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.
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
The Greenland shark is one of the world’s largest marine species, reaching lengths over 19 feet. And yet these fish, which prefer the deep, cold waters of the Arctic and North Atlantic oceans, have largely eluded scientific study. Continue reading The World’s Most Ancient, Elusive Sharks Were Finally Caught on Video
A family of tourists in Canada’s Steveston Harbor recently got a treat when a friendly-looking sea lion sidled up to them in the water. The adorable animal came up to the edge of the wharf, and the family started feeding it. One young girl sat down to get a better look. That’s when the treat became a shock: the sea lion lunged upward and, in one fluid motion, grabbed a mouthful of the girl’s dress and yanked her down into the water.
One November night each year, beneath the full moon, more than 130 species of corals simultaneously spawn in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Some corals spew plumes of sperm, smoldering like underwater volcanoes. Others produce eggs. But most release both eggs and sperm, packed together in round, buoyant bundles as small as peppercorns and blushed in shades of pink, orange, and yellow.