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Jason Heller | Oct 31, 2007 2:00 AM
The oldest known fossils of jellyfish have been found in rocks in Utah that are more than 500 million years old, a new study reports. The fossils are an unusual discovery because soft-bodied creatures, such as jellyfish, rarely survive in the fossil record, unlike animals with hard shells or bones
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Jason Heller | Oct 31, 2007 2:00 AM
Fluorescent proteins found in nature have been employed in a variety of scientific research purposes, from markers for tracing molecules in biomedicine to probes for testing environmental quality. Until now, such proteins have been identified mostly in jellyfish and corals, leading to the belief that the capacity for fluorescence in animals is exclusive to such primitive creatures
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Jason Heller | Oct 31, 2007 2:00 AM
Coral reefs would receive stronger protections under a bill the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved today. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawai'i, the bill's sponsor and chairman of the committee, called coral reef preservation "vital" to national interests, especially for fishing, tourism and coastal communities. "Coral reef-related services and resources are worth billions of dollars each year to the U.S. economy and economies worldwide," he said. Coral reefs are critical for Hawai'i, which is host to more than 410,000 acres of living reef around the main islands alone, Inouye said. The bill, which would reauthorize a law enacted seven years ago, would make it illegal to damage corals. It would exempt scientific research, fishing, emergency responses and other activities authorized by federal and state laws
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Jason Heller | Oct 30, 2007 2:00 AM
After a long development cycle, we are incredibly proud to announce and unveil to the world, The New DivePhotoGuide.com! Since 2005 DivePhotoGuide has provided unique resources for underwater photographers & videographers of all levels from around the world. The new website is designed to be rich in content and to provide a platform for participation - in a very unique way
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Jason Heller | Oct 29, 2007 2:00 AM
As the federal government is set to finalize stricter limits on fishing the Gulf of Mexico's popular red snapper, fisheries regulators are under heightened pressure to rebuild at least four other beleaguered Gulf fish stocks in upcoming months. Though not as highly prized as snapper, greater amberjack, gray triggerfish and red and gag grouper have come under increased pressure from commercial and recreational anglers in recent years. A report this summer from the National Marine Fisheries Service made that clear, showing that all four of those species, along with red snapper, are subject to overfishing, meaning the species is being harvested too fast to reach optimal growth in the future. New federal fisheries laws require regulators to set new limits on fishing within a year after a species is subject to overfishing. In response, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is meeting this week in Biloxi, Miss., to consider new regulations on amberjack, grouper and triggerfish. The council is not expected to make a final regulation decision for any of the species this week, but will likely lay the groundwork for a determination by January. The new plans for the fish species will be one of the first proving grounds for a new federal fisheries law requiring regulators to monitor how the species is being harvested throughout the rebuilding plan. The law is meant to prevent the delays in management that led to a federal judge intervening on behalf of the red snapper earlier this year
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Jason Heller | Oct 29, 2007 2:00 AM
The Humane Society of the United States is urging organizers of the Destin Fishing Rodeo to permanently end the shark division event after the killing of an 844-pound mako shark. The Humane Society sent a letter to the Rodeo at the request of local citizens. Dr. John Grandy, senior vice president for wildlife and habitat protection at the Humane Society of the United States, said, uA?Spectacles such as the Shark Division of the Destin Fishing Rodeo are preying on the destructive reputation that sharks achieved in the movie Jaws, while promoting the idea that the lives of sharks don't matter
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Jason Heller | Oct 29, 2007 2:00 AM
A clam dredged up off the coast of Iceland is thought to have been the longest-lived animal discovered. Scientists said the mollusc, an ocean quahog clam, was aged between 405 and 410 years and could offer insights into the secrets of longevity. Researchers from Bangor University in north Wales said they calculated its age by counting rings on its shell. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest-lived animal was a clam found in 1982 aged 220 Unofficially, another clam - found in an Icelandic museum - was discovered to be 374-years-old, Bangor University said, making their clam at least 31 years older. The clam, nicknamed Ming after the Chinese dynasty in power when it was born, was in its infancy when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne and Shakespeare was writing plays such as Othello and Hamlet
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Jason Heller | Oct 29, 2007 2:00 AM
An Intergovernmental Panel on the Oceans should be established to better inform policy-making, in much the same way as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change does today, marine policy experts say. That conclusion was reached at a meeting of international marine policy experts that convened in New York. The experts warned that, in conjunction with the predicted effects of climate change, activities such as ocean iron fertilization, seismic testing and bioprospecting threaten to undermine the ocean's ability to sustain life
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Jason Heller | Oct 27, 2007 2:00 AM
A grant will fund a study of deep-water reefs in isle waters A team of Hawaii-based scientists will use a $1.4 million federal grant to study deep-water corals in the Auau Channel between Maui and Lanai over the next three years. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced yesterday that the grant will go to a team of researchers from the Bishop Museum, the University of Hawaii departments of plant biology and geology, the state Division of Aquatic Resources and NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. The coral habitats to be examined are in water 100 to 300 feet deep. Most corals live at depths down to 40 feet, NOAA project scientist John Rooney said. "We know very little about deep coral reefs," agreed Tony Montgomery, a state aquatic biologist. "We want to document as many species as we can" and learn about all the plants and animals that live in and around the coral, he said
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Jason Heller | Oct 27, 2007 2:00 AM
The threat of the grey nurse shark's extinction is scarier than sharing a dive with it, writes Genevieve Swart. I am 20 metres underwater, gazing at three grey nurse sharks and breathing heavily into my scuba gear. The three-metre sharks hang in a current, drifting with the immense grace and lazy power of a sleek predator. To the casual observer, it might not be clear who is most endangered in this situation. The answer is unequivocally the sharks. With fewer than 500 grey nurses surviving off the east coast, future generations of Australians may never see these critically endangered creatures anywhere other than an aquarium. I've come to South West Rocks, five hours' drive north of Sydney, to dive with the sharks - a trip inspired by the book Last Chance to See, by Douglas Adams and zoologist Mark Carwardine
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