Picture of the week: Sea of Cortez: aquarium of the world.

This unique picture taken by Oscar Ramirez shows one of his favorite Orcas in a close-up eye-to-eye contact in the Sea of Cortez. The Sea of Cortez, or the Gulf of California as it is also known, is a marginal sea of the Pacific Ocean that separates the Baja California peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It has a vast coastline of over 4000 km (2500 mi) and borders four states: Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora, and Sinalo. It is  also known as the ‘aquarium of the world’, full of marine life from January through July. Whales, pods of dolphins, whale sharks, sea lions, mantas, mobulas, cow nose rays, and much more. Mobula rays (mobula munkiana) can be seen year-round but they start gathering in large schools in early spring. Where there are mobulas, there are often also  Orcas (Orcinus Orca)

Highlighted: coral rubbing as self medication in dolphins

Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) sometimes get skin conditions,  but they come about their medication by queuing up nose-to-tail to rub themselves against corals. Researchers now believe to have revealed the cause of this coral rubbing by showing that these corals have medicinal properties, suggesting that the dolphins are using the marine invertebrates to medicate skin conditions. Their  discovery of bioactive compounds  in the polyps of the coral led the team to believe that the mucus of the corals and sponges is serving to regulate the dolphin skin's microbiome and treat infections

 

Higlighted: Ocean heath record high

Global annual mean temperature difference from pre-industrial conditions (1850–1900) for six global temperature data sets (1850–2021).

Human activities are causing planetary-scale changes on land, in the ocean, and in the atmosphere, with harmful and long-lasting ramifications for sustainable development and ecosystems, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Ocean heat was record high. The upper 2000m depth of the ocean continued to warm in 2021 and it is expected that it will continue to warm in the future – a change which is irreversible on centennial to millennial time scales.  Acidification of Oceans is caused by the uptake of the largest part of CO2 emission, leading to a reduction of future uptake capacity of CO2. Four key climate change  indicators – greenhouse gas concentrations, sea-level rise, ocean heat, and ocean acidification – set new records in 2021. According to UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres the new data indicate that we are on the border of a climate catastrophe.

 

Highlighted: eternal life of jellyfish

Jellyfish start their lives as a larva that metamorphoses into a polyp; a tiny sea anemone. When the conditions are right, these polyps bloom in vast numbers and when they bloom, what buds from the polyp are baby jellyfish. They even have a primitive nervous system with a ‘brain’ that is in fact a network of nerve cells, that allows it to sense their environments, such as changes in water chemistry or the touch of another animal.

When some species of medusa like the immortal jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii) die, it sinks to the ocean floor and begins to decay. Amazingly, its cells then reaggregate, not into a new medusa, but into polyps, and from these polyps emerge new jellyfish. The jellyfish has thus skipped to an earlier life stage to begin again. Its cells change from one type to another, producing a completely different body plan. So in fact we have a completely new jelly entering the watery world.

This of course leads to the intriguing question if the human race could profit from this principle: would perhaps a few jelly genes in our gene pool enable us to regenerate whenever we are tired of ourselves?

 

E-book download

 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  below

E-book download