bycatch. and fisheries. other animals to consume species that have been normally become hooked or trapped when attracted to the regarded as bycatch. reduced catches and fishing restrictions that threaten their economic survival. flathead lobster and shovelnose lobster. or Balmain bug. This could therefore lead to reductions in fishing pressure on both target and non-target species. or are simply unable to avoid reduce fishing pressures on more heavily targeted capture or entanglement in fishing gear. research into bycatch reduction techniques and technology is a very hot topic. Africa. Much of the fishing industry targets specific expanding our culinary horizons and electing species for capture. a type of slipper lobster. of species commonly caught discuss in this article. bycatch This issue’s recipe is a Southeast Asian-inspired dish is still a widespread problem in all fisheries and in that combines the delicate flavour of bay bugs in a all seas. It is the issue of bycatch that we wish to hence profitability.org explains..org) defines bycatch as “the incidental capture and mortality of non-target marine animals during fishing . likely due in no small part to the There may be. Suggested solutions include varying the location. solutions have since been implemented. RISING: SCIENCE & CONSERVATION So by the simple act of varying our seafood choices. peronii are more medially located.FISH BITES: SUSTAINABLE RECIPES FROM THE SEA Moreton Bay bugs (Thenus orientalis). we as consumers can help to bait or target catch. Increasing the popularity. typically inhabit coastal waters at depths of 10 to 30 metres. We hope you enjoy it! In some fisheries. where fishers may catch over four times the weight of prawns in bycatch. The eyes of T. however. They have an Indo-West Pacific distribution and can be found off the northern coast of Australia from Western Australia to Queensland. BY SEBASTIAN MYNOTT Bay Bugs in Asian Sticky Syrup with Coconut Rice and Asian Vegetables percentage of bycatch far outweighs the amount of target catch. sparing no group of animals — from corals sweet chili sauce. China and the southern Red Sea to Natal. species’ range. Given the scale of the problem and the considerable socio-economic impact fisheries’ collapses are having worldwide. Unfortunately. to say nothing of the great impact the loss of a species can have on the wider ecological network.. another way to help fact that they are often caught as bycatch in prawn reduce bycatch. among other names. the Philippines. to whales. one of the principal threats to marine biodiversity worldwide”. there seems to be considerable and methodologies designed to more accurately uncertainty about stock status across most of this target the species being sought. T orientalis is often confused with a species that inhabits deeper waters . It results in damaged gear. timing quota regulations of fisheries operations. coconut rice and Asian greens. The two species can be most easily distinguished by the position of their eyes. Bycatch also takes a serious toll on fishers.bycatch. orientalis are located on the outer edge of their cephalothorax whereas those of L. Although species.Ibacus peronii. or using specific technologies At present. as bycatch could result in overall reductions in The Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction (www. fishing effort as less of each haul would be thrown overboard. the 47 .
Principles for choosing sustainable seafood 1. chili. fresh seafood 2. Serve the bugs on a bed of steamed vegetables. 3. Remove from the heat and keep covered until ready to serve. 5. Allow the liquid to reduce to almost dry then add the sauce. do not use both). accompanied by the coconut rice. chopped »» 1/4 bunch coriander root and stems. add coriander. add the cleaned bay bugs and continue frying until the onions and garlic gain some colour. Strain the liquid. Sauté quickly.30 minutes. reserving about a tablespoon each of garlic. discard the solids. ginger. chopped »» 1 small knob ginger. Add some chopped spring onions. Simmer for 20 minutes then remove from the heat. Choose fast-growing species avoid long-lived. Add 2 cups of coconut milk and an equal measure of water. 4.panda. Find and remove the lower intestine that runs the length of the tail. Give the cleaned halves a rinse and store them in the refrigerator until needed. Deglaze the pan with a little rice wine.the WWF (www. chopped »» 1 stalk lemongrass. or for extra richness add 4 cups of coconut milk. set it on high heat to bring it quickly to the boil then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and allow to simmer gently for 20 . leaving the white tail meat. lime juice and fish sauce to taste. chopped »» 3 chilies.many are overfished and are important for maintaining healthy ecosystems 4. The sauce may be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for several days. ginger and chili for later. chopped »» 1/4 bunch coriander leaves. Bring to the boil and add most of the garlic. slow-growing or deep sea species 3. 6. For the coconut rice. Drain thoroughly and repeat two to three times until the water is nearly clear. rinse the rice in its cooking pot by stirring it gently between your fingers in clean water. Avoid sharks and rays . The last part of the dish will be to place them in the steamer to cook lightly. For the sauce. Using a serrated knife. Once cool. coriander root and chili. Clean out the guts using a teaspoon or butter knife. Toss well to coat all ingredients. Cover the pot. combine the palm sugar with 250ml of water in a saucepan. lay the bugs on their backs and slice them lengthways medially. garlic and ginger to a hot wok. Refer to a locally produced sustainable seafood guide . Trim and wash the vegetables.org) has a global list of sustainable seafood guides on their website Method 1. chopped »» 50ml fish sauce »» 20 bay bugs »» 4 cups jasmine rice »» 2-4 cups coconut cream »» 200g baby corn »» 200g snow peas or green beans »» 1 bunch pak choy »» 100ml rice wine . 2.choose locally caught. Ingredients »» 250g palm sugar »» 50ml lime juice »» 2 cloves garlic. Avoid imports . lemongrass. You can use a splash of water or a drizzle of peanut oil for cooking (to avoid splattering.
including one shark that blew up a Royal Navy boat! Sharks off Cornwall and Devon is an informative look at the life and history of the Chondrichthyes family in this part of the world. familiar flavour. though short. What she discovers is a captive animal industry whose ethics have been corrupted by greed. make no mistake. ecotourists and residents of the southwest coast of England. Although Rekindling the Waters is an engrossing read. Peirce recounts many interesting shark encounters around the coast of Cornwall and Devon. In fact out of over 400 shark species known to man. we are complicit. Mako. . Claiming a mandate for public education and scientific discovery. the subject matter is difficult to absorb. The author mixes factual information with historical anecdotes to give the book a homely. which preys on our need to feel a connection to the natural world. the author describes through her 20 years’ experience how the captive animal industry undermines public knowledge and stifles scientific discovery behind a facade of ’smiling‘ animal antics and dolphin rides. Lemieux’s recounting of her experiences is uncompromising and leaves the reader with the irrepressible realisation that our infamous love affair with dolphins is largely one-sided. Peirce’s passion and sympathy for the plight of these threatened animals is evident in his writing and. Dismantling the Flipper myth she recounts gut-wrenching scenes of cruelty at all levels of the animal slave trade. As if by our silence.FUN PAGES FILM REVIEWS 49 WRITTEN BY: LEAH LEMIEUX REKINDLING THE WATERS: THE TRUTH ABOUT SWIMMING WITH DOLPHINS (2009) Rekindling the Waters is an engrossing read. WRITTEN BY: RICHARD PEIRCE SHARKS OFF CORNWALL AND DEVON (2009) It may surprise many people to find out that some big-name sharks call the coastline of Britain home. Sharks off Cornwall and Devon is sure to interest shark enthusiasts. The book chronicles the author’s lifelong voyage of discovery as she pursues her love of dolphins. An industry. blue. Peirce even discusses evidence of transient great white sharks in the area. as Lemieux puts it. thresher and even hammerhead sharks reside in these waters. 30 reside in British seas with over half found in Devon and Cornwall.
your bio and description of your artwork will appear in the magazine and on the 72&Rising website. You will also receive a free one-year subscription to 72&Rising. Third party images will not be considered. All contributions. You will also receive a free one-year subscription to 72&Rising. Contributions cannot be returned so please make sure that you retain a copy. We are looking for articles with images that cover any aquatic related topic. email entires to: info@hawntmedia. COVER ART Think you can do a better job at design than our graphic artists? Give it a go! Each issue we will run a competition to find some of the best artists around the world. 2. from conservation issues and wildlife articles to interviews with scientists about their work and cultural stories.com with ‘Competition’ in the subject line Your submission of work in these competitions grants 72&Rising the right to publish them at any time in the magazine.COMPETITIONS 72&RISING JOURNALISM Are you studying journalism or are you a journalist who is passionate about the environment? Each issue we will be running a competition to uncover talented photojournalists. The best article for each edition will be published in 72&Rising along with full credit to the author. Ideally your articles should be between 500-1500 words and have images to accompany the text. It’s great exposure for yourself and your work. Send us your drawings. THE RULES . 1. We are looking for original works that convey an aquatic conservation theme and display the number 72 somewhere in the image. images and artwork must be the contributor’s own work. Winners will have their artwork displayed on the cover of 72&Rising. paintings. though exceptional articles without photos will also be considered. and images (we welcome the use of Photoshop or other creative tools) in an approximately A3 format at 300DPI along with a short (up to 250 word) bio about yourself and your artwork. marketing or on the website with proper accreditation. including all text.
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