This Week in Marine Science

Written by on November 8, 2013 in Marine Life

Other stories worth reading this weekend:

Alaska Fishermen Rescue Killer Whale Stuck on Rocks
Here’s one of the most uplifting stories of the week: three Alaska fishermen spent nearly four hours working to free a killer whale that had been stranded on rocks. They succeeded. The whole time, other members of the orca’s pod were nearby, watching. One of the fishermen said the orca seemed to know they were trying to help.

The more common scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini.

The more common scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini. Photo credit: flickkerphotos via photopin cc.

The Carolina hammerhead, a new species of shark, debuts
University of South Carolina ichthyologist Joe Quattro led a team of researchers that discovered a new species of shark. The Carolina hammerhead (Sphyrna gilberti) is visually indistinguishable from the scalloped hammerhead but has ten fewer vertebrae than other scalloped hammerheads (Sphyrna lewini).

Conservation group finds 70 dead sea turtles off Costa Rica’s Pacific coast
Members of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network (Widecast) discovered at least 70 dead green sea turtles near the Murciélago archipelago last weekend. Several of the turtles were attached to longline hooks, strings and rope. This discovery comes after 280 dead sea turtles were discovered in the southern Pacific area of Costa Rica in January. Those turtles had respiratory damage that was consistent with drowning as a result of becoming entangled in fishing gear. Widecast is calling on the government to regulate longline fishing in order to reduce sea turtle bycatch.

Green groups concerned over Ghana whale deaths mystery
Over the last four years, 20 dead whales have been discovered along the coast of Ghana. Many environmental groups are concerned that that the deaths are connected to oil production. The latest what washed ashore in Western Region where Ghana gets most of its oil. Ghana’s Environmental Protection Agency says the situation is “of much concern,” but incidences like this are not limited to Ghana.

Hydroacoustics Provides a Large-Scale, Low-Impact Tool to Monitor Fish and Habitat in Maine’s Penobscot Estuary
The Penobscot River estuary in Maine is a complex system that where monitoring fish populations can be complicated. Researchers have found that the easiest and most effective method of monitoring is with sound. Hydroacoustic techniques are a cheap, non-invasive way to monitor the whole estuary. Acoustic monitoring is providing researchers with a baseline for some of the restoration efforts focused on habitat restoration and dam removal.

Listening to Sperm Whale Sonar
Ever wonder what whale and dolphin sonar actually sounds like? In this post, Carl Safina describes the sounds and you can listen to a recording!

Rendering of the ancient Mosasaur.

Rendering of the ancient Mosasaur. Photo credit: Craig T Dylke via photopin cc.

Mosasaur Cannibalism? Fossilized ‘Sea Monster’ Found In Angola With Three Others In Its Belly
The mosasaur is a marine reptile from the Cretaceous period that topped the food chain. A fossilized mosasaur found in Angola reveals that it was also a cannibal. Inside its stomach, researchers found partial remains of three other mosasaurs. This discovery is helping researchers learn more about the ancient oceans and how they compare to our oceans today.

Photographers capture rare footage of killer whales in Hawaiian waters
Photographers Deron Verbeck and Julie Steelman captured the first-ever footage of killer whales swimming underwater in Hawaii. Fishermen have been seeing orcas in Hawaii for years, but until now, no one has photographed or videotaped them underwater. Experts believe these animals don’t live in Hawaii but were part of an open-ocean population just passing through.
Another rare sighting happened off British Columbia. A critically endangered North Pacific right whale was spotted off the coast for the second time since June. Before that, the last sighting in the area was way back in 1951. Check it out: ‘Astonishing’ North Pacific right whale sighting is only the second in 62 years off British Columbia.

ScienceShot: Sea Turtles Smell Nearby Shores
The Earth’s magnetic field plays a role in a sea turtle’s ability to navigate, but its nose is also an important tool. A study found that when the scent of mud was in the air, the turtles spent more time swimming with their head above the water, compared to when distilled water was used as the only other scent. Researchers suggest that the turtle’s ability to smell lad could help them find the shore.

Sea lion bites trainer at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Last week, a trainer at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was bitten at least once by a sea lion. The sea lion is a 10-year-old male who has been at the park for four years. This is the first time a sea lion has bitten a trainer in the park’s seven years. The trainer was treated at a local hospital and released the same day. Sea lions have big teeth and powerful jaws so experts say it could have been a lot worse.

Sea Shepherd activist Paul Watson faces US court after year on the run
Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is now in court after five years on the run. He took the witness stand in a Seattle courtroom this week, saying that the Sea Shepherds are not pirates. “Protesting illegal activity is not piracy,” he said. The case is part of a long-running fight between protesters and Japan’s whaling fleet.

Paul Watson aboard the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin.

Paul Watson aboard the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin. Photo credit: Simon K Ager via photopin cc.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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