November 17, 2010
It is a little-known fact that Great White sharks can be found in the Mediterranean Sea, and perhaps even less-well known is that they arrived there some 450,000 years ago from Australia, according to new genetic studies.
According to a BBC article published today:
“Researchers writing in Proceedings of the Royal Society B believe the arrival may have been simply a migratory ‘wrong turn’ by a few pregnant females.
A tumultuous climate between ice ages may have been the cause.
The species – Carcharodon carcharias – would have remained in the Med because it returns to spawn where it was born.
It was previously assumed that the great whites in the Mediterranean were most closely related to their nearby cousins in the Atlantic Ocean.
But now, a team led by Les Noble of the University of Aberdeen has examined the several groups of sharks’ mitochondrial DNA – genetic material passed through the maternal line that is particularly suited to tracing lineages.
The team found that the Mediterranean sharks were very different to the Atlantic group and more like sharks from Australia and New Zealand.”
Great White shark attacks in the Mediterranean
The great white shark is most commonly associated with the coasts of Australia, California and South Africa, but there have been occasions when this increasingly rare animal has been spotted in the Mediterranean. Some experts believe that the Mediterranean is a nursery where great white sharks give birth and raise their young. The Sicilian channel, near the Italian island of Lampedusa, is the only location in the Atlantic region where both pregnant females and newly born great whites have been sighted.
A great white shark was caught in Malta by Alfredo Cutajar in April 16, 1987. This shark was also estimated to be around 7.13 m (24 ft).
The map below shows confirmed sightings of great white of great white sharks in the mediterranean sea since the early 20th century:
September 2, 2010
This is an update to an earlier 2008 post about my previous SD equipment setup.
Stepping up to HD
So finally I took the step up to HD video equipment with the Sony PMW EX1, Gates EX1 housing with 2 x 250W Green Force Squid HID lighting rig. Oh yeah, and I just had to go for the Fathom SWP44C Super Wide Port to top it off.
Having spent two years picking up some basic skills with the Panasonic AG-DVX100 and Equinox housing, it wasn’t until I got in the water with the new EX1 rig that I realised just how little about underwater videography I really knew… but also just what can be achieved when you step up the scale with your equipment.
The entire setup set me back around $23,000 which is well-below market value as I managed to get a great deal on some mint-condition used equipment from a great guy called Joe Holley (@ Marine Visions). For me that’s a great deal of cash but then again, now I have the type of rig that documentary professionals use when their main equipment fails…
- Larger format with greater detail (obviously!) – larger market for selling online clips
- Better all-round vision with external HD monitor – beats squinting one-eyed through the housing
- Fantastic manual control positioning and operation – those Gates engineers are incredible
- Up to 60 frames-per-second for slower playback speed (only available with 720 HD format) – for that NatGeo look, well almost
- Record directly to SxS solid-state memory cards – no tape capturing needed!
- Far better low-light sensitivity reducing video noise and giving sharper footage
- Zoom through capability from 120 degree wide angle to full zoom with Fathom SWP44C port
- A LOT! of light with the Green Force 250 HIDs
And that’s just a small sample of the main benefits I’ve found so far – given the EX1′s capability for firmware and software upgrades, the menu feature options just keep expanding with every update.
- Damn its heavy! about 35lbs (16Kg) in total – try freediving with that and not get the jitters before you jump in
- Extra baggage costs – one-way long-haul extra is generally around $400 extra – almost worth flying business class for the extra baggage allowance, almost…
- Limited recording time on expensive SxS cards – about 2hr of footage on $1000 32GB card
- No focus depth bar indicator on external housing monitor – or at least I’m still trying to work it out (let me know if you have!)
- Customs… I’m now starting to attract the attention of customs officers at destination airports…
So far I’ve only an opportunity to get the equipment wet once during a trip to Turks & Caicos. You can see some low-res sample clips here:
Actually to be truthful, I did get the gear in the water during a trip to South Africa for the Sardine run (you can read more about that disaster here: The Truth about the Sardine Run) but only manage to get some semi-decent dry-land nature shoots:
Future gear thoughts
I’m pretty sure that what I’ve got now is going to keep me busy and satisfied for the next few years but if I was to be keeping an eye on developments for the future for my next kit upgrade, I’d be watching these two:
Red Epic: if Gates decide to do a housing for it that is
Canon EOS 5D Mk11: with Full HD video capabilities I think that digital still cameras are going to start getting interesting for underwater video work. It opens an interesting possibility of being able to do video and still with the same kit – if they can work out how to integrate flash strobe and video lighting in one unit. Certainly the lower weight and size looks attractive compared to schlepping my existing gear round the planet…
March 31, 2009
I am a carnivore, I like to eat meat, I like to eat fish and I like to eat crustaceans. I’m not a tree-hugging hippy, I’m not a vegetarian and I’m not squeamish about killing for food. However there are three dishes that I will not eat: Veal, Shark-fin soup and Lobster.
Respectively I consider them to be: cruel, unnecessary and just down-right barbaric. At the same time I don’t judge others for doing so, with the exception of shark-fin soup which is idiotic (it won’t cure cancer), wasteful (the rest of the shark is thrown alive back into the ocean) and irresponsible (shark populations have been decimated by over 90% as a direct result of long-line fishing and fining practices).
My decision not to eat Lobster was based on an instinct that no matter what chefs might tell you, lobsters are bound to feel pain as they are boiled alive. I’m less than delighted to learn that my instinct may just have been proven correct…
Two new studies by Robin Elwood indicate that crustaceans feel both pain and stress.
From Discovery News
“In the past, some scientists reasoned that since pain and stress are associated with the neocortex in humans, all creatures must have this brain structure in order to experience such feelings. More recent studies, however, suggest that crustacean brains and nervous systems are configured differently. For example, fish, lobsters and octopi all have vision, Elwood said, despite lacking a visual cortex, which allows humans to see.
It was also thought that since many invertebrates cast off damaged appendages, it was not harmful for humans to remove legs, tails and other body parts from live crustaceans. Another study led by Patterson, however, found that when humans twisted off legs from crabs, the stress response was so profound that some individuals later died or could not regenerate the lost appendages.
Chris Sherwin, a senior research fellow in the Clinical Veterinary Science division at the University of Bristol, has also studied pain in invertebrates.
Sherwin told Discovery News, “The question of whether invertebrates experience pain is fundamental to our legislation that protects animals and our behavior, attitude and use of these highly complex organisms.”
He said that while the recent studies suggest crustaceans experience “something akin to pain, rather than fixed, reflex responses,” additional research is needed.”
Food for thought I guess, but I for one will continue to operate under the assumption that anything that must be boiled alive in order for it to taste good, is not food.
Full Discovery article HERE
March 19, 2009
Shot in PAL with a Canon AG-DVX100 and Equinox Pro8 housing and colour corrected using FinalCut Pro and Color. These clips represent a snapshot of the last 3 years of vacation diving and the immense pleasure gained from filming some of natureâ€™s greatest sights.
Click image above to view the gallery
Shots include dolphins, various tropical fish shoals, hard and soft corals, sealions, barracuda, lionfish, pufferfish, Napoleon wrasse, unicorn fish, oriental sweetlips, scribble fish, trigger fish, turtles and much, much more.
I will soon be upgrading my underwater filming equipment to the Sony PMW-EX1 with Gates housing so if you’re interested in buying my old equipment used to shoot the footage in this gallery, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll let you know when it goes up for sale on eBay.
|These clips & others can be downloaded in various high quality 25fps formats from my iStockvideo Lightbox “Underwater”:|
August 19, 2008
The goblin shark is a deep-sea shark with a most unorthodox shaped head. It has a long, trowel-shaped, beak-like snout, much longer than other sharks. Some other distinguishing characteristics of the shark are the color of its body, which is mostly pink, and its long, protrusible jaws, which basically means it look like an Alien…
Goblin sharks are found in the deep ocean, far below where the sun’s light can reach at depths greater than 200 m. They can be found throughout the world, from Australia in the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico in the Atlantic Ocean.They are best known from the waters around Japan, where the species was first discovered.
Goblin sharks feed on a variety of organisms that live in deep waters. Among some of their known meals are deep-sea squid, crabs and deep-sea fishes and occassionally they’ll have a go at diver’s arm, mmmhh!
Cheers for the tip Limbic