Observations of a Nerd

Carnival of the Blue #36

Ahoy mates, and welcome aboard the 36th edition of the Carnival of the Blue!
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The Oceans as a whole:
As many of you might know, CITES had its once-every-three-years meeting during which it decides which organisms are to be regulated and how. As Rick MacPherson explains, the overall message was simple: FU, Ocean. He takes a closer look at the CITES listing process and digs a little deeper into the “secret ballots.”

Maybe CITES will take note if the world made it clear that oceans matter. There’s no better time than now to take Oceana’s Ocean Pledge. If you do, $1 will be donated to Oceana to support their conservation work. Furthermore, the voting is open for their Ocean Heroes – so cast your vote!

On the plus side, Hawaii has taken the ocean’s side and has recently banned shark finning. Included in that post is the entire text of the legislation that passed, in case you want all the details. Kudos, Hawaii, for stepping up!

While we’re still talking about large-scale impacts, I want to take a moment to direct attention to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s scary to think how much damage is being done to the ecosystems down there.

Moving on to less depressing topics, GrrlScientist explains how the newest techonology can help us get the most out of marine fossils. Neat!

And of course, there are the organisms, from Big to Small:

Of course, nothing is bigger than the biggest mammals on Earth: the whales. We often think about how important they are to the ecosystem in terms of what they eat, but of course, what goes in must come out. Who would have thought whale poop would be so important? Thanks, Jason, for enlightening us.

One of the most fascinating biological phenomenons is that of parthenogenesis, where a female creates exact clones of herself in lieu of normal sexual reproduction. There have been a handful of cases of parthenogenesis in sharks, but now we can add bamboo sharks to the short list of species that can reproduce in this manner!

On a lower note, a new study recently came out which estimated the numbers of sea turtles caught globally. As Oceana’s blog The Beacon explains, the numbers aren’t pretty.

After that sobering news, here’s a little pick me up to brighten your spirits: unbelievably adorable harbor seal pups. You’re welcome.

Meanwhile, manta rays are confusing everything. How many species are there, anyway? And who cares? Alistair, does, and for good reason, as he explains in his post What’s a Manta do?

And speaking of confused, what happens when you move things around in an Octopus’ tank? They get very confused. Just ask Jason, as he explains how Octopi use visual cues to navigate in his post Who Moved My Garden? Spatial Learning in the Octopus.

It seems like the SeaWorld incident has stirred up doubts about the ethics of keeping wildlife in zoos and aquariums. It’s not just big species that we have to consider – even some fish might not be good to keep in captivity. Two species that’s been questioned are the Sea Dragons, the frilly and stunning relatives of sea horses. Waternotes gives its perspective on this interesting debate in Dragons Are Too Cute for Tanks? Absolutely Not.

Mantis shrimp are fascinating creatures. Of course, they are neither shrimp nor mantids – but they look like a strange cross between both. Did you know, though, that they glow in the dark? Michael over at Arthoropoda explains this amazing phenomenon. Michael also tells us about amazing behavior of lobsters, who form these long trains. Who knew?

Wanderin’ Weeta recently discovered a bunch of worms in her hermit tank. Warning – the video is not for those who are creeped out by creepy-crawlies…

Ok, that’s it for this edition of the Carnival of the Blue! Next month you can find this salty carnival at Blogfish. Got a wet post you want included? Use the handy BlogCarnival submission form! It’s so easy, a echinoderm can do it. But if you really want, you can also submit posts directly to dotoftheblue@gmail.com .

Comments

  1. #1 Susannah
    May 4, 2010

    Great post, Christie. Scary days for the oceans, these days, but there’s much to delight in, too.

    BTW, was the worm video too creepy for our ocean lovers? I tend to have an undeveloped sense of “Ewwww!”