Category: Diving News

The Unseen World of Sponges

Most of us have done it. We glide along the reef, eyes wide watching the tangs dart around rocks, hoping to catch a glimpse of a turtle or shark.

Vase Sponge
Vase Sponge

Between the gorgonians you see many motionless, and rather uninteresting sponges. Some come in vibrant colors like vase sponges while others are colossal monuments to the deep, such as barrel sponges. But these filter feeding organisms are really quite remarkable!

Sponges are animals who of the Porifera phylum who are filter feeders. While they lack a nervous system like the tunicate that is similar in nature, they require a great deal of water movement around them to enable the pores of the creature to both feed and remove waste.

 

Barrel Sponge
Barrel Sponge

But just how affective are they at filtering? Check out the following clip that really demonstrates all the work common sponges do all along the reef.

I guarantee you will look at them in a new light during your next dive.

Transplanting the Florida Keys

Great Star Coral, Big Pine Key, FLIf you have dived the Florida Keys over the past decade, you may have noticed a decline in the health of the third largest coral reef in the world. It’s no surprise to marine biologists who work at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Summerland Key.

Here, scientists have been transplanting native corals from their original habitat to temporary holding tanks. While in these tanks corals are cut into smaller shapes, or fragmented which causes an amazing reaction. While not too surprising to reefkeeping enthusiasts who practice ‘fragging’ as a way to share their favorite corals with other collectors, Dr. Vaughn noticed a phenomenon where ‘micro-fragging’ produced much more amazing results. He noticed “that those one to three polyps were now five to seven polyps,” he said. “They not only had lived — they had grown and had doubled in size.” By fragging only a few polyps of the coral, instead of a dozen or more, he found the coral reproduced much more quickly.

With a huge $35,000 grant from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, let’s hope the work at the Mote Marine Lab continues.

 

Read the full story here.

President Obama Creates Worlds Largest Marine Preserve

Wake Atoll

Continuing a plan enacted by President Bush in 2009, President Obama has created the worlds largest marine preserve in the Pacific ocean. The preserve, which expands from Wake Atoll to Jarvis Island, will eliminate fishing, mining and all other commercial undersea activity in the massive 500,000 mile area. This proclomation expands the current protected areas by six times. Read more about the plan in this White House press release. Check out the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument website to learn more about the protected areas.

World Record Lionfish Caught in Bermuda

Corey Eddy, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts, shared this picture of the largest lionfish we’ve ever seen. Corey and his team are researching the impact lionfish, an invasive species, have on our Caribbean reef systems. While on a recent dive trip, Alex Chequer was able to pull this beauty from the bottom. In the picture you will notice the fish is nearly 19 inches (48cm)!

A world record lionfish caught in Bermuda.

Read the original article here.

Anemones, Jellyfish and Fire Coral: How nematocysts work.

Have you ever been stung by anemones, jelly fish or fire coral and wondered how such a painful sting can come from such a harmless looking creature? The answer is nematocysts (nemuh-tuh-sist). These are syringe-like organelles that are used to inject venom into the body of its prey. When activated, they deliver the venom into your skin at an average of 11 milliseconds!

Check out this video uploaded by Destin Christian at Smarter Every Day that explains this in great detail as well as high speed camera captures of the nematocysts at work!

Diver Dies as Florida’s Lobster Mini-Season Begins

A diver has died in Pompano Beach as the first day of lobster mini-season kicked off in South Florida Wednesday, officials said.Spiny Lobster

Joseph Grosso, 22, had been diving for lobsters when he surfaced unconscious around 8:30 a.m., Pompano Fire Rescue officials said.

 Lobster Mini-Season Safety Tips

 Officials said Grosso had been on a professional dive boat diving for lobster in 40 feet of water off shore when the incident happened.

“From what we’re being told, Joey had come up with my other son and he said he had enough air to go down and get one more,” said Phil Franchina, Grosso’s stepfather. “Went down by himself, must’ve got tangled on the dive rope and either got disoriented, but he ran out of oxygen. Ran out of air. They found him floating, sad tragedy.”

Read the rest of the story here.