TedTalks - Edith Widder: How We Found the Giant Squid

Humankind has been looking for the giant squid (Architeuthis) since we first started taking pictures underwater. But the elusive deep-sea predator could never be caught on film. Oceanographer and inventor Edith Widder shares the key insight — and the teamwork — that helped to capture the squid on camera for the first time.

(via: TED - YouTube)

A Conversation With ‘Her Deepness’

Sylvia Earle, the greatest living ocean explorer, sits down with OnEarth.

She knows the ocean better than any other person alive. Reverently nicknamed “Her Deepness,” Sylvia Earle has spent 7,000 hours underwater over seven decades.

And on those dives she has witnessed first hand the havoc we wreak upon the sea—from coral bleaching and shark finning to the disappearance of once-abundant species such as tuna and menhaden. She has received virtually every honor in exploration and conservation science, and has served as chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. When Sylvia Earle talks about the ocean, you listen.

Mission Blue, a documentary about her life and work that carries the name of Dr. Earle’s ocean conservation organization, debuts today on Netflix and in theatres. She spoke with OnEarth about her career, the film, and, of course, the state of the world’s oceans.„

(read more: On Earth)

Vampire Plant Also Sucks Hosts Genes, While Feeding

by Tanya Lewis

Like an herbivorous Count Dracula, a snakelike vine coils around its leafy victim, punctures its stem and proceeds to suck out its life juices.

The parasitic plant Cuscuta pentagona, commonly known as strangleweed or dodder, preys on many common crop plants. Not only does the parasite siphon water and nutrients from its host, but it also exchanges genetic messages with its victim, according to a study detailed today (Aug. 15) in the journal Science.

The findings reveal a new way that plants communicate with each other, and the study may help scientists understand how to combat parasitic plants that destroy food crops around the world, the researchers said.

(via: Live Science)

First Video of Living and Enormous Deep Sea Crustacean

Well, enormous for an Amphipod…

by Sandrine Ceurstemont

Living in one of the Earth’s deepest ocean trenches, the world’s largest species of amphipod has so far managed to avoid the videos of the paparazzi. But during an expedition to the Kermadec trench off the coast of New Zealand in April, Alan Jamieson from the University of Aberdeen, UK, and his colleagues filmed a living Alicella gigantean for the first time, more than 7 kilometres below the ocean surface.

The video captures a feeding frenzy of deep-sea snailfish, Notoliparis kermadecensis sociable fish that are well-adapted to the extreme pressure, total darkness and cold temperatures at such depths.

Cruising along the left-hand side of the video, the white shrimp-like creature is the newly spotted Alicella gigantea. It is between 20 and 25 centimetres long, 10 times larger than similar amphipods discovered in other deep-sea locations – although Jamieson previously snapped, but did not video, an even bigger one – a 34-centimetre giant…

(read more: New Scientist)

Someone who knows Aussie pythons better than me… is this an Olive Python (Liasis olivaceus)?

HOT SCIENTISTS IN THE NEWS:

Watch this adorable climate scientist explain sea-level rise with a gin & tonic

by Darby Minow Smith

A stranger at a bar challenged scientist Adam Levy on climate change. In a video response, Levy uses a classic cocktail to show how rising temperatures affect sea-level rise. Climate science, booze, and adorable Commonwealth accents? Count us in.

Remember: Do not try this at home (adding salt to a beautiful gin & tonic, that is).

(via: Grist.org)

* JESUS F’n CHRIST, I’M IN LOVE!!!

This Baby Armadillo Is Improbably Cute

by Robert T. Gonzales

This particular armadillo is still just a baby, and goes by “Rollie,” after what looks to be his favorite playtime activity. Rollie, a 3-Toed Armadillo, from South America, is currently housed at the NEW Zoo and Adventure Park in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where this footage was captured…

(read more and watch video at IO9)

PBS - NATURE: Red-lipped Batfish and Frogfish

Catch a rare look at a red-lipped batfish and a frogfish, some of the strangest residents of the underwater kingdom off of Cocos Island in the Indian Ocean near Africa. NATURE’s Shark Mountain takes viewers to Cocos Island in the Pacific, where sharks of all kinds converge in staggering numbers.

See the full episode at http://video.pbs.org/video/995220135

2014 Status of Waterfowl Video Report

Here are 2014 results from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service’s Waterfowl Status Report. Biologists have conducted waterfowl surveys in North America for more than 55 years, making it the longest-running wildlife survey in the world. In 2014, they surveyed more than one million square miles of habitat. The video report describes biologists’ findings as they surveyed the northern United States and Canada…

(via: Flyways.us)

One of the strangest landscapes on Earth reveals our planet’s complex history.

How did life storm the beaches and dominate planet Earth? Ancient Australian fossils offer clues in “Life Explodes.” Half a billion years ago, Australia was still part of the super-continent Gondwana. The oceans were teeming with weird and wonderful animals, but the world above the waves remained an almost lifeless wasteland.

All that was about to change, though. Host Richard Smith introduces Earth’s forgotten pioneers: the scuttling arthropod armies that invaded the shores and the waves of green revolutionaries whose battle for the light pushed plant life across the face of a barren continent. Evolution continued underwater as well, with armor-plated fish experimenting with teeth, jaws, sex, and lungs.

NOVA’s prehistoric adventure continues with four-legged animals walking onto dry land—and the planet poised for disaster…

Science Friday:  Oarfish - The Ultimate Fish Tale

Thought to the be inspiration of “sea serpent” stories, the monstrously-long Oarfish provokes wonder in nearly all that witness it. Yet despite our fascination, little is known about this fish, its lifecycle and how it navigates its deep-sea environment. With help of a frozen specimen, CalState Assistant Professor Misty Paig-Tran provides us with a biomechanist insights into this real-life “sea monster’s” unusual physiology.

(via: SciFri)

John Oliver: ‘Our Drug Laws Seem a Little Draconian and a Lot Racist’

Clocking in at nearly 18 minutes, the comedian’s recent segment on the broken prison system could be one of his most inspired rants yet. Touching on everything from prison privatization to the inherent racism in the legal system to the fact that America has the “greatest number of prisoners of any country in the world” (an amount equivalent to the size of Slovenia’s entire population), John Oliver doesn’t hesitate to talk about “fact[s] that need to be spoken.”

This time, the “Last Week Tonight” host even got the help of America’s favorite Muppets to drive home his incredibly important point.

(via: TruthDig)

Endangered bats find haven at Coral Gables golf course

by Jenny Staletovich

Giselle Hosein peers into the dark sky above a manicured fairway on the Coral Gables Granada Golf Course, trying hard to see what she can so far only hear: an elusive Florida bonneted bat, among the rarest in the world.

“It took me three or four months before I was actually able to see one,” she said…

(read more: Miami Herald)