Saltwater Crocodiles surf Ocean Currents

September 6, 2010

Saltwater_esturine_crocodileWith the exception of a Great White, or possibly an Oceanic White-tip (on a bad day), nothing terrifies me more than the prospect of meeting a 20ft (6m) Saltwater ‘Estuarine’ Crocodile out in the open Ocean. And apparently that’s not as unlikely as I would have hoped for!

Despite being poor swimmers, researchers have discovered that the saltwater crocodile (also known as estuarine) commonly travels long distances over open oceans by riding ocean currents. The discovery, published in Journal of Animal Ecology, solves an unknown mystery of why saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are found across vast distance in the Pacific, yet have not diverged into different species.

Researchers tracked 27 adult saltwater crocodiles for one year using tags and sonar transmitters. The tagging showed that crocodile individuals, both male and female, regularly traveled more than 50 kilometers from their local rivers into the open sea. One crocodile traveled 590 kilometers in 25 days; another traveled 411 kilometers in 20 days.

The saltwater crocodile’s range extends from India to Fiji and from southern China to northern Australia. They are the world’s largest crocodile species.

From Mongabay.com

Oh man, bring out the cello….

Having read this article I decided to read-up on where in the world precisely I might have a chance of bumping in to (or more like becoming a light snack of) one of these huge ocean-going beasts. Here’s what I found:

estuarine_crocodile_map

perhaps not so surprising that they frequent the region of the planet with the largest bio-diversity – and even less surprising that my number 1 must-see diving destination (planned for 2012) is PNG and is a veritable hot spot for the buggers! Great :(

Loggerhead turtles current-riding 20,000km round-trip

March 16, 2009

loggerhead_turtleA marine biologist has helped fill in the so-called lost years of Australia’s loggerhead turtles by discovering they are using ocean currents to undertake a 20,000-kilometre, round trip across the Pacific Ocean.

Dr Michelle Boyle, of the School of Marine and Tropical Ecology at James Cook University, Queensland, and colleagues used genetic testing to track the migratory behaviour of the Australian-born loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), which hatches in rookeries on the Queensland coast.

Boyle says it appears the endangered turtles use the ocean currents that make up the South Pacific gyre to travel across the southern Pacific Ocean to the waters off Peru and Chile.

In scenes reminiscent of the animated movie Finding Nemo, they then pick up the East Australian Current (EAC), which they “ride” down the coast of eastern Australia.

From ABC Science, Full Article HERE

Photos: The Amazing Sunfish in Bali

July 24, 2008

The sunfish is the largest and most fertile bony fish in the world. It is also the wierdest looking fish you’re ever likely to see.

Some sharks (such as the whale shark and great white) can grow larger, but these are cartilaginous fish, rather than bony fish. Sunfish can produce massive numbers of eggs: one female caught off Florida was carrying 300 million eggs. This makes the cane toad look quite modest, producing a mere 60,000 eggs per clutch.

Sunfish tend to lie on their side close to the surface of the ocean, appearing to bask in the warmth of the sun, say researchers at the Large Pelagic Research Lab at the University of New Hampshire. They may be ‘thermally recharging’ after diving to depths where their bodies have been significantly cooled by the deep water.

From ABC Australia: Read more

Lagoons of New Caledonia named a UNESCO World Heritage site

July 11, 2008

Lagoons of New Caledoni (France), Pacific Ocean.

Part of a French-controlled island cluster located about 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) east of Australia, the lagoons of New Caledonia—including those around the islet pictured above—make up the third largest coral reef structure in the world.

The healthy, intact marine ecosystems are home to threatened fish species, turtles, and the world’s third largest population of dugongs, large vegetarian mammals related to manatees.

The lagoons were named a UNESCO World Heritage site in July 2008.

From National Geographic: Read more

Coral Trout recover after Australian Fishing ban

June 25, 2008

BB-Films: “Is it just us? or is there odd about ‘scientists’ being surprised that fishing bans lead to recovery of fish stocks.???”

Australia’s coral trout have thrived under a fishing ban on the Great Barrier Reef, showing that no-take reserves can spur dramatic comebacks in overfished ocean habitats, new research suggests.

Coral trout is the common name of about a half-dozen fish species from the grouper and cod family targeted by commercial and recreational hook-and-line fisheries in Australia.

Scientists behind the new study found that the fish bounced back within two years after no-take reserves were established.

From National Geographic: Read more

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