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Posts Tagged ‘Arctic’


Another Holmsian inspiration!  I finally finished the complete Sherlock Holmes stories and this one caught my eye: The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane (click on the title for more info).  The animal this time, is quite real.

Cyanea!  Cyanea capillata!  --Sherlock Holmes

"Cyanea! Cyanea capillata!" --Sherlock Holmes

The Lion’s Mane Jellyfish or Cyanea capillata is on record the largest jellyfish ever found.  Its head was 2.3 meters in diameter and had tentacles 36.5 meters (120 ft) in length. 

The sticky tentacles are grouped into eight clusters, with each cluster containing 65-150 tentacles, arranged in a series of rows.  The bell is divided into eight lobes, giving it the appearance of an eight-pointed star.  The thin tentacles emanate from the bell’s subumbrella.  Size dictates coloration: larger specimens are a rich red or dark purple while smaller specimens have a more pale orange or tan coloration.

Its range is confined to the cold waters of the northern Pacific and Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.  Although most lion’s mane jellyfish (whose name was given as a result of their long tentalcles) can deliver a painful sting to swimmers, it is seldom deadly if treated and usually just results in temporary searing pain and red welts.  Although they normally reside in the deeper waters of the ocean, they will enter shallows at the end of their lives.  Lion’s mane jellyfish remain mostly very near the surface at no more than 20 m depth, moving via their slow pulsations and ocean currents.  The jellyfish are most often spotted during the late summer and autumn, when they have grown to a large size and the currents begin to sweep them closer to shore.

They act as protectors and a food supply for many smaller marine animals like shrimp and sea horses.  They themselves will eat plankton and smaller jellies, while they, in turn are hunted by sea birds, large fish, and sea turtles. 

These jellyfish are capable of both sexual reproduction in the medusa stage and asexual reproduction in the polyp stage.  For more on the contorted and confusing life cycle of the jellyfish (which I did not, in fact need to know for my Bio final (Thanks for making me waste all my time on that teacher whose name shall not be mentioned here)), go here: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/pub/seascience/jellyfi.html

P.S. You may also have noticed the new setup of my blogroll.  I made the realization that reading other blogs was taking up all my time, so I segregated them.  I will only regularly read my choice favorites.  Now, if you did not make the cut, it was nothing personal and I will still check up on you from time to time.  Sorry for any inconvenience, but it really was necessary for me.

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According to the Canadian Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife, the polar bear is not endangered or threatened with extinction due to increasing temperatures from global warming.  The committee did, however, begin a plan to protect the animals, whose numbers have been decreasing by around 22 percent.  They are currently listed as “special concern,” the lowest threatened level.

This Polar Bear Mother Leading her Cubs Across the Thinning Sea Ice May be a Rare Sight

Canada is home to around 15,500 polar bears, which accounts for about two-thirds of the global population.  Because summer sea ice is receding more and more each year, the population is declining.   Over-hunting and the oil industry have also hurt the numbers of the world’s largest land carnivore.  If current models hold true, half of the world’s polar bears will disappear by 2050. 

If the bear becomes, “threatened,” there would be bans on hunting or destroying the habitats of the animals.  This, of course, would not be applied to the native Inuit people.   The committee also called for tougher action to combat global warming as well.

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The Arctic ice always recedes in the summer and spreads during the winter.  However, last year’s recession was alarming: “By September, the ice cover had declined from its previous low, in 2005, by an area larger than Texas and California combined.  The amount of ice in the Arctic has been steadily receding.  In 1979 the ice had an area of 2.78 million square miles.  Last year, it was only a surprisingly low 1.65 million square miles.  It decreased around 44% during the late 19th century.  This research has shown that the melt of the Arctic is happening more rapidly than previously though.  By using computer models, several scientific organizations place the year of the demise of the northern ice cap to be in 1913 at this point.  But no, global warming is a myth, right, now go shovel that rain!

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The Effects of Global Warming in the Arctic

The Antarctic is not faring much better.  Just recently, ac hunk of Antarctic ice about seven times the size of Manhattan island suddenly collapsed into the ocean.  Satellite images show the destruction of a 160 square mile chunk of ice.  It was the edge of the Wilkins ice shelf and used to be there for hundreds, maybe up to 1,500 years.  This is the result of man-made global warming, said British Antarctic Survey and numerous other global scientific agencies.  The rest of the ice shelf, which is about the size of the state of Connecticut, is being held to the mainland by a thin piece of ice and is in severe danger of collapse.  Scientists predicted that the Wilkins shelf would collapse in around 15 years from now, so this too is ahead of schedule.

A site to help you debunk global warming skeptics: http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/02/how-to-talk-to-global-warming-sceptic.html

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