Picture of the week: Tonga whales

Superb winning whale picture of 2018 by Vanessa Mignon. Each year, humpback whales travel thousands of kilometers from their feeding grounds in Antarctic waters to Tonga, northeast of New Zealand, to give birth and mate. From about mid-July to mid-October, it is possible to snorkel with them around tropical islands. No diving certification is required.

Highlighted: Baby Bullsharks acculumate human drugs

Caloosahatchee River, the sewage-impacted river

The presence of human pharmaceuticals in sewage-impacted ecosystems is a growing concern that poses health risks to aquatic wildlife.  A study suggested that neonate bull sharks residing in wastewater-impacted habitats accumulate active pharmaceutical ingredients, a factor that may pose special risks to C. leucas since it is one of few shark species to regularly occupy freshwater systems. The synthetic estrogen used in human contraceptives (17α-ethynylestradiol) and 6 of the selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors(citalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine) used in human antidepressants were observed at detectable and, in some cases, quantifiable levels in plasma of southwestern Florida River sharks

News: Wat are the chances for survival of the Sumatran rhino?

Worldwide there are five rhino species: the white and the black in Africa, and the Indian, the Javan, and the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis)  in Asia. The population size of the latter species has decreased by as much as 70 percent over the past twenty years, due to hunting and deforestation The Sumatran rhinoceros was widespread in Southeast Asia, but is now restricted to small and isolated populations on Sumatra and Borneo, and most likely extinct on the Malay Peninsula.  Small populations are often exposed to genomic erosion. Meaning that small populations are often exposed to high inbreeding and mutational load that can increase the risk of extinction. A  Swedish scientists research team (see the article) explores the possibility that the two remaining populations on Sumatra and Borneo could be crossed with each other.



Highlighted: Teenager dolphins and puffer fish encounters

These young male bottlenose dolphins from South Africa form boisterous gangs that like to play around with turtles and with this small puffer  fish. Finally,  after a rough game, they leave the little terrified chap unharmed to continue his way in the big ocean.


News: Cancer among sealions linked to DDT dumping.

Sea lions in California are facing a surge in cancer cases that are potentially linked to thousands of barrels of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT), a banned insecticide, that were dumped in the Pacific Ocean off the Southern California coast decades ago.  A research vessel from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego recently discovered and photographed over 27,000 barrels possibly containing the toxic substance DDT on the seafloor between Santa Catalina Island and the Los Angeles coast.

News: Sand-bar sharks congregate in SW Mediterranean

Dozens of sharks gathered Tuesday in warm waters of the Mediterranean near the Israeli Hadera power plant, drawing sightseers in what has become an annual occurrence. Sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) and dusky sharks (Carcharhinus obscurus) which are known to frequent the waters near Israel gather each year near where the power plant's hot water outlet gushes into the Mediterranean Sea. Apparently enjoying a nice hot tub.  Aggregations of sandbar sharks also occur every summer around the remote uninhabited islet of Lampione  (one of the Pelagie Islands of the coast of Sicily), attracting an increasing number of tourists for a shark-watching. Both species of sharks are known to be nomadic and strongly migratory, seeking warmer water in winter and colder water in the summertime. Probably migrating in winter from the Eastern Atlantic to the Mediterranean.

E-Book. Click on the Icon to download the PDF file

 This ‘E-book’  contains an updated collection of around 80  blog articles from the last three years.  I here provide two separate content lists, a list in which the articles are ordered according to the five most often recurring themes, and a chronological list. A simple click on the title will hopefully guide you to the article of your choice. For download,  click  next to the  PDF icon