Fire in the Sea, published by Texas A&M University Press
This species has an extremely long—six to 11 times the length of the head—chin barbel, which is tipped with a bulb and filaments that produce light. “The night belonged to him. The light belonged to him. He hung it from a long whip from his chin. Squid and red shrimps and foolish fish came to see in the golden glow of his chandelier the promise of dining,” Compton wrote.
Fire in the Sea, published by Texas A&M University Press
This shark species, shown at right with a squid in its jaws, is rarely found outside of the benthic zone. “Neither squid nor shark desired outside help and interference,” Compton wrote in his narrative.
from Fire in the Sea, published by Texas A&M University Press
The round, flat batfish is primarily found in the western Atlantic ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. “Batfish are about as reliable in sustained swim as a scallop is; however, they can make two jumps and a gobble from prone position faster than a Sidewinder Rattlesnake can strike second time,” Compton wrote.
Ocean-going fish can’t live any deeper than 8200 meters, according to a new study. All fish have their limits—you’ll never find sharks below 4 kilometers, for example—but why there aren’t any fish at all below 8 kilometers remains a mystery.
Now, a team of biologists say the threshold is set by two competing effects of trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a chemical in fish cells that prevents proteins from collapsing under high pressure. While fish should need more and more TMAO to survive ever greater depths, higher concentrations of the compound also draw in more and more seawater through osmosis, the process by which cells regulate their water content.
In the deepest waters, high TMAO levels reverse osmosis pressure, swelling brain cells to the point that they stop working and, in principle, bursting red blood cells open. (The team says they’re still working on how other marine creatures like anemones and bacteria avoid such gruesome fates at the most extreme depths, but they suspect those organisms produce more efficient protein boosters than fish can.)…
Also sometimes known as the Goiter Sponge, the Chalice sponge is a species of glass sponge (Order: Hexactinellida) that occurs in deep off of the western seaboard of North America. Heterochone calyx is commonly seen growing in large “forests” on the upper portions of seamounts, where currents concentrate food particles. Like most sponges H. calyx is a filter feeder and will filter the water around it for nutrients.
The new book Fire in the Sea brings one eccentric marine biologist’s paintings out of obscurity.
by Lindsey Kratochwill
David McKee, a retired biology professor from Texas A&M University, never got the chance to talk to Henry Compton about his art. Compton, an eccentric marine biologist and local fishing pier manager, passed away the week the two men were supposed to meet. After Compton’s death, two cardboard boxes of his belongings ended up in the garage of his sister-in-law, Helen Compton, where they sat for about six months until she gave McKee a call—Helen had organized the unsuccessful meeting, and knew of McKee’s interest in Compton’s art.
Those cardboard boxes contained paintings, slides, and texts about bioluminescent fish, which became the focus of McKee’s new book, Fire in the Sea.
"My first impression was ‘wow,’" McKee says. "I was already familiar with Compton, and I was thinking, ‘here we go again.’" …
Species in the Rhinochimaera family are known as long-nosed chimaeras. Their unusually long snouts (compared to other chimaeras) have sensory nerves that allow the fish to find food. Also, their first dorsal fin contains a mildly venomous spine that is used defensively. They are found in deep, temperate and tropical waters between 200 to 2,000 m in depth, and can grow to be up to 140 cm (4.5 ft) in length.
Chimaeras (also known as ghost sharks and ratfish) are an order of cartilaginous fish most closely related to sharks, but they have been evolutionarily isolated from them for over 400 million years.
(Info from WP and .gif from video by NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer—this is not an animation!)
Squids in the family Cranchiidae are referred to as glass squid because of the transparent nature of most species. They are characterized by a swollen body and short arms. They are also sometimes referred to as cockatoo squid because several deep-sea species have been observed exhibiting a peculiar posture (cockatoo posture) with the arms and tentacles folded back over the head.
Did you know that there is such a thing as a carnivorous sponge?
Typically, sponges feed by straining bacteria and bits of organic material from the seawater they filter through their bodies. However, carnivorous sponges snare tiny crustaceans. The species featured here are all part of the same family of sponges, the Cladorhizidae. They may look very different, but each has structures used for prey capture.
Top: the harp sponge, Chondrocladia lyra; Middle: the golfball sponge, Chondrocladia sp.; Bottom: the branched sponge, Asbestopluma.
Last week husbandry staff from the Monterey Bay Aquarium joined the bioluminescence lab on our ship R/V Rachel Carson. Among the many interesting jellies collected that day was this lemon jelly, Aegina citrea.
This species is part of the order Narcomedusae. They are often seen swimming with their tentacles in front of them, trying to catch other jellies that might run into their tentacles - like a comb or rake. They are unique predators positioned high up in the food web: by eating other jellies, some of which also eat jellies themselves, they are many trophic levels removed from the base of the food chain.
You can see this species and other Aegina species on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium right now!
Who loves the Kronos Quartet? Who loves a sea pig? Now’s your chance to see them BOTH in one video. A dream come true! But, wait, what in the world is a sea pig? Linda Kuhnz at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute is here to tell you all about it …
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Host: Michael Hearst Producer: Joe Beshenkovsky & Michael Hearst
Siboglinidae is a family of polychaete annelid worms.
Some members of this group live in thin tubes buried in sediments at depths down to 10,000 meters, while other members can be found in association with hydrothermal vents, methane seeps, with sunken plant material or whale carcasses.
Top: Riftia pachyptila, giant tube worms, live near hydrothermal vents and can tolerate extremely high hydrogen sulfide levels and ambient temperatures that range from 2 to 30 C.
Middle: Lamellibrachia sp. are tube worms living in chemosynthetic biological communities, obtaining nutrition from sulfur-loving bacteria in their guts.
Bottom: Bone-eating Snot worms, Osedax frankpressi, have no mouths or stomachs and use roots within whale bones to help digest fats and proteins contained in the bones. The roots contain specialized bacteria that can break down the oils and proteins in the whalebone. The bright red plumes sticking out above the bone act as gills, collecting oxygen from seawater.