New Zealand

Giant manta ray. Photo by Scott Bennett
Giant manta ray

How big is it? Drones assisting in manta ray research

A global breakthrough in recording manta ray information has been made by an Auckland University doctoral candidate. In a study entitled “How Big Is That Manta Ray?” published in Drones, Edy Setyawan outlined how a drone camera, with the addition of a PVC pipe in the ocean, can be utilised to accurately measure the world’s largest ray species. “I could see that from the drone there was some size variation, some mantas, they are bigger than the others,” said Setyawan.

Jeroen Jongejans, Dive Tutukaka, New Zealand, scuba diving advocate, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, XRay Mag, X-Ray Magazine, scuba diving news, Poor Knights
Jeroen Jongejan pictured in February 2017 at Dive! Tutukaka. He wrote the following caption "Full boats, happy boy, thanks to fantastic shop crew!!"

Jeroen Jongejans of Dive! Tutukaka has died

Dive! Tutukaka posted the following on their Facebook page.

"Jeroen Jongejans, owner and founder of Dive! Tutukaka passed away suddenly last night. He was on the water, in his happy place - paddle boarding in Tūtūkākā Harbour. We are all struggling to come to terms with this loss. 

The Department of Conservation

A spokesman for the Department of Conservation (DoC) stated ''We in the conservation world in Northland are deeply feeling the loss of Jeroen. He was a long-term active member and chair of the Northland Conservation Board and was a passionate advocate for the Poor Knights Marine Reserve, actively promoting its uniqueness and conservation value from its creation, to this day,'' DoC said in a statement.

Tributes

"Where can I begin… Tutukaka, lost one of most shining stars, a true legend, that I had the pleasure to work for, for four years. A great entrepreneur, who create Dive! Tutukaka, one of the biggest and most efficient company in south hemisphere, a marine reserve, (that know working in Hawaii I See how right he is), two sunken war ships that created a massive artificial reef along TuUkaka coast, and many others great things.

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Palaeontologist and PhD student James Rule inspects the fossil skull of the newly identified monk seal species.
Palaeontologist and PhD student James Rule inspects the fossil skull of the newly identified monk seal species.

Discovery of seal fossils leads to new revelations

The discovery of the extinct monk seal species came about after an international team of biologists examined seven fossil specimens (including a complete skull) found on south Taranaki beaches in New Zealand between 2009 and 2016.

Named Eomonachus belegaerensis, the new species was about 2.5m long and weighed around 200 to 250kg. It is believed to have lived in the waters around New Zealand three million years ago.

Lockdown Local Diving

Photo by Kate Jonker: Speckled klipfish at Pinnacle dive site in Gordon’s Bay, South Africa

As many divers face travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, our contributors highlight the often overlooked or unsung yet intriguing diving that can be found in one's own backyard.

Sperm whales off Dominica. The sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) or cachalot is the largest of the toothed whales

2016 New Zealand quake disrupted sperm whales' foraging behaviour

In November 2016, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in New Zealand triggered underwater mudslides in the underwater canyon off the coastline. This led to high-velocity currents to flush 850 tonnes of sediment from the canyon into the ocean.

This "canyon flushing" caused what was once a diverse ecosystem of invertebrates along the Kaikoura underwater canyon to become as "quiet as a desert."

Lermontov Wreck

Make way for the shoreline— the ship is taking on water and fast! Perhaps these were not the exact words used to describe the situation, but the sinking of the MS Mikhail Lermontov has now become one of the largest diveable wrecks in New Zealand for both recreational and technical divers.

The New Zealand blue cod (Parapercis colias) is a temperate marine fish of the family Pinguipedidae
The New Zealand blue cod (Parapercis colias) is a temperate marine fish of the family Pinguipedidae

Marine reserves increase the abundance and size of blue cod and rock lobster

These findings indicate that MR (Marine Reserve) protection can result in more and bigger individuals soon after the establishment of the MR. Focused comparison tests did not reveal any relationship between rock lobster (Jasus edwardsii) or blue cod (Parapercis colias) size or abundance and either age or area of MRs.