The Beacon: MollyH's blog
You asked for it so here it is: a FOTD on the sandtiger shark!
Sandtiger sharks go by many names including the ragged-tooth shark and the gray nurse shark. When unprovoked, these sharks are fairly docile, despite their frightening appearance.
Female sandtiger sharks give birth to two live pups, one from each of their two uteri. Because of the relatively small litter size, sandtiger shark populations have a particularly slow growth rate and it takes them a long time to recover from population decreases.
From yesterday’s New York Times, which confirmed that the BP spill is by far the world’s largest accidental release of oil into the ocean:
“We’ve never had a spill of this magnitude in the deep ocean,” said Ian R. MacDonald, a professor of oceanography at Florida State University.
“These things reverberate through the ecosystem,” he said. “It is an ecological echo chamber, and I think we’ll be hearing the echoes of this, ecologically, for the rest of my life.”
Shark Week started last night! (And how great was ‘Ultimate Air Jaws?!”)
Oceana is a partner in Shark Week this year, and it’s my favorite week of the year, so I’m going to keep the celebration going with daily shark facts!
The scalloped hammerhead shark is just one of the many species of hammerhead shark, all of which have the characteristic t-shaped head.
Here is an explanation of BP’s “static kill” tactic being used to close the well from today’s Washington Post:
The "static kill" is part of a double whammy of mud and cement that would hit the runaway Macondo well high and low in quick succession. The static kill starts at the top, firing the mud and possibly cement into the blowout preventer that sits on the wellhead.
That effort, which would take a day or two, would be followed in another five to seven days by the start of the more laborious "bottom kill," in which mud and cement will be injected into Macondo through a relief well that engineers began drilling at the beginning of May.
Ghost crabs are named for their sandy coloring, which allows them to blend right into their surroundings. These crabs eat at night and burrow during the day in burrows up to three feet deep.
Ghost crabs can move quickly in any direction and their large eyes can see 360 degrees. Male ghost crabs participate in ritualistic displays to settle disputes and rarely physically combat.
Go to Oceana.org/Explore for more fun animal info and check back tomorrow for a shark-filled FOTD!
From today's Washington Post:
"That stuff's somewhere," said James H. Cowan Jr., a professor at Louisiana State University. His research has shown concentrations of oil still floating miles from the wellhead. "It's going to be with us for a while. I'm worried about some habitats being exposed chronically to low concentrations of toxins. . . . If the water's contaminated, the animals are going to be contaminated."
The subject of today’s FOTD is the Christmas tree worm, or spirobranchus giganteus for those of you who prefer the scientific name.
Christmas tree worms are embedded in the surface of corals by the calcareous, shell-like tubes in which they live. They have two beautiful, feathery spirals (which look like little Christmas trees) that extend into the water column and are used for filter-feeding and breathing. At the slightest disturbance, the Christmas tree worm retracts into its tube in the coral for safety.
My favorite thing about these worms is their variety of vibrant colors and patterns- check it out!
See you tomorrow for another random FOTD! And if you’re like me and you just can’t wait for more, go to Oceana.org/Explore.
From today’s Washington Post:
"The sheer volume of oil that's out there has to mean there are some pretty significant impacts," [NOAA director Jane Lubchenco] said. "What we have yet to determine is the full impact the oil will have not just on the shoreline, not just on wildlife, but beneath the surface."
Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, the smallest species of sea turtle, participate in one of the most intriguing nesting rituals, called arribadas, meaning “arrivals” in Spanish. During an arribada, huge numbers of female Kemp’s ridleys waddle up beaches simultaneously to lay their eggs.
These already threatened sea turtles are facing further obstacles from the Gulf oil spill. If you haven’t already done so, please sign the petition to stop offshore drilling to help protect these turtles and other crucial wildlife in the future.
From CNN today:
"It's obvious what's going on at the surface. The big issue is what's trapped in the marsh," [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s chief fisheries scientist Steve] Murawski said.
- Photos: Oceana’s Dusky the Shark Visits Washington, D.C. to Raise Awareness for Dusky Sharks Posted Mon, November 17, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Catch Quotas Raised, Kemp’s Ridley Turtles Stranding in High Numbers, and More Posted Wed, November 19, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Seals Can Pick up Pings from Acoustic Tags on Fish, Climate Change Making Crabs “Sluggish,” and More Posted Fri, November 21, 2014
- Oceana’s New Report Highlights Uses, Benefits of Global Fishing Watch Technology Posted Mon, November 17, 2014
- Video: Humpback Whales Cause Quite the Surprise As They Hunt for Herring Posted Wed, November 19, 2014