While Deep Sea News is still preparing our new home, spackling the cracks, painting the walls, sanitizing the fridge, throwing out the empties form the last tenant’s going away party, unpacking the boxes and otherwise getting settled in, other people are keeping on top of things in our ocean world!
Mike Haubrich follows an awesome expedition to the Cayman Trench.
The North and South American continents joined up just three million years ago, but before then there was a chain of deep sea channels from the Pacific through to the Atlantic. Sandwiched between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands is a trench approximately 5000 meters deep (or a little more than three miles,) which has yet to be explored. But that will soon change thanks to the National Oceanographic Centre, Southampton.
The BBC reports on a NEW SPECIES OF GIANT CLAM!!
“T. costata has “very peculiar characteristics” that set it apart from two other species of giant clam that are also found in the area.
The Latin word costatus means “ribbed” and T. costata has a disitinctive, zig-zag outline to its shell.
“The new species are mid-sized clams – up to 40cm long and a couple of kilograms heavy,” explained co-author Dr Claudio Richter, from the Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany.
The new species has a distant relative, T. gigas, which can grow up to 1.4m long.
Live specimens of T. costata appear to be restricted to very shallow waters. Other species were also found in deeper reef zones.
The clam has an earlier and shorter breeding season that coincides with the seasonal plankton bloom. Genetic analysis confirmed the status of the new species.”
Oops, its also almost gone (at least we found it first, think of how many species are gone before they can be discovered by biologists).
“Fossils suggest that, about 125,000 years ago, the species Tridacna costata accounted for more than 80% of the area’s giant clams.
The species may now be critically endangered, researchers report in Current Biology journal.
The scientists believe their findings may represent one of the earliest examples of the over-exploitation of marine organisms by humans.”
The New Scientist warns that sea levels could rise past the IPCC estimates. Doesn’t Earth know better to heed an international governing body? How dare it act unilaterally and rise more than we’ve calculated!