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The Great Barrier Reef Was Just Hit by a Flood of Polluted Water Visible From Space

The Great Barrier Reef just can’t catch a break. Year after year, this global treasure has been battered by cyclones and beaten by bleaching events. Now, with little time to recover, a part of the reef is being kicked while its down.

An exceptional year of rainfall in Queensland, Australia has caused a huge flood of polluted runoff to rush out to sea, straight towards the reef.

Satellite images show the muddy waters stretching from the swollen rivers of the Whitsundays to Cape Tribulation.

(NASA)

For the nearest reefs, some 60 kilometres away from shore, the floodwater has already arrived, possibly shielding the sun and smothering the life below.

The biggest fear, according to the ABC, is that the muddy waters contain common farming chemicals, like nitrogen or phosphorous, because these could kill off the nearby coral and seagrass.

The longer the murky cloud sits there, the more damage it could do, and without strong winds, the plume of polluted water may take a while to move on.

Right now, it’s not clear if or how the runoff has impacted the reef, but there’s not a lot more we can afford to lose.Back in 2016, 93 percent of the reef was reported to be bleached due to unseasonably warm weather, with 50 percent listed as dead or dying, and some think it can no longer be saved.

(NASA)

But there may be an upside to all of this. If the rivers transport cold water out to sea and if the clouds continue to block out the sun, this might be enough to cool down some underwater heatwaves headed for the region in the coming weeks.

“If you want to have a flipside to the story that would be one, yes,” marine scientists Frederieke Kroon told the ABC, “but it’s still a huge disturbance to the reef [after] the bleaching and the cyclones that we’ve had over the last couple of years.”

Source www.sciencealert.com

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Planet Earth

Latimeria found, lived on our planet long before the dinosaurs

The unique fish Latimeria chalumnae, also called “Coelacanth”, lived on our planet long before the dinosaurs. They were long thought to have disappeared around the same time, about 65 million years ago.

However, after 1938, when the first Latimeria was officially discovered by chance, it turns out that the Latimerians did not die, but live in the deep waters off the east and south coasts of Africa.

Later, a second type of Latimeria was discovered in Indonesia.

The oldest fossils of Latimeria are 360 ​​million years old, and the “freshest” are 80 million years old. At the same time, it should be known that there were a huge number of Latimerians, at least 90 different species. They have been distributed worldwide, in sea and fresh waters.

Latimeria stand out against the modern fishes with their unusual fins, more like limbs, and a wedge-shaped tail. Their bodies are covered with solid scales, similar to armor.

Latimeria are pretty big fish. They can reach up to 2 meters in length and weigh up to 90 kg. At the same time, the fact that no one has found them for so long is amazing.

Even after this species has been officially recognized as being extant, the Latimeria is still rare and can only be found through specific monitoring in the waters where it has been observed.

Latimeria swim slowly and feed on cephalopods and deep-sea fishes. Often, they were discovered in groups in underwater caves. They live to about 48 years. Females give birth to live individuals after a long pregnancy of 13 months.

The first discovered Latimeria

The history of the Coelacanth is the cornerstone that supports the belief of many cryptozoologists that the mysterious Yeti, sea monsters, Chupacabra and other cryptids, actually exist, but simply have not yet been found.

At least two species of Latimeria, and perhaps more, have survived to this day without hiding at all. In addition, as mentioned above, Latimeria’s “freshest” fossils date back to 80 million years.

Just imagine this huge period of time during which archeologists have not found a single skeleton of Latimeria, even though they existed all this time.

According to some reports, there are populations of 300-400 individuals near the coasts of Africa and Indonesia. This comes after several years of increased illegal fishing. In the 1980s, the Latimerians were hunted (supposedly) because of the healing properties of their meat, and before that there were probably several thousand of them.

But if they were initially much smaller, they would probably never have been discovered at all, still considered extinct.

And the rare stories of local fishermen about “fish with a foot and a shell ” would be considered the same fiction as the stories of Africans about living dinosaurs.

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Planet Earth

Humpback Whales Have Made a Stunning Recovery After Coming Close to Extinction

Elias Marat, The Mind Unleashed

After coming dangerously close to the brink of extinction, the humpback whale population in the South Atlantic Ocean has made a stunning rebound, according to scientists.

Around 60 years ago, it was estimated that the western South Atlantic (WSA) humpback whale population had been thinned out to less than 500.

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Planet Earth

The heartbeat of a blue whale is recorded for the first time

Blue Whales can survive with two beats per minute in the ocean depths and now for the first time heartbeat of a blue whale is recorded.

heartbeat of a blue whale is recorded

When a blue whale feeds, it skips several heartbeats, sometimes up to 30. this is what a team of marine biologists has discovered after being able to record the heartbeat of a blue whale, on the coast near California. To do this, a suction pulse monitor was placed on his back.

The researchers watched as the marine giant emerged and submerged again for a period of almost 9 hours, alternately filling its lungs with air and its stomach with appetizing schools of fish hundreds of meters below the surface.

During the dives, the whale’s heart has brutal ups and downs, pumping from 34 times per minute on the sea surface to only 2 per minute at the deepest depths – between 30 and 50% slower than expected to be recorded.

According to the new study published in PNAS, the simple act of opening the mouth to eat takes the heart of the cetacean to its physical limits, something that could explain why there are no creatures larger than the blue whale on the planet.

“Animals that function at physiological extremes can help us understand the biological limits of size,” said lead author Jeremy Goldbogen, an assistant professor at Stanford University in California. “In other words: if the heart of a whale is not able to pump faster during the effort required in the search for food, how could it support the heart of an older animal and provide the required energy?”

The largest animal in the world Blue Whale

Blue whales are the largest creatures that have ever inhabited the oceans (the Patagotitan mayorum dinosaur was consecrated as the largest terrestrial creature that has stepped on the planet, after its study and classification in 2014 ).

Upon reaching adulthood, the blue whale can be more than 30 meters long, more or less the length of two school buses parked one after the other. It takes a big heart to drive a beast of such size; and while this organ is not so large that a human can swim inside one of its arteries, as an urban myth says, the truth is that stranded whales have allowed hearts to recover up to 200 kilograms and the size of a golf cart .

Blue whale heart. With a weight of 200 kg, it was extracted from a specimen that found its final destination on the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, in 2014. heartbeat of a blue whale is recorded
Blue whale heart.
With a weight of 200 kg, it was extracted from a specimen that found its final destination on the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, in 2014.

Scientists already knew that the pulse of these cetaceans decreased in the aquatic environment. When mammals submerge, their bodies automatically begin to redistribute oxygen; The heart and brain are the ones that most demand oxygen, while your muscles, skin and other organs receive less. This allows animals to stay underwater for longer with a single inhalation, resulting in a lower than normal heart rate. This is so true for humans who like diving as for blue whales, however, given the enormous size of the whale and its ability to reach 300 meters below the surface, their hearts are pushed to limits beyond our own. .

Change in the heartbeat of a blue whale with change in depth

In the creature studied, its maximum immersion lasted 16.5 minutes, reaching a depth of 184 meters. On the other hand, he never spent more than 4 minutes on the surface to fill his lungs with air.

The sensor set by the scientists showed that in the deepest dives, the heart of the whale beat at an average rate of 4 to 8 times per minute, with a minimum of only 2 beats per minute. “During these beats that were so temporarily separated, the flexible aortic artery of the animal contracted to maintain a slowed movement of the oxygenated blood through the body,” the researchers write.

Back on the surface, the heart rate accelerated rapidly to 25 to 37 beats per minute, charging the bloodstream with enough oxygen to support the next dive. “At that time the heart of the whale was working near its physical limit,” the authors add. “It is unlikely that your heart can beat faster than that.”

Source: Live Science

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