September 2011

Tunicates, an ancient sea species dating back nearly five hundred million years, possess incredible regeneration properties

Tunicate ‘hair’ could help repair damaged muscles

New research from the UK has discovered that tunicates, an ancient sea species dating back nearly five hundred million years, possess incredible regeneration properties.

Scientists at Manchester University discovered that the creatures’ microscopic hairs contain a compound with the ability to function as building blocks that could mend damaged muscle tissue. This discovery may have the potential to treat patients suffering from serious injuries and even permanent disabilities.


Biologists warn pet owners against releasing guppies

A joint study conducted by biologists at Scotland's St Andrews University and West Indies University experts has revealed that an entire population of guppies can be generated by the release of a single female fish. Biologists have confirmed the two primary means for the fish ending up in wild are the escape of ornamental fish and deliberate introductions designed to control mosquito larvae that spread malaria.

A rendition of U-533 resting on the seabed off Oman

German WW2 u-boat located off Oman

U-533 was a Nazi German U-Boat (Type IXC/40) that operated during World War II between April 15, 1943 and October 16, 1943. It was first launched on September 11, 1942 with a crew of 53, under the command of Helmut Hennig.

It was sunk by a Royal Air Force Blenheim bomber while it was operating in the Gulf of Oman. Of the crew of 53, only one survived by staying afloat without a life jacket for 28 hours until he was rescued by the HMS Hiravati near Khor Fakkan.

Anatomy of a bottom trawl.
Anatomy of a bottom trawl.

Anatomy of a bottom trawl

In doing so, they destroy fragile deep water ecosystems, which are extremely slow to recover. Many species of fish and other marine life at these depths are characterized by long life spans and slow reproduction, making them extremely vulnerable to modern mechanized fishing practices like trawling—the equivalent of bulldozing the seafloor.

Deep-water corals—some of which have been alive more than 4,000 years—sponges, and other animals are ripped from depths and then discarded as waste.

(File photo) Hawksbill sea turtle, Southern Belize

Previously unknown hawksbill turtle habitat found in Eastern Pacific

Mangrove forests, which are unique coastal tree and shrub habitats, are also under threat. They could represent an important breeding and nesting site for the species, which was thought to depend on coral reefs.

A team of scientists that has been tracking the hawksbill turtlesfor three years have found that the critically endangered animals nested in these estuaries.

"For upwards of five decades sea turtle scientists thought hawksbills had [disappeared from] the eastern Pacific Ocean", Dr Gaos told BBC Nature.