Hidden in Paradise: Fascinating, Rare Dolphins and Whales You’ve Never Seen Before
Sometimes, it seems, large whales and talking dolphins get all the attention. Yes, we love these animals, too – how can you not? A humpback whale launching itself from the sea like a giant, blubbery rocket and crashing down with a triumphant spray of seafoam can impress even the most curmudgeonly of whale watchers.
But the pantheon of cetaceans includes far more than just our charismatic, coastal kin. Preferring deeper water and diving for more than an hour at a time, some species of whales and dolphins are rarely seen, and seldom studied. These animals slip stealthily between the waves at the surface and retreat into a deep blue world that we still know very little about.
It takes a determined observer to learn the patterns of a pod of dwarf sperm whales, for example, and predict where they’ll surface next.
No-take marine reserves make coral reefs more resilient.
"A new study finds no-take marine reserves, where fishing for parrotfish is prohibited, may make coral reefs six times more resilient to coral bleaching and other disturbances. Parrotfish eat algae, so a reef system with abundant parrotfish is more likely to recover from disturbance rather than “tip” into an undesirable state in which algae dominate. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions also improves coral resilience, but only in the long term.
"This added resilience is important because it shows that protecting parrotfish, through such measures as marine reserves and fisheries policies, increases the ability of corals to adapt to warming oceans," said Dr. Mumby, lead author of the study and a professor at University of Queensland in Australia. "In addition, it should reduce the loss of ecosystem services that reefs provide, such as support for fisheries and coastal protection from storms."
Credit: Sandra J. Raredon, Division of Fishes, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.This Japanese seahorse is just over one inch (2.5 cm) long. Its curly tail can anchor the seahorse to algae or coral.