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Posted by on in Wrecks

When it hatches, a Mola mola is the size of a pinhead but will grow to be the heaviest bony fish in the ocean—and the weirdest.

The weirdness begins with the eggs. A female Mola mola or ocean sunfish produces more eggs than any other vertebrate on earth.

One modest-sized female had an estimate 300 million eggs inside her.

At birth, the baby fish are protected by a star-shaped transparent covering that looks like someone put an alien head inside of a Christmas ornament—albeit a very small only a tenth of an inch across.

 

Even as a baby, the Mola mola has its parents’ surprised look with the wide eye and open mouth.

The baby will grow fast. Very fast. One individual in the Monterey Bay Aquarium gained 822 pounds in just 15 months (almost 2 pounds a day).

By the time it is an adolescent, the fish will have not tail fin, no ribs, a fused spine, and will swim by flapping its dorsal fin on the top and its anal fin on the bottom.

It will look like a giant swimming head.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

 The mola mola is a fish with many names. In English it is known as the ocean sunfish, in some languages it is known as a moon fish, and the German name Schwimmender Kopf, my personal favorite, translates to swimming head. A swimming fish head is exactly what these gargantuan creatures look like – flattish compressed disks, with dorsal and ventral fins, and a tiny tail. Not much is known about the mola mola, but here are a few facts I could scare up in my research about the fish I most want to dive with.  

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Their acrobatics often go unnoticed, but understanding them could help improve engineering processes, like oil refining and wastewater treatment, that rely on controlling the interaction of small particles with air-water interfaces.

Sunghwan Jung, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics in Virginia Tech's College of Engineering, has released a new study focused on the jumping behavior of copepods, small teardrop-shaped plankton near the bottom of the aquatic food chain that can sometimes vault out of the water to escape predators.

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Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have observed a deep-sea octopus brooding its eggs for four and a half years – longer than any other known animal. Throughout this time, the mother kept the eggs clean and guarded them from predators.

Octopuses typically have a single reproductive period and then they die. Once a clutch of fertilized eggs has been produced, the mother protects and tends them until they hatch. In most shallow-water species this brooding period lasts between one and three months. Very little is known though about the maternal behaviour of deep-living species. In the cold, dark waters of the deep ocean, metabolic processes are often slower than their counterparts at shallower depths.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

A quarter of sharks, rays and chimaeras are threatened with extinction, according to a new study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Large, shallow-water species are at most risk.

The group found that only 23 percent of these fish is listed as “least concern” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Of the 1,041 known species, 25 are listed as critically endangered, 43 are endangered, and 113 are vulnerable to extinction. This is the worst reported status for any major vertebrate group except for amphibians.

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Locating a diver on the surface can be surprisingly difficult. I know, because I have been at both the searching and searched-for ends of this scenario. Even with surface signaling devices, locating a tiny, floating head amidst uneven chop can be difficult; without them it may be impossible. In an ideal world, divers would never be separated from their boats or buddies, but the ocean can be unpredictable, and freak currents and mistakes occur. Hopefully you will never find yourself lost a sea, but it's still a good idea to carry surface signaling devices on every dive -- just in case. Here are five devices that can make finding a diver on the surface easier.

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Posted by on in Wrecks
Rich cold-water coral reef in the Whittard Canyon area by the Isis ROV
Rich cold-water coral reef in the Whittard Canyon area by the Isis ROV

The UK’s National Oceanography Centre has produced the first true three-dimensional picture of submarine canyon habitats, using a unique combination of marine robotics and ship-based measurements. The information captured in this new set of maps ranges in scale from the 200 km canyon down to the size of an individual cold-water coral polyp, and will be used to inform the management of the only English deep water marine conservation zone.

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Posted by on in Wrecks
Crown of thorns starfish, COTSCrown of thorns starfish, COTS

Scientists in Australia have discovered that vinegar kills Crown-of-Thorns Starfish just as effectively as the current drug, which can be expensive and difficult to source.

Outbreaks of the venomous Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) pose one of the most significant threats to the Great Barrier Reef.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

Concern is growing that human-generated noise in the ocean disrupts marine animals that rely on sound for communication and navigation. In the modern ocean, the background noise can be ten times louder than it was just 50 years ago. But new modeling based on recently published data suggests that 200 years ago — prior to the industrial whaling era — the ocean was even louder than today due to the various sounds whales make.

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Posted by on in Wrecks
For the first time in over a century, you can actually see the original surface of the world’s first successful combat submarine. Until recently, the Hunley was completely encased in concretion, an encrusted layer of sand, sediment and shells that built up slowly over time while she was lost at sea.
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Posted by on in Wrecks
diver

By MarEx 2015-09-04 18:43:58

After a two year investigation by the U.K. Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA), a commercial diver has been jailed for two years and ordered to pay £35,000 ($53,000) after recovering historic cannons off the U.K. coast. 

Vincent Woolsgrove of Ramsgate, Kent, pleaded guilty to fraud at Southampton Crown Court after he reported to the Receiver of Wreck that he had found and recovered five historic bronze cannons from two different shipwreck sites.

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The Department of the Navy (DoN) has issued its final rules on the disposition of sunken military craft including an updated procedure required for research and other activities on these sunken vessels.  Importantly, according to a letter DEMA has received from the DoN, “…activities such as fishing, snorkeling and diving which are not intended to disturb, remove or injure any portion of a sunken military craft are still allowed without the need for a permit.” The revised regulations permitting investigations of sunken military craft under the jurisdiction of the DoN were published in the Federal Register Monday, August 31, 2015. The new regulations won’t officially go into effect until March 1, 2016.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

I have heard the analogy about holes in the cheese several times and it pretty much sums up the incident pit.

I’ve been diving rebreathers for quite a while now, teaching them for nearly a decade and I have always been interested in rebreather diver incidents. There are many internet forums with sections dedicated to incidents where the person survived and that person can give a full account of what happened and why. Then there are the other sections of the forums where you read about diver deaths and almost certainly never get any details and a lot is left to supposition.

The reluctance to give known facts on diver fatalities stems from the respect to the families and the diver. The families do not want to read about how their loved one died and also if the diver made mistakes, friends do not want them to appear incompetent. From what I have read, there is almost never a catastrophic incident that takes the diver, it is always a series of events.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

An underwater robot has enabled researchers to produce the first detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Scientists from the UK, USA and Australia say the new technology provides accurate ice thickness measurements from areas that were previously too difficult to access.

 

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In undersea exploration, you never know when you might witness a moment of unusual creature interaction

While conducting the an expedition in Puerto Rico, NOAA’s research vessel, Okeanos Explorer, performed exploratory dives with its remotely operated vehicles – Deep Discoverer and Seirios. Scientists from all over were able to watch via telepresence technology direct from their site.

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Posted by on in Wrecks

geographic cone snail

The geographic cone snail, Conus geographus, is native to tropical coral reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans. (Image: Cone Snail/YouTube)

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northern snakehead
Photo: Snapshot/NBC video

Even creepier than the catfish that hunts pigeons on land, is the toothy northern snakehead, a carnivorous fish that grows to at least three feet in length, can breathe air and can survive for up to four days out of water. It can survive for even longer periods in mud and moist environments. Oh, and it travels over land by wriggling its body along the ground.

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Posted by on in Wrecks
By: Gerri Miller
May 27, 2014, 12:10 p.m.
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SCUBA diving and snorkelling are amongst the fastest growing tourism sectors. The increasing numbers mean many more people are aware of the beauty and importance of the marine environment, but also puts a great strain on the coral. Not only is it damaged by inexperienced divers kicking it and pollution from boats and hotels, research also shows that coral is much more likely to become diseased in highly dived areas.

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Lionfish, genus Pterois, is very popular amongst those with aquariums, and this trade may have led to them being described as amongst some of the most aggressively invasive species on the planet. Lionfish are native to the Red Sea, Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean, most often found around corals, reefs and rocky surfaces down to about 50 m. They have quite a distinctive appearance with their red and white stripes, together with large spiky dorsal fin rays containing venom for defense against predators. They don’t appear to have many natural predators, but large Groupers and Moray eels have been observed feeding on them.

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U/W Bike Race

eventsiconJoin us on July 4th for this annual event benefitting the Children's Mile of Hope.

Lionfish Tournament

eventsiconWe need your help to make Carteret County's 5th Annual "If you Can't Beat 'em, Eat 'em" Spearfishing Tournament a success! This Tournament is a joint effort between Discovery Diving and Eastern Carolina Artificial Reef Association (ECARA).

Treasure Hunt

eventsiconFood, prizes, diving, and fun! Proceeds benefit the Mile Hope Children's Cancer Fund and DAN's research in diving safety.

ECARA Event

2013Join us June 3rd, 2017 in support of the East Carolina Artificial Reef Association.  Click here for more info on this great event and how you can help to bring more Wrecks to the Graveyard of the Atlantic.