Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Saturday, May 05, 2007
What Did Jay Garbose Film?
Jay Garbose was diving on Juno Ledge, a mile or so off of Juno Beach (in Florida), when he came across on odd creature.
The creature was approximately 7-10 feet in length, wormlike, grey and "taffy" like in appearance.
Garbose, an underwater videographer who has worked with the Discovery Channel and National Geographic is familiar with filming underwater, and many of its inhabitants. This one puzzled him.
Garbose contacted the Smithsonian, who identified it as a Nemertean Worm, but not definitively. So at this time the Juno Ledge Worm remains "undescribed".
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Colossal Squid Caught
New Zealand Fishermen Catch Rare Squid
A fishing crew has caught a colossal squid that could weigh a half-ton and prove to be the biggest specimen ever landed, a fisheries official said Thursday.
The squid, weighing an estimated 990 lbs and about 39 feet long, took two hours to land in Antarctic waters, New Zealand Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said.
The fishermen were catching Patagonian toothfish, sold under the name Chilean sea bass, south of New Zealand "and the squid was eating a hooked toothfish when it was hauled from the deep," Anderton said.
The fishing crew and a fisheries official on board their ship estimated the length and weight of the squid: Detailed, official measurements have not been made. The date when the colossus was caught also was not disclosed.
Colossal squid, known by the scientific name Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, are estimated to grow up to 46 feet long and have long been one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep ocean.
If original estimates are correct, the squid would be 330 pounds heavier than the next biggest specimen ever found.
"I can assure you that this is going to draw phenomenal interest. It is truly amazing," said Dr. Steve O'Shea, a squid expert at the Auckland University of Technology.
If calamari rings were made from the squid they would be the size of tractor tires, he added.
Colossal squid can descend to 6,500 feet and are extremely active, aggressive hunters, he said.
The frozen squid will be transported to New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa, in the capital, Wellington, to be preserved for scientific study.
Marine scientists "will be very interested in this amazing creature as it adds immeasurably to our understanding of the marine environment," Anderton said.
Colossal squid are found in Antarctic waters and are not related to giant squid found round the coast of New Zealand. Giant squid grow up to 39 feet long, but are not as heavy as colossal squid.
Monday, February 05, 2007
Black Smokers Sing
So how do deep-sea fish manage to detour around black smokers (hydrothermal vents) without getting cooked? A new study shows that the vents are producing sounds:
"The long-held assumption that black smokers are silent is wrong, according to recently published research led by Timothy Crone, a University of Washington doctoral student in oceanography. It's prompting scientists to wonder: Could the sound and vibrations of black smokers be the reason fish in total darkness avoid being poached by waters as hot as 750 F? And might similar sounds guide them to the smorgasbord of tube worms, mussels, shrimp, snails and other fauna at vents with more temperate waters?
"Want to be the first on your block to hear what a black smoker sounds like? Go to http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=30030 where audio of a black smoker has been combined with a video into a short movie." ...
"Hydrothermal vents, discovered in the 1970s, are found along volcanically active ridges where seawater seeps into the seafloor, picks up heat and minerals and then vents back into the ocean depths. The hottest and most vigorous of the vents are black smokers, so called because when the fluids they emit hit the icy cold seawater, minerals in the fluids precipitate out and it looks just like dark, billowing smoke.
"Because of a paper published 15 years ago, it had been thought the vents were probably playing only the sounds of silence. Still a number of scientists suspected that the vents could be generating sounds, given the obvious turbulence of the flows, Crone says.
"It was decided that new recordings should be attempted because Crone and other oceanographers are looking for new ways to measure vent flows, which are a source of heat and minerals in the world's oceans that scientists would like to understand better. Commonly used instruments to measure flow are often short lived when inserted in the superheated, corrosive black-smoker fluids.
"How much simpler if the vents were generating some kind of sound that could be recorded and correlated to flows, Crone says.
"With funding from two organizations that help take fields of research and instrumentation in new directions, the UW Royalty Research Fund and the W.M. Keck Foundation, a deep-sea digital acoustic recording system was deployed in the Main Endeavour vent field. The field is on the seafloor about 300 miles west of Seattle on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Crone recorded 45 hours of sound at the vent scientists call 'Sully' and 136 hours at the vent called 'Puffer.'
That's the sound of Sully you're hearing as the video runs. Crone likens the sound to the rumbling of an avalanche or a forest fire.
"How loud would it be if you were sitting a foot away? (That's something you couldn't actually do because the pressure where most black smokers are found is so intense that you'd implode.) The sound level would be somewhere between conversational speech and a hairdryer, Crone says.
"Four possible mechanisms might be causing -- or contributing to -- the noise, the researchers say. For example, the flow could be pulsating or its volume could be changing as its waters cool. Dissimilar fluids in the flow could generate noise where they mix. Or the fluids rushing through the nooks and crannies of the smoker vent itself could be creating noise." ...
"Buried within the broad range of sounds that produce the rumbling, Crone's analysis revealed the surprise that the vents also produce resonant tones. There could be a number of things generating such tones. For example, flows along the cavities and bumps inside the vent structures may cause tones in the same way jug band members produce sound by blowing across the mouths of their jugs, causing the air inside the jug to resonate and produce a deep tone.
"Both Sully and Puffer produce resonant tones at several different frequencies that we can't discern with all the other noise generated by the vents. But you can hear examples of tones that Crone pulled out from the racket by listening at http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=30030.
"'With these resonant tones, each vent within the vent field is likely to have its own unique acoustic signature,' Crone says.
"If so, and if fish are actually using vent sounds to navigate, then the distinctive tones might be how fish find their way back to cooler vents where the eats have been particularly good."