October 2011

A dugong (Dugong dugon) at the Sydney Aquarium in Sydney, Australia.
A dugong (Dugong dugon) at the Sydney Aquarium in Sydney, Australia.

Australian conservationists urge for new sanctuaries

"Environment Minister Tony Burke has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect tropical sealife across northern Australia. The government's recently proposed reserves must protect every one of these iconic areas from the threats of oil and gas drilling and overfishing", said Paul Gamblin from WWF-Australia.

"Unless large sanctuaries are established in these iconic places, Australia will not be able to claim that it is adequately protecting its tropical marine environment."

(file photo) Dive certification course session in a pool.

PADI to award 20 millionth scuba diving certification

PADI has been tracking certifications and will announce the winner after this goal has been reached. A countdown counter has launched on the PADI website that provides daily updates as the organization approaches this achievement, which they expect to reach by late September.

The diver to receive PADI's 20 millionth certification will win an all-expenses paid trip for two to explore natural wonder of the world, the Great Barrier Reef, and other local attractions such as the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, courtesy of Tourism Queensland.

Dolphins decompress too

It has been a widespread belief that marine mammals do not struggle, as human divers do, with decompression sickness - "the bends" - when ascending from great depths.

However, veterinary scientist Michael Moore from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in the US, thinks that it is "naive" to think that diving mammals do not also struggle with these laws of chemistry.

In some cases, camera strobes are sealed units that cannot be taken apart, which can pose a bit of a problem with over-zealous screeners. To this effect, some strobe manufacturers have issued a statement regarding the safety of bringing their units on planes. Print this statement out and bring it. In this case it has been attached to the strobe in question.

Travelling with Dive Equipment

Knives, spear-guns and other objects that can be used as weapons must, obviously, be checked. Any sharp objects packed in checked luggage should be securely wrapped to prevent injury to security screeners.

Michael Menduno - the man who coined the phrase 'Technical Diving' and founded aquaCORPS magazine

So, what is AquaCorps?

Jump back to the summer of 1996 and British Cave Diver Mike Thomas presents me with a copy of aquaCORPS magazine, (and I still have this issue in my office today). It was a defining moment in my diving career. Mike had taken me under his wing, showing me there was more than 30 metre, single tank, recreational, air diving. The aquaCORPS issue was N11, October / November 1995 and I vividly remember being thrilled to learn of a brave new world of diving.

Elysia chlorotica, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (CC BY 2.0)
Elysia chlorotica, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (CC BY 2.0)

Solar-Powered Sea Slug

Genes supporting photosynthesis have been acquired by the animal via horizontal gene transfer.

Some related slugs also engulf chloroplasts but E. chlorotica alone preserves the little green photosynthetic organelles called chloroplasts, from the algae it eats in working order for a whole slug lifetime of nearly a year. The slug readily sucks the innards out of algal filaments whenever they’re available, but in good light, multiple meals aren’t essential.