Immortality, thanks to a jellyfish

From polyp to medusa and back. The Jellyfish’s life is circular in all aspects

Could the lowly jellyfish hold the secrets to immortality?

Possibly. Scientists have recently discovered that many jellyfish are made of cells that live much longer than those found in any other organism.

How is this possible? Well my theory is that the telomeres in the DNA are much longer or are much less truncated during cell replication, which leads to longer cell life and improved replication integrity. However, the fact that jellies have very few ‘moving parts’ that wear out is also a valid postulation. They are simple and elegant creatures which possess only what they need to survive. That sounds like a recipe for success to me!

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/magazine/can-a-jellyfish-unlock-the-secret-of-immortality.html

Dolphin washes ashore in Hawaii with Cookie Cutter Shark bite wounds

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A local news outlet in Oahu, Hawaii is reporting that a dead dolphin washed ashore with a twist – there are signs of an attack from a rarely seen deep water shark! There’s no definitive reason for cause of death – usually the victims of this stealthy shark go on to live full lives, sporting a trademark and slightly disturbing scar as a souvenir of their encounter. It could have been the last straw on what was already a stressful day for this dolphin…

I think that it would have been really cool to see this interaction, er, attack on the dolphin by the elusive Cookie Cutter Shark, which literally takes plugs of flesh out of its prey with the aforementioned cookie cutter like mouth.

Here’s more on the shark and the original story

Apple Maps Loch Ness Monster?

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Apple Maps Loch Ness Monster?

Apparently, you can find Nessie via Apple Map’s satellite view feature. Whether or not this is true is up for you to decide, but I will warn ardent believers that this is likely the work of a mischievous programmer or an image sensor error. As a biologist, not sure if Nessie is supposed to resemble a giant Sturgeon.

UPDATE: As if you really needed this to be debunked by someone, this is just the wake of a ship that frequents the lake on tours. Nessie is safe once more!

Two-headed Bull shark fetus found

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Pretty neat stuff here – one of the only SIX recorded cases of a two headed shark in human existence. Even stranger, this is the first time this has been recorded in Bull Sharks.

Of course, this shark would not survive in the wild, and thanks to some observant fishermen, we now have a great specimen to study the mutational genetics of shark populations.

http://news.discovery.com/animals/sharks/two-headed-shark-caught-130321.htm

New Zealand shark attack

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The big ocean news as of late has been the shark attack death of a New Zealand filmmaker. It is the work of a suspected 14 foot Great White Shark, which are frequently found off the coast of New Zealand at this time of year to breed.

Police attempted to shoot and kill the shark, but it was too late to save the man. It was also not determined if the shark was hit, as it swam away.

Perhaps the most important statistic to remember before getting too scared about sharks (a major pet peeve of mine): According to the University of Florida International Shark Attack File, 80 people worldwide were bitten by sharks last year. Seven of those were fatal attacks.

To clarify: Out of 7 billion people, 80 were hurt, and only seven were killed by sharks.

While this attack was certainly tragic for those involved, it is important to remember the rarity of such attacks worldwide and even in New Zealand, where this was only the 14th attack recorded since 1830.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02/27/large-shark-kills-man-in-rare-attack-off-new-zealand-beach-police-fire-shots-at/?intcmp=trending

Is more Algae the solution to Global Warming?

A fascinating (and true) observation has come up about curbing global warming: increasing algal cover in the oceans. These algaes absorb carbon dioxide and help sequester it under the surface of the water.

To grow more algae, nutrients have to be added to the system. Iron is a key constituent of an oceanic “fertilizer” that could cause a controlled algal bloom. The main risk of adding iron to the ocean is the obvious threat of poisoning other life. This is a procedure that must be carefully observed and carried out in smaller scale experiments before being performed on a larger scale.

Fun fact: the oceans contain the largest amount of carbon dioxide in the world!

Unfortunately, a rogue Eco-engineer in Canada decided to illegally dump the fertilizer cocktail into the ocean, and the results have been successful. Satellite imagery shows an unnaturally large bloom for the time of year. What the man did was still illegal, and I doubt his “experiment” was for altruistic, world-saving reasons.

We should explore our options to curb global climate change, but we must not recklessly endanger what precious life we have left in the process!

Sources:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0719/Dumping-iron-in-the-seas-could-slow-global-warming-say-scientists

More coming soon- typed from my iPhone!

Record setting heat in 2012 may be a sign of climate change

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Bad news for the oceans and the entire world – according to the NOAA, the U.S. experienced record-high temperatures in 2012.

As you also know, there were several terrible storms and a severe drought that occurred throughout the year. Unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be seeing ever increasing instances of these weather phenomena thanks to increasing global temperatures, according to the NOAA:

Last year’s record temperature is “clearly symptomatic of a changing climate,” said Thomas R. Karl, who directs NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. Americans can now see the sustained warmth over the course of their own lifetimes — “something we haven’t seen before.” He added, “That doesn’t mean every season and every year is going to be breaking all-time records, but you’re going to see this with increasing frequency.”

But you may ask, “How does this affect the oceans?” The answer is pretty simple: with increasing global temperatures, the oceans eventually begin to warm up. As the ocean temperatures warm, they become more acidic, which harms sensitive coral reefs and invertebrates like plankton, which are the backbone of oceanic food chains. With mass die-offs in the ocean, deaths on land masses is sure to follow.

This isn’t going to happen in 10 years, but we are really going to start seeing the effects of this change in global temperature by the end of the century. It’s not going to be a great world to live in if we don’t start taking the steps today to curb our carbon emissions and protect our natural bounty.

Source:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/2012-hottest-year-on-record-in-continental-us-noaa-says/2013/01/08/5c9dc1ae-55d9-11e2-8b9e-dd8773594efc_story.html