On today’s episode of Ocean Talk Friday, Andrew and I took to Blab for our second time to nerd out live about four stories in the ocean-news-isphere this week.
- The nation of Kenya is well known for its booming ecotourism industry. However, some conservationists and local communities are worried that the increased development is hurting the very basis of the industry itself, Kenya’s wildlife. With increased infrastructure being developed along the county’s coastline, many of Kenya’s sea turtles and shorebirds are losing suitable nesting and resting habitat. And in an ideal world this development along critical habitat would not occur. However, for many developing nations like Kenya, it’s unrealistic to think that economic growth would not occur in as many locations as possible. Instead, conservationists and business leaders should consider this as an opportunity to work together to promote specific businesses that are leading the charge to protect wildlife. Resorts and hotels have plenty of revenue which could be allocated toward habitat restoration or protection projects; conservationists and researchers have the authority and credibility necessary to be able to carry out these projects effectively. The fact is that development is not going away. Rather than lamenting over the detrimental impacts of this growth, conservation organizations can look to it as a potential source of project funds.
- China has become the first country to implement a law regulating its use of deep sea habitat. Though there is virtually no information available on the specifics of this piece of legislation, one would think that other countries will quickly follow suit to protect their own deep sea boundaries. And while much of the law was probably motivated by energy and mining interests, there is something to be said for the economic potential of conserving and studying deep sea ecosystems. Many invertebrates and microbes that exist in these habitats could have potential applications to medical and industrial research and the development of new drugs and technologies.
- Researchers out of the University of California San Diego announced at the Ocean Sciences Meeting just a couple weeks ago that they detected low-frequency sounds in the mesopelagic zone that coincide with vertical migration events. The authors of the study think that these faint sounds could in fact be some sort of communication exchanged between the small fish and the invertebrates migrate up and down the water column each day to feed. If these noises are revealed to in fact act as communication signals, this would be an enormous finding for marine ecology and zoology. However, more research needs to be done to evaluate which organisms may be responsible for this low-frequency sound, why exactly they are emitting it, and what structures are used to create this sound.
- An article published in PLOS One by a research team in China documents the first ever observed occurrence of a sexually mature moon jelly (Aurelia sp.) reverse-developing back into a polyp form. First let me provide some context, since jellyfish have a pretty complex life history. Adult medusa jellies (those with a bell and the typical jellyfish body type) reproduce sexually. The offspring, called planula larvae, then settle to the bottom and develop into a mature, sessile polyp. This is an asexual adult jelly that buds off mobile offspring, which are called ephyra. These ephyra then fully develop into adult medusa, which begin the cycle anew. Though there has been some previous research showing that some adult medusa can develop “backwards” into polyps in times of environmental stress or physical damage, this is the first indication of a sexually mature Aurealia species accomplishing such a feat. Theoretically, this process could make such species immune to death by natural causes.
Enjoy the Podcast!