The Beacon: Brianna Elliott's blog

Happy Halloween! Meet the Ocean Animals in Costume All Year (Photos)

Ocean animals are in costume all year

Pygmy seahorses, which can change their skin color to blend in with their surroundings. (Photo: Tom Gruber / Flickr Creative Commons)

Happy Halloween, ocean lovers! Today, many people are delighting in the one day of the year where they can dress up to be any figure that these please. But in the vast ocean, many species are in costume all year—dazzling bright photophores to trick prey, or changing their skin tone to blend in with their environments. The deep-sea anglerfish, for example, flashes it lure covered in light-producing cells to attract and trick prey in the cold, dark waters, while species like the firefly squid emits bioluminescent ink to also confuse predators.


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Ocean Roundup: Nations Fail to Reach Agreement on Antarctic Marine Reserve, Norway Planning Large Whale Meat Shipment, and More

Killer whales swimming in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Nations failed to reach an agreement to protect the Ross Sea in the world’s largest marine reserve. (Photo by Donald LeRo / NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center National Science Foundation / Wikimedia Commons)

- For the fourth time, countries deciding upon the proposed largest marine reserve in the world around Antarctica failed to reach an agreement. The area would span 517,000 square miles, but all involved countries must first agree on a plan for the area to be recognized. The Associated Press


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Ocean Roundup: Seagrass Travels via Ocean Currents, Plump Leatherbacks Can Swim More Easily, and More

Seagrass is found to travel via ocean currents and ocean animals

Seagrass meadows off Spain. (Photo: Oceana / Sergio Gosálvez)

- New research shows that seagrass has an incredible ability to spread over vast distances of the ocean, which gives them an ability to migrate with climate change and be able to recover from habitat disturbance. The scientists found that seagrass fruit and flowers spread by hitching rides on ocean animals, in animal feces, and in ocean currents. Phys.org


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Graphics: New Oceana Study Finds Shrimp Misrepresented in the U.S.

A new Oceana study found shrimp to be misrepresented

(Photo: Oceana)

Today, Oceana released a new study that found shrimp, America’s favorite seafood, to be misrepresented in the United States. In the only known study of its kind in the U.S., DNA testing confirmed that 30 percent of 143 tested shrimp products—found in 111 restaurants and grocery stores—were misrepresented.


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Karmenu Vella Becomes New European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Karmenu Vella becomes new leader of the European Commissioner

Karmenu Vella being interviewed by European Parliament Committees. (Photo: European Parliament / Flickr Creative Commons)

Last week, the European Parliament voted to confirm Karmenu Vella as the new Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission, which will be headed by President Jean-Claude Juncker.


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Meet the Eerie Stargazer, Wolf-Fish, and Polka Dot Batfish: The Halloween Creature Feature Edition

The wolf-fish is one of the creepiest looking ocean animals

Wolf-fish. (Photo: Gaellery / Flickr Creative Commons)

If you’re an ocean lover, you’re probably familiar with some of the ocean’s creepiest monsters of the deep—like anglerfish, with their glowing lures to trick their prey, to the blob sculpin, a ghostly-looking creature that’s sure to give anyone a fright. Many of the scariest-looking ocean animals are found in the deep sea, equipped with these strange features to deal with the cold, dark characteristics of the abyss.


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Ocean Roundup: Shell Seeks to Extend Arctic Drilling Period, Great Barrier Reef Protection Plan “Inadequate,” and More

Shell wishes to extend their Arctic drilling lease

Royal Dutch Shell’s Kulluk drilling rig grounded in 2012 in the Arctic. Shell wants to extend their lease to for exploratory drilling in the Arctic. (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos / Flickr Creative Commons)

- Australian scientists are criticizing the government’s Reef 2050 long-term sustainability plan, citing that it’s “inadequate to achieve the goal of restoring or even maintaining the diminished outstanding universal value of the reef.” The Australian Academy of Science says the proposal doesn’t address greenhouse gas emissions, even though government assessments found climate change to be the biggest threat to the reef. The Guardian


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Celebrate National Seafood Month with This Sustainable Recipe: Diver Scallops

October is National Seafood Month

A scallop dish. (Photo: ulterior epicure / Flickr Creative Commons)

October is National Seafood Month, a time to raise awareness for sustainable fisheries and celebrate the benefits of seafood in one’s diet.


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Ocean Roundup: Penguin Chick Survivorship Influenced by Weather, Norway Cuts Seal Hunting Subsidies, and More

Weather patterns influence penguin chick survivorship

Adélie penguin chick (L) and parent (R) in Antarctica. (Photo: Liam Quinn / Flickr Creative Commons)

- New research shows that weather and climate patterns play a big role in influencing the weight of Adélie penguin chicks, native to the West Antarctic Peninsula. Penguin chicks that were exposed to elements like high wind and cooler air temperatures weighed less at the time of fledging, which increases chances of survivorship. EurekAlert


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Photos: These Sea Creatures Celebrate Halloween All Year with Their Spooky Names

An Atlantic ghost crab (Ocypode quadrata). (Photo: dogtooth77 / Flickr Creative Commons)

As you probably know, the vast, deep ocean is home to rich amounts of biodiversity—much of which appears rather spooky and frightful, like anglerfish with their many sharp teeth, to the stargazer fish with eyes on top of their head. With some species, though, the fright isn’t in their looks but simply in their name—like the vampire squid or ghost shrimp. 


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