Porpita porpita—the blue button jelly —is a neustonic species mostly found in the tropics; that is, it floats right neat the surface of the water. The circular disc is made of chitin and filled with gas, allowing these jellies to float. The tentacles (zooids) radiating from the disc do all the feeding. MIT/WHOI graduate student Kelly Rakow collected this one while diving in the waters near the Liquid Jungle Lab in Panama. (Photo by Kelly Rakow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
In case it wasn’t obvious, I have a serious love for WHOI.

Porpita porpita—the blue button jelly —is a neustonic species mostly found in the tropics; that is, it floats right neat the surface of the water. The circular disc is made of chitin and filled with gas, allowing these jellies to float. The tentacles (zooids) radiating from the disc do all the feeding. MIT/WHOI graduate student Kelly Rakow collected this one while diving in the waters near the Liquid Jungle Lab in Panama. (Photo by Kelly Rakow, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

In case it wasn’t obvious, I have a serious love for WHOI.

The jellyfish Atolla lives worldwide in the deep sea, where light levels are very low. The jellyfish is bioluminescent — emitting blue-green light — and so are most of its prey. Scientists think that the deep red color of the animal’s stomach serves a purpose — to keep the blue light of its luminescent lunch from escaping and giving away Atolla’slocation to its own predators.

The jellyfish Atolla lives worldwide in the deep sea, where light levels are very low. The jellyfish is bioluminescent — emitting blue-green light — and so are most of its prey. Scientists think that the deep red color of the animal’s stomach serves a purpose — to keep the blue light of its luminescent lunch from escaping and giving away Atolla’slocation to its own predators.

A starburst anemone colored green from symbiotic algae.The various shades of green come from a combination of the natural color of the anemone and from green-colored symbiotic algae that grow in their tissues. Anemones found under rocks or in the shade have little symbiotic algae so are generally very pale. The various striping on their tentacles is genetic and serves to show how each is unique (unlike the clones of aggregating anemones where each clone member is identical).

A starburst anemone colored green from symbiotic algae.The various shades of green come from a combination of the natural color of the anemone and from green-colored symbiotic algae that grow in their tissues. Anemones found under rocks or in the shade have little symbiotic algae so are generally very pale. The various striping on their tentacles is genetic and serves to show how each is unique (unlike the clones of aggregating anemones where each clone member is identical).

This image shows two whale sharks feeding with jacks in the Red Sea. Whale sharks (Rincodon typus) are rare but widely distributed throughout the world’s tropical oceans. Despite their distribution, they are poorly understood. Biologists are using pop-up satellite archival tags (PSAT) to examine movements of whale sharks in the Red Sea in hopes of gaining more of an understanding of these creatures.

This image shows two whale sharks feeding with jacks in the Red Sea. Whale sharks (Rincodon typus) are rare but widely distributed throughout the world’s tropical oceans. Despite their distribution, they are poorly understood. Biologists are using pop-up satellite archival tags (PSAT) to examine movements of whale sharks in the Red Sea in hopes of gaining more of an understanding of these creatures.

the-star-stuff

the-star-stuff:

How Bubble-Rafting Snails Evolved

Image 1: A female violet snail, Janthina exigua, hangs from a float of homemade mucus. 

Image 2: A large female snail in the Recluzia cf. jehennei species preys upon aPortuguese man-of-war while perched on a raft of mucus bubbles. A tiny snail of the same species clings to the underside of the female’s float.

Image 3: A bubble-rafting violet snail feeds on a Portuguese man-of-war in Hawaii.

Image 4: A female violet snail, Janthina janthina, is the most common species of bubble rafter. J. janthina is also the only bubble-rafting species in which females brood their young inside their bodies instead of laying egg capsules on their floats, Churchill noted. 

 Photograph Courtesy: 1, 2 and 4 Denis Riek, 3 David Fleetham

princedarwin

princedarwin:

image

Transition fossils may be a word forcefully absent from the vocabulary of obstinate creationists, but perhaps it’s harder to ignore living testimony. Lungfish have commonly been offered as a prime example of a “transition species”, displaying characteristic features of a fish while also…

the-star-stuff
the-star-stuff:

“Sea Monster” Fetus Found—Proof Plesiosaurs Had Live Young?
Prehistoric reptiles gave birth to live young, fossil suggests.

Like whales, humans, and most other mammals, plesiosaurs—giant, long-necked marinereptiles of dinosaur times—gave birth to live young, a new fossil study suggests.
Even as it apparently solves one mystery, though, the finding raises another: Did the “sea monsters” swim in mother-child pairs or even in larger groups, like modern whales and dolphins?
The study focused on a 78-million-year-old, 15.4-foot-long (4.7-meter-long) adultPolycotylus latippinus plesiosaur fossil found in 1987. The fossil’s abdominal cavity contains tiny bones—parts of a plesiosaur that hadn’t been born by the time its mother died.
The finding, detailed in this week’s issue of the journal Science, is the first proof that plesiosaurs were viviparous—that they gave birth to live young.
“The fetus is too large to make an egg physiologically or mechanically feasible,” study co-author Robin O’Keefe told National Geographic News. “And why carry a big egg around?”
The discovery, while not completely unexpected, may fill a frustrating gap in plesiosaur knowledge, he said.
“Scientists have long known that the bodies of plesiosaurs were not well suited to climbing onto land and laying eggs in a nest [like dinosaurs]. So the lack of evidence of live birth in plesiosaurs has been puzzling,” O’Keefe, a plesiosaur expert at West Virginia’s Marshall University, said in a statement. (read on!)

the-star-stuff:

“Sea Monster” Fetus Found—Proof Plesiosaurs Had Live Young?

Prehistoric reptiles gave birth to live young, fossil suggests.


Like whales, humans, and most other mammals, plesiosaurs—giant, long-necked marinereptiles of dinosaur times—gave birth to live young, a new fossil study suggests.

Even as it apparently solves one mystery, though, the finding raises another: Did the “sea monsters” swim in mother-child pairs or even in larger groups, like modern whales and dolphins?

The study focused on a 78-million-year-old, 15.4-foot-long (4.7-meter-long) adultPolycotylus latippinus plesiosaur fossil found in 1987. The fossil’s abdominal cavity contains tiny bones—parts of a plesiosaur that hadn’t been born by the time its mother died.

The finding, detailed in this week’s issue of the journal Science, is the first proof that plesiosaurs were viviparous—that they gave birth to live young.

“The fetus is too large to make an egg physiologically or mechanically feasible,” study co-author Robin O’Keefe told National Geographic News. “And why carry a big egg around?”

The discovery, while not completely unexpected, may fill a frustrating gap in plesiosaur knowledge, he said.

“Scientists have long known that the bodies of plesiosaurs were not well suited to climbing onto land and laying eggs in a nest [like dinosaurs]. So the lack of evidence of live birth in plesiosaurs has been puzzling,” O’Keefe, a plesiosaur expert at West Virginia’s Marshall University, said in a statement. (read on!)

theperplexedobserver
theperplexedobserver:

The Deep-Sea Find That Changed Biology

n 1977, a small crew of oceanographers traveled to the bottom of the  Pacific Ocean and stumbled across a brand new form of life. The  discovery was so unusual, it turned biology on its head and brought into  question much of what scientists thought they knew about where life can  form and what it needs in order to survive.
Today,  the Smithsonian Institution houses that remarkable discovery: a pale  and fleshy, 4-foot-long worm that floats in the kind of pickle jar you’d  see in your neighborhood delicatessen. It might not look like much now,  but Kristian Fauchald, the Smithsonian’s curator of worms, says that in  1977, this worm had everyone scratching their heads. At up to 7 feet in  length, he says, “these are enormous beasts compared to normal worms.”  And they were thriving in large numbers without any obvious source of  food or light.
“This,” Fauchald says, holding up the worm, “is something absolutely unique.”

Click here to read more or listen to this story.

theperplexedobserver:

The Deep-Sea Find That Changed Biology

n 1977, a small crew of oceanographers traveled to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and stumbled across a brand new form of life. The discovery was so unusual, it turned biology on its head and brought into question much of what scientists thought they knew about where life can form and what it needs in order to survive.

Today, the Smithsonian Institution houses that remarkable discovery: a pale and fleshy, 4-foot-long worm that floats in the kind of pickle jar you’d see in your neighborhood delicatessen. It might not look like much now, but Kristian Fauchald, the Smithsonian’s curator of worms, says that in 1977, this worm had everyone scratching their heads. At up to 7 feet in length, he says, “these are enormous beasts compared to normal worms.” And they were thriving in large numbers without any obvious source of food or light.

“This,” Fauchald says, holding up the worm, “is something absolutely unique.”

Click here to read more or listen to this story.

moshita
moshita:

Osedax is a genus of ocean-dwelling worms discovered in 2002. The Osedax live in “whale falls” — the decaying carcasses of dead whales on the ocean floor. When first discovered, they were carpeting the skeletal remains of a gray whale found at a depth of 3,000 meters. The worms have bright red plumes that act like gills, but the “business end” of the worm consists of green root-like structures that penetrate down into the skeletal bone and branch out into the marrow, sucking in the nutrients.
When the scientists who discovered the worms examined a sample of them under a microscope, they discovered that all were female.
Turns out the males were there — microscopically small dwarfs that lived within the tubes that enclosed the females

moshita:

Osedax is a genus of ocean-dwelling worms discovered in 2002. The Osedax live in “whale falls” — the decaying carcasses of dead whales on the ocean floor. When first discovered, they were carpeting the skeletal remains of a gray whale found at a depth of 3,000 meters. The worms have bright red plumes that act like gills, but the “business end” of the worm consists of green root-like structures that penetrate down into the skeletal bone and branch out into the marrow, sucking in the nutrients.

When the scientists who discovered the worms examined a sample of them under a microscope, they discovered that all were female.

Turns out the males were there — microscopically small dwarfs that lived within the tubes that enclosed the females