Picture of the week: Cleaner shrimp

Diana van den Heuvel was so kind as to share with us her beautiful super-macro picture of a spotted cleaner shrimp in Bonaire.  She used an Olympus TG6 compact camera in an Olympus PT059 housing, with a Weefine ring light 3000  and smart focus light.  

Highlighted: the new compacts: David beats Goliath?

Picture by Diana van den Heuvel

Despite their small sensors,  the clever technology of some of the new compact cameras produces stunning results underwater. For example, the  TG6 of Olympus,  when set to Super Macro, can zoom in to at least 1.2x,  allowing it to focus up to 1cm in front of the lens.  Equipped with a new lighting gadget like the Weefine 3000  ring light, set in the ‘strobe light mode’, the camera produces superb natural lighting of a very small object in front of the lenses.  Without the need of bringing in heavier strobes.  Some of the new compacts may also take an additional wide-angle wet lens.  Altogether, they present a versatile and easy-to-handle system,  competing with the bigger and more expensive cameras and housings for much less money. And.. perhaps a nice backup macro-specific camera for people that use their SLR fisheye set-up for the larger composite scenes.

Grandma increases survival in killer whales

Postreproductive females gain genetic benefits by helping family members—particularly increasing their number of surviving grandoffspring. A new study in PNAS suggests that the same priciple holds in killer whales. Grandmother orca’s  increase the survival of their grandoffspring, and these effects are greatest when grandmothers are no longer reproducing. This could explain why killer whales have evolved the longest postreproductive life span of all nonhuman animals. By stopping reproduction, grandmothers avoid reproductive conflict with their daughters, and offer increased benefits to their grandoffspring. 

News: Koala and kangaroo victim of Australian bush fires

Saved from bushfire

Apocalyptic bushfires  in Australia killed thousands of  Koala and Kangaroos and cattle. In total more than a billion animals (including mammals, reptiles and birds) have been killed according to recent countings. The Koala's furry hide makes them particularly vulnerable to scorching. They are also used to climb to the top of the trees during a forest fire, evidently a fatal strategy. Luckily people passing by were able to save some of the animals. Not only the eucalyptus trees that normally catch fire first but also parts of the tropical rainforest were lost.  The number of hot days in Australia has doubled  since 1960 with the forest fire season  starting already in September instead of December. Prime Minister Scott Morrison,  known  for his unwillingness to deal with the climate change realities did not receive a warm welcome by locals and firefighters when visiting the the emergency areas. 

News: a missing link between fishes and four legged animals?

Drawing by Alex Boersma, de Volkskrant.

A new study  (see Biology Blog) tells a story of a fish that paved the way for the first four-limbed vertebrates that ventured onto land. Named Tiktaalik roseae, the now extinct animal has come to represent an intermediate link between fish and amphibians, its features likely enabling a leap from water to land.

News: Super-coral transplants to replace bleeched coral

Bleeched coral garden in the Seychelles

Cementing  newly grown Super coral to restore damaged reefs in the Seychelles by a team led by Chloe Shute

Highlighted: My trip to Raja Ampat

A selection of pictures taken between 25 November and 5 December  2019 during my trip to  Raja Ampat. See also the full report in  http://www.uwpmag.com/

Highlighted: E-book update

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 below