Mike Mongo reveals the worlds of marine, shoreline, and in-land eco-biology

Monday, August 21, 2006

Deep-Sea Whales

According Paul J. Ponganis and Gerald L. Kooyman of the Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, some cetatceans (whales, orca, dolphins, porpoise) have a number of unique physiological adaptations enabling seep sea dives.

How deep? Sperm whales - which have the largest brain of any animal so far discovered...at 15 lbs! - have been recorded making hour long dives as deep as 6000 feet, over a mile down.

Link via reddit.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Did you know the planet earth now has a floating garbage "patch" at least the size of Texas, floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Well, we do.

Here is the link from reddit which led me to research the story in the first place. One of the comments on the hyper-linked piece stated that the above was an "urban myth," and I became interested enough to follow up. I found out the report originates from this piece in the LA Times (specifically this report), and is anything but urban myth.

There is really a massive swirling amassment of man-made refuse in the center of the Pacific Ocean. Unbelievable!

I tracked the source of all of the above to this piece in Natural History magazine. Worse, I located this entry in Wikipedia, and the true name of this developing challenge. It is The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Now you know.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Willy Fish

Ohmigod, the fish, six and a half inches long, it swam up his peepee!

Complete with dramatic re-enactment

Link (via reddit).

Antarctic Sea Spider

To tell you the truth, this creature sort of flips me out.

It's an Antarctican sea spider, it has a proboscis mouth (such as a housefly does) which it uses to suck the juices from sponges and sea slugs, and it lives on the ocean floor between 6000 to 7000 metres (!) beneath the ocean's surface. That's over three miles down! That ain't exactly the most bright-lighted place in the world for this sort of creature to be crawling around sucking the vital juices from soft and squishy living things.

And they're big enough to be creepy, most about two and half feet across!

Ohmigod, can you imagine being a dive specialist three miles down below the Antartic Ocean (temp −2 °C), pitch black except for your own light, and you step and crunch on one of these things, and then look down and start to see a bunch of them crawling around you? Gasp swoon faint.

Just to balance things out a little, the Antartic Ocean is also home to the largest and most song-singingest whales alive, the blue whale. So...

...I guess, as far as blood-sucking spider creatures go, it actually is nicely packaged. I mean, orange? Why orange? What set of circumstances inspired that evolutionary leap?

Link via reddit.

Monster Catfish

Growing up in Florida, I have heard my share of "monster catfish" stories, tales in which catfish exist "big enough to swallow a man whole." Considering the size of catfish I have seen (and even caught) myself cane-fishing on Lake Seminole, in Seminole, FL, and all the way down to the Florida Everglades, I always judged these tales to true, and based in reality somewhere down the line.

Nonetheless, they are some big catfish!