Category Archives: marine
While out on a seagrass monitoring boat trip with Parks Victoria on the Pelican1 recently, I caught up with acting Marine Science Program Manager Mark Rodrigue.
Mark talked about the new campaign Check Clean Dry that’s aimed at stopping the spread of marine pests such as North Pacific Seastars (Asterias amurensis), wakame (Undaria pinnatifida), Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and some tidal and benthic habitat critters.
The seastars are the most concerning of all, popping up in previously undocumented areas in large numbers around Port Phillip Bay and Westernport near Melbourne, and across into South and East Gippsland at Wilsons Prom and Gippsland Lakes. Here’s a few I removed on a recent dive near my home at Frankston, a spot called Olivers Hill where I’ve previously never seen these seastars in any significant numbers. Recent sea surface temperature warming, a decline in their predators (the eleven armed seastar) or other factors may be at work here.
Mark spoke to Ross and John on local radio station 3AW this morning after some recent sightings of seastars near the mouth of the Maribyrnong River:
22nd edition of Marine Life monthly post. Marine Life post published every 19th of the month. It aims to share information on marine life species and to promote their conservation. The Nurse sharks are a common sight when scuba diving in Ambergris Caye (Belize). They usually swim in a group and a chance to meet two […]
Some great UWA research is being reported as showing sharks have better comprehension of their surroundings and are “smarter than we think” – though I presume that means smarter than most clueless people would have thought.
Yes, it’s obvious that scientists are still learning how sharks think, what their motivations are to make long distance swims and even (for any species) their relatively little-known mating and breeding habits. But whenever I see interesting articles in the general media, it still bugs me to read reader comments about how bloodthirsty and stupid sharks are, from people who clearly know nothing about them firsthand.
Anyway, here’s some grabs from the article and I’m sure Dr Yopak is tired of having to always dispel these misconceptions:
University of Western Australia researcher Kara Yopak presented her research into the use of brain anatomy to understand cognitive ability in sharks.
Dr Yopak said it was a common misconception that “sharks are these small-brained pre-programmed eating machines”.
“They are actually relatively large-brained species and they are capable of such an incredible range of complex behaviours,” she said.
Part of her research involved comparing the brains of sharks to mammals, including humans.
“There is a number of similarities that I would say have originated at least as early as sharks and then have been carried through vertebrate evolution to our own brains,” she said.
Dr Yopak said the brains of sharks varied across different species, casting doubt over the effectiveness of one-size-fits-all shark deterrents.
“When we are investigating repellents we probably need to take a species-specific approach,” she said.
I worked some of the longest days of my career at World Parks Congress and dealt with a variety of event teething issues never experienced before. On the upside, I met some amazing people (including the wonderful Sylvia Earle, who I interviewed for our webtv channel) and worked with a great team from the French Marine Protected Areas Agency. Please make sure you check out our videos at http://oceanplus.tv/en/
While working in Sydney on the #WorldParksCongress, I’ve been helping the French Marine Protected Areas Agency with their Oceanplus webtv channel. Day 4 video updtae is now online for the #WPCMarine stream, focusing on useful & efficient MPAs and featuring UQ Global Change Institute Director Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, @envirogov’s National Parks Director Sally Barnes & more guests.
All videos produced so far can be viewed at: http://www.oceanplus.tv/en/