Last year brought what seemed like a disturbing omen to communities surrounding Europe's North Sea: A whole lot of beached sperm whales. As Gizmodo reported at the time, the whales entered the sea's shallow waters, where their internal sonar-like systems stopped working, causing them to become stranded and die. But scientists didn't know why the whales entered these dangerous shallow waters in the first place.
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A lot of creatures glow in the ocean's depths, where sunlight is slim to nil. But while most of these abyssal lightbulbs use their neon powers to hunt or avoid being hunted, deepwater corals may have beat everything else down there in terms of evolutionary creativity. New research indicates these corals glow in order to eat the meagre sunlight, turning their tissues into grow chambers that nourish tiny plants in a beam of artificial luminosity.
Hey, sailors! Welcome back to Animals Are Good: Cephalopod Week edition. Cephalopods, in case you're wondering, are a class of mollusks to which octopus, squid, and cuttlefish belong. As the week comes to a close, we'd like to give a much-deserved shoutout to one of the cutest tentacle-babies out there: the dumbo octopus (genus Grimpoteuthis).
Video: Before yesterday, Claire&Max's latest short film -- which shows what New York City would look like if climate change continued, unabated, and sea levels rose high enough to flood it -- was already unsettling. But with the US officially abdicating the Paris Agreement, this is now looks like a peek at a future that seems more and more likely.
In 2009, Kerry McPhail descended Jacques Cousteau-style towards the Axial Volcano, inside the cramped, 30-year-old little submarine DSV Alvin, with a pilot and another scientist. Four hundred and eighty kilometres off the coast of Oregon, they were collecting tubeworms, bacterial mats and bivalves living near a deep sea volcanic vent. These samples could potentially yield new pharmaceutical compounds -- and in turn, new chemical cures and desperately needed antibiotics that are yet undiscovered.
The only pool-related activities one could engage in on a cruise ship would involve swimming, as any attempts at snooker or billiards would be quickly undone by the motion of the ocean. To the rescue are these special pool tables, fitted with gyroscopes to keep them level, regardless of what the waves are doing.
Just about every month, it seems, we get a report on the dismal state of Arctic sea ice. By contrast, the shiny white stuff surrounding the Antarctic continent has been remarkably stable in a warming world. This year, however, the sea ice at our planet's south pole is crashing and scientists don't know why.
Video: It was the underwater match of the year. A swimmer crab and a red octopus squared off in mortal combat while divers circled round for a first-hand look at the coliseum spectacle nature had arranged for them. A tense battle played out as the two foes circled each other and kicked up a disorienting dust-cloud in their wake. But this sparring match would not end the way either of the opponents had intended.
Asteroid mining has gained steam in the popular psyche: who doesn't love the idea of flying up to one of the giant rocks flying by and somehow harvesting it of its precious metals like platinum. But today at the 2017 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences, scientists considered whether we should pursue another, far more likely alternative: mining the seafloor.
We already knew the deep ocean is full of nightmare creatures -- twisted amalgams of tooth, jaw and fin sprung to life from some tortured corner of the multiverse. But good news -- it gets even weirder! Scientists have just learned that one deep sea predator has a flexible attachment between its head and its skull that allows it to snap its jaws open like a Pez dispenser.
As currents shift in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, they bring an abundance of nutrients and plankton to the region, luring predators of all sizes. Swarms of anchoveta arrive first for an easy meal, but soon find themselves having to come up with unique ways to fend off larger predators like sharks and tuna. The result should be familiar to fans of the popular B-movie Sharknado.
As if the ocean wasn't already full of nightmares, researchers at MIT have developed a soft and flexible robot made of hydrogel, a material composed mostly of water. The new bot is quick, strong and almost completely invisible when submerged, allowing it to snatch up fish before they even realise they're being tracked.
Animals, like humans, communicate in lots of different ways. One of those ways, in animals as in humans, involves urinating on one another.