More than two decades ago, when Elizabeth Turner was still a graduate student studying fossilized microbial reefs, she hammered out hundreds of lemon-sized rocks from weathered cliff faces in Canada’s Northwest Territories. She hauled her rocks back to the lab, sawed them into 30-micron-thick slivers—about half the diameter of human hair—and scrutinized her handiwork under a microscope. Only in about five of the translucent slices, she found a sea of slender squiggles that looked nothing like the microbes she was after.
EVERY YEAR, GREAT white sharks travel over 12,000 miles from South Africa to Australia, charting a nearly perfect straight line across the ocean. And every year, they turn around and travel back. There are no street signs to guide them and, for much of the journey, no stable landmarks by which they can set their course. Currents and water temperatures change. The sun sets at night, the stars disappear during the day. But the sharks carry on.
The land mass that became Antarctica once sat along the Equator. Over Earth’s history, several supercontinents have broken up and come back together like the Backstreet Boys.
Thirty-six years after becoming the first American woman to walk in space, Kathy Sullivan has made history yet again. On Sunday, the 68-year-old oceanographer and former NASA astronaut became the first woman to reach the deepest known spot in the ocean after returning from a 35,810-foot dive from the Challenger Deep. At the same time, she also became the first person in history to have both walked in space and descended to the deepest part of the earth. Continue reading The first American woman to spacewalk has now conquered the deepest ocean
In 1979, researchers in the Eastern Pacific Ocean scooped up a small, never-before-seen shark with distinctive pockets near its gills. Another “pocket shark,” as the animal was dubbed, was not seen again until 2010, when a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship found one in the Gulf of Mexico. But as Mindy Weisberger reports for Live Science, a new study has revealed that the two specimens do not belong to the same species—highlighting just how much scientists have yet to discover about the creatures that live in the mysterious deep. Continue reading This New Shark Species Looks Like a Tiny Sperm Whale
Last weekend, two divers exploring the waters off the coast of Cornwall, England, had a surreal encounter with a roughly 5-foot-long barrel jellyfish. Continue reading Divers Encounter a Human-Size Jellyfish Off the Coast of England
The word “scallop” usually evokes a juicy, round adductor muscle—a seafood delicacy. So it isn’t widely known that scallops have up to 200 tiny eyes along the edge of the mantle lining their shells. The complexities of these mollusk eyes are still being unveiled. A new study published in Current Biology reveals that scallop eyes have pupils that dilate and contract in response to light, making them far more dynamic than previously believed. Continue reading What Scallops’ Many Eyes Can Teach Us About the Evolution of Vision