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Jamaicans battling invasive lionfish numbers with knife and fork

Jamaicans battling invasive lionfish numbers with knife and fork | Environmental Science | Scoop.it

ABC News reports that Jamaica's National Environment and Planning Agency is reporting a 66 percent drop in sightings of lionfish in coastal waters with depths of 75 feet (23 meters) four years after a national campaign to slash numbers of the candy striped predator.

 

The invasive predator has been wreaking havoc on reefs and decimating native juvenile fish and crustaceans. Dayne Buddo, a Jamaican marine ecologist who focuses on marine invaders at the Caribbean island's University of the West Indies, attributes much of the local decrease in sightings to a growing appetite for their fillets. He told ABC News that Jamaican fishermen have jumped on the lionfish trade, selling their fillets at local markets.  He said the practice was in stark contrast to a few years ago, when island fishermen "didn't want to mess" with the exotic fish because of their barbs, which can deliver a painful sting. 

 

"After learning how to handle them, the fishermen have definitely been going after them harder, especially spear fishermen. I believe persons here have caught on to the whole idea of consuming them," Buddo told ABC News. Lionfish are a tropical native of the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is likely the fish were introduced into the alien waters of the Carribean and Atlantic through the pet trade.   

 

Governments, conservation groups and dive shops across the affected areas have been sponsoring fishing tournaments and other efforts to go after the notoriously slow-swimming lionfish in an effort to protect already endangered habitats. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched a campaign in 2010 urging the U.S. public to "eat sustainable, eat lionfish!"

 

While encouraging, population control of the fish around coastal shallow water areas does not mean the fast-breeding species will be eradicated from the Carribean and Atlantic. Large, football-sized lionfish are caught daily in fishing pots set in deeper water - where spear fisherman and recreational divers do not usually swim, according to ABC News. 

 

Despite the end of a four-and-a-half-year national lionfish project financed by the Global Environment Program, targeted efforts to remove the lionfish from Jamaican waters are ongoing. "I don't think we'll ever get rid of it, but I think for the most part we can control it, especially in marine protected areas where people are going after it very intensively and consistently," Buddo said.

 

While fishing and marketing of lionfish for consumption could well be a temporary measure, it is currently the best solution for the problem. 

Scientists are continuing to research how lionfish numbers are kept in check in their natural habitat. 

 


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The Strange and Wonderful History of Diving Suits, From 1715 to Today

The Strange and Wonderful History of Diving Suits, From 1715 to Today | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
Long before we had spacesuits, we had diving suits. The ocean was the first hostile environment that we sent people into, completely covered with protective gear.

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Ron Peters's curator insight, April 18, 2014 9:28 AM

A bit of Diving history....   Enjoy

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Guangdong man denies his 'sausage lips' come from turtle's kiss - WantChinaTimes

Guangdong man denies his 'sausage lips' come from turtle's kiss - WantChinaTimes | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
WantChinaTimes Guangdong man denies his 'sausage lips' come from turtle's kiss WantChinaTimes Yang Shifeng, from south China's Guangdong province, became a minor online celebrity after photos went viral of him with an alligator snapping turtle, the...
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Spinning With the Fishes: Underwater Turbines Tap Moon’s Gravity to Generate Power

Spinning With the Fishes: Underwater Turbines Tap Moon’s Gravity to Generate Power | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
“ With subsea tidal turbines, Scotland could be "a Saudi Arabia of renewable energy potential": http://t.co/LDTt3okjxJ http://t.co/QZHXuWH8jw”
Via Maxwell Tech, Ron Peters
Stephen Summers's insight:
I wonder if Donald Trump would object to this near his golf course?
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Narwhal’s tusk is super sensitive, according to new research

Narwhal’s tusk is super sensitive, according to new research | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
The whales are known for their tusks which can reach 2.6m (9ft) in length, earning them comparisons with mythological unicorns. The tusk is an exaggerated front tooth and scientists have discovered that it helps the animals sense changes in their environment. Experts suggest males could use the tusks to seek out mates or food. The results are published in the journal The Anatomical Record. Dr Martin Nweeia from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, US, undertook the study alongside an international team of colleagues. Through the years, many theories have tried to explain the function of the narwhal's impressive tusk. "People have said it's everything from an ice pick to an acoustic probe, but this is the first time that someone has discovered sensory function and has the science to show it," said Dr Nweeia. More recently, experts have agreed that the tusk is a sexual characteristic because it is more often exhibited by males and they appear to use them during fights to assert their social hierarchy. But because the animals are rarely seen, the exact function of the tusk has remained a mystery. Previous studies have revealed that the animals have no enamel on their tusk - the external layer of the tooth that provides a barrier in most mammal teeth. Dr Nweeia and the team's analysis revealed that the outer cementum layer of the tusk is porous and the inner dentin layer has microscopic tubes that channel in towards the centre. In the middle of the tusk lies the pulp, where nerve endings which connect to the narwhal's brain are found. "Although it's a rigid tooth, it has a very permeable membrane," said Dr Nweeia. He explained that because of this structure, the tusk is sensitive to temperature and chemical differences in the external environment. The researchers proved the link when the tusk was exposed to different salt levels in the water and there was a corresponding change in the narwhal's heart rate. He described the tusk as "unique" in the animal kingdom because its porous outer layer is usually only found below the gum line in mammals, where it is only exposed by damage or disease. "The narwhal is the only example documented where teeth are shown to have the ability to constantly sense environmental stimuli that would not necessarily be considered a threat," he said. "If you were looking for an ideal and fascinating tooth to study there's no question this would be it."
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New digital marine wildlife guide for iPad and iPhone available - Sail World

New digital marine wildlife guide for iPad and iPhone available - Sail World | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
“ New digital marine wildlife guide for iPad and iPhone available Sail World 'Today is UN World Wildlife Day, a moment in the year to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora, including cetaceans and other marine animals,...”
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Revolutionary naming system for all life on earth proposed: Based on the genetic sequence of organisms

Revolutionary naming system for all life on earth proposed: Based on the genetic sequence of organisms | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
A new naming structure proposed by an American researcher moves beyond the Linnaeus system to one based on the genetic sequence of each individual organism. This creates a more robust, precise, and informative name for any organism, be it a bacterium, fungus, plant, or animal. Coded names could be permanent, as opposed to the shifting of names typical in the current biological classification system. Codes could also be assigned without the current lengthy process that is required by analyzing one organism's physical traits compared to another's. Lastly, the sequence could be assigned to viruses, bacteria, fungi, plants, and animals and would provide a standardized naming system for all life on Earth.
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An interesting perspective, but do I need to start brushing up on my Latin for a host of new names now?

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Did Discovery Channel fake the image in its giant shark documentary?

Did Discovery Channel fake the image in its giant shark documentary? | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
George Monbiot: Image showing Megalodon swimming past U-boats off Cape Town was doctored. Come clean, or prove me wrong
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Wildlife and Habitat Conservation News: Manta Rays get needed protection in Indonesia

Wildlife and Habitat Conservation News: Manta Rays get needed protection in Indonesia | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
Wildlife and Habitat Conservation News
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EU takes UK to court over dirty air

EU takes UK to court over dirty air | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
The European Commission is launching legal proceedings against the UK for failing to deal with continuing air pollution.
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'It's Some Kind Of Omen': Japanese Fisherman Concerned By Giant Squid Influx

'It's Some Kind Of Omen': Japanese Fisherman Concerned By Giant Squid Influx | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
Arms, tentacles and entire giant-sized squid are mysteriously appearing along the coast of Japan, raising concerns among fishermen that it might represent some kind of “omen.” Fears over the increase in the number of giant squid were sparked after three of the massive creatures were caught in January alone.
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Sea star population plummets at Shell Beach from mysterious wasting disease - The San Luis Obispo Tribune

Sea star population plummets at Shell Beach from mysterious wasting disease - The San Luis Obispo Tribune | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
The San Luis Obispo Tribune Sea star population plummets at Shell Beach from mysterious wasting disease The San Luis Obispo Tribune Bacteria, viruses and protozoa are all possible causes, said Pete Raimondi, chairman of the Department of Ecology...

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Ron Peters's curator insight, April 14, 2014 9:43 AM

Our Ocean is Ailing.... 

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Hagfish slime mystery unravelled by Canadian scientists

Hagfish slime mystery unravelled by Canadian scientists | Environmental Science | Scoop.it

esearchers at the University of Guelph have figured out what makes the slime secreted by the hagfish so strong, hoping it can lead to the commercial development of stronger fibres.  Prof. Douglas Fudge and his team used electron microscopes and 3D imaging to examine the cell structure of the gelatinous substance produced by the prehistoric bottom-dwelling fish.

 

They found that 15-centimetre-long protein threads are coiled in a pattern resembling skeins of yarn, which grow and fill the cells.

The threads are an "incredibly strong" super fibre, lead researcher Prof. Douglas Fudge said. And when stretched, the protein molecules "snap into different arrangements, becoming stronger and tougher."

 

They have proved stronger than any synthetic versions attempted so far.

The researchers hope clues as to how they're made could help scientists develop better ones, which could one day have commercial uses.


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Shark Riders Pose Threat to Conservation Gains Made with Diving Ecotourism [Slide Show]

Shark Riders Pose Threat to Conservation Gains Made with Diving Ecotourism [Slide Show] | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
“Excessive handling of sharks, including riding, worries scientists and scuba-diving businesses”
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Snow crabs have found niche in Barents Sea ecosystem

Snow crabs have found niche in Barents Sea ecosystem | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea. Norwegian and Russian scientists have been monitoring the population of snow crab in the Barents Sea since 2004. They have found that the snow crab is no competitor to the king crab. “It seems like the snow crab has occupied a niche in the ecosystem where there probably used to be several different species, “says Jan Henry Sundet, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Marine Research. During the latest resource mission to the Barents Sea in 2013-2014, the scientists found large amounts of young crabs, which implies that the recruitment to the population is very good. The first crabs in the Barents Sea were found on the Goose Bank west of Novaya Zemlya in 1996. The scientists are not sure where the crabs come from – they can have migrated here naturally, or they can have been brought here in ballast water. The original native areas for the snow crab are the Bering Strait and the coasts of eastern Canada and western Greenland. Russian scientists have found crabs in the Chukchi Sea, Eastern Siberian Sea, Laptev Sea and Kara Sea. Scientists have compared DNA from the snow crab in the Barents Sea with snow crabs from Canada and Greenland and concluded that they do not come from that area. There has not yet been made any comparison between crabs from the Barents Sea and the Bering Strait, but the scientist says it’s “probable, but not certain,” that they come from there. “The snow crab shows a classical development of an alien, invasive species”, Sundet says. “After the first specimens have been found, you have a long period where very little is happening and then you get an explosion in the population”. In the Barents Sea the explosion in the population came in 2012.
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Fishy molecule 'sets depth limit'

Fishy molecule 'sets depth limit' | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
Scientists say it is unlikely that any fish can survive in the oceans deeper than about 8,200 metres. No fish has ever been seen living beyond this limit, but the researchers point to good physiological reasons why it should not be possible, also. It rests on the particular molecular mechanism they use in their tissues to withstand crushing pressures. To go deeper would require fish to evolve some other mechanism, the team tells the journal PNAS. The all-important molecule is a so-called osmolyte called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). It is what gives fish their “fishy smell”. TMAO acts to stabilize the proteins fish use to build and maintain their cells. Without its presence, the proteins would be distorted by the high pressures found at depth and stop functioning. The team had observed that fish species appeared to have increasing amounts of TMAO the deeper they went, and sought to test this relationship on hadal snailfish recovered from the bottom of the Kermedec Trench north of New Zealand. This pinkish animal operates more than 7,000m down, preying upon small crustaceans that eat organic matter that rains from above. One other type of fish has purportedly been trawled from deeper, but nothing has actually been observed swimming so far down. "This is by far the deepest fish we've caught and analysed, and they have the highest levels of this TMAO molecule," lead author Prof Paul Yancey from Whitman College, Washington State, US, told BBC News. What is more, the concentration is almost exactly on the line if one extrapolates from shallower species. But extending that line forwards moves TMAO concentrations to a point where they would inhibit cell function, at about 8,000-8,500m’s depth. “We know that if TMAO is too high, it makes proteins so stable they can’t work,” explained Prof Yancey. “The myosin protein in muscle, for example, needs to flex for muscles to move, and too much TMAO would stop this happening.” The other possibility is that at these very high levels, the tissues would try osmotically to draw water into the fish, something that fully marine fish are not able to handle.
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Progress for carbon capture & storage plan in UK

Progress for carbon capture & storage plan in UK | Environmental Science | Scoop.it

capture storage The UK has announced funding for a world first carbon capture and storage plant at a gas power station, offsetting oil and gas extraction.

 

On Monday, the UK government said it will fund a multi-million pound project to design a carbon capture and storage plant at the Peterhead power station in Scotland. The CO2 given off when oil and gas is burned will be captured and transported to Shell's disused Goldeneye gas field, where it will be pumped back underground.

 

The world has three options for the fossil fuels that have yet to be dug up, and the carbon emissions they will generate, says Allen. We can burn the fuels and dump the emissions into the atmosphere, leading to far more than 2 °C of global warming; we can impose a carbon tax so huge as to render exploitation uneconomical; or we can use CCS. "I'm rooting for option three," says Allen, "because frankly options one and two sound horrendous."

 

"Anything the UK can do to promote CCS is far more important than anything the UK does with its own oil and gas reserves," he says, "so more power to the pumps."


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Poison feared as seven Sumatran elephants found dead

Poison feared as seven Sumatran elephants found dead | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
Dozens of the critically-endangered animals have been killed on Indonesian island in recent years
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Wildlife and Habitat Conservation News: The Race is On: Which State Will Be the First to Ban Microplastics in Cosmetics?

Wildlife and Habitat Conservation News: The Race is On: Which State Will Be the First to Ban Microplastics in Cosmetics? | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
Wildlife and Habitat Conservation News
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Isn't It Time We Got Serious About Wildlife Crime?

Isn't It Time We Got Serious About Wildlife Crime? | Environmental Science | Scoop.it
When the UK is hosting a two day international summit on the illegal wildlife trade, involving two future kings of our country and world leaders from fifty nations, all invited by the prime minister, why does the Met police have a team of only five people to fight an illegal trade estimated to be worth $19billion a year? Isn't it time we got serious about this crime?
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