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Marine Life & Conservation

Book Review: The Lives of Octopuses and Their Relatives

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The Lives of Octopuses and Their Relatives: A Natural History of Cephalopods by Danna Staaf

One of the joys of diving is meeting an octopus and seeing their immediate connection with you. They might reach out and gently touch your hand, they might change colour and texture to camouflage themselves, they always make eye contact. I often feel a real connection when I am diving with them. And no matter where you love diving, being it muck, wreck or reef diving, you will have encountered some of these intelligent creatures.

This book delves deeper into their world and the world of their close relatives the squid, cuttlefish and nautilus. It is beautifully illustrated and is packed with wonderful underwater photography. It starts off introducing the cephalopod group, looking at their evolution, biology, and some of their incredible adaptations.

It then looks at the huge range of ecosystems that they inhabit; from rock pools, seagrass, coral reefs to the open ocean. I think my favourite chapter covered the species that live in the deep. Who doesn’t love a Dumbo Octopus?

Within each habitat, there are detailed descriptions of some of the species that live there, covering their global range, size, and even a memorable behaviour. The book is lovely to browse through, but will also be my go-to post dive reading after a cephalopod encounter.

The book also looks at the many threats that we pose to their very survival, from industrial fishing to the climate crisis.

This books covers a lot of ground but does so in an extremely accessible way. Whether you are searching for information about a specific species or just browsing, you will end up spending hours pouring over the images and the astonishing facts about these charismatic animals.

What the publisher says:

An engaging and beautifully illustrated introduction to some of the world’s most interesting and charismatic marine creatures.

Dive deep into the fascinating world of cephalopods—octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, and the mysterious nautilus—to discover the astonishing diversity of this unique group of intelligent invertebrates and their many roles in the marine ecosystem. Organized by marine habitat, this book features an extraordinary range of these clever and colorful creatures from around the world and explores their life cycles, behavior, adaptations, ecology, links to humans, and much more. With stunning photographs and illustrations as well as profiles of selected species, The Lives of Octopuses and Their Relatives is a comprehensive, authoritative, and inviting introduction to the natural history of these charismatic creatures.

About the Author:

Danna Staaf is a science writer and educator with a PhD in marine biology. She spent six years studying Humboldt squid at Stanford University, and her first book, Squid Empire: The Rise and Fall of the Cephalopods, was named one of the best science books of the year by National Public Radio’s Science Friday.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £30

ISBN: 9780691244303

Published: 19th September, 2023

Pages: 288

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

The Shark Trust Great Shark Snapshot is back

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The last week of July will see the return of the Shark Trust’s citizen science initiative, The Great Shark Snapshot. It invites divers and snorkellers, all around the world, to record the sharks and rays that they see. This year it takes place between the 20th and 28th July.

The event is back for its 3rd year, and it is happening in “Shark Month”, more commonly known as July! To coincide with a series of events that celebrate all things shark and ray.

Divers, their clubs, dive centres, charter boats and liveaboards are all encouraged to show their support by organising dives and events through the week. As well as gathering vital data, the event will provide a chance to celebrate the incredible shark and ray species that live in our ocean.

Information about the species and numbers of sharks and rays the participants find over the week will be added to the Shark Trust’s Shark Log. This global shark census will, over time, allow shark scientists to build a picture of species distribution and any changes that occur

Caroline Robertson-Brown, Marketing Manager at the Shark Trust said “It is great to see this popular citizen science event back for its 3rd year. Whether you are diving your local dive site, or on a trip of a lifetime, we want divers to join in on the Great Shark Snapshot in July. I cannot wait to hear from the divers and dive organisations about the species of sharks and rays that they see. And where in the world they see them.”

It is easy to join in. Just go diving between 20th and 28th July and record every shark, ray and skate that you and your dive group sees. If possible, take photos and some video footage too. Then make sure that you record your sightings on the Shark Trust Shark Log recordings website or by using the Shark Trust app.

The Great Shark Snapshot is a way for divers to get together, go diving, and do something to help shark conservation. Why not dive in?

Find out more here: www.sharktrust.org/snapshot

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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the ocean cleanup
  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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Experience the Red Sea in May with Bella Eriny Liveaboard! As the weather warms up, there’s no better time to dive into the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea. Join us on Bella Eriny, your premier choice for Red Sea liveaboards, this May for an unforgettable underwater adventure. Explore vibrant marine life and stunning coral reefs Enjoy comfortable accommodation in our spacious cabins Savor delicious meals prepared by our onboard chef Benefit from the expertise of our professional dive guides Visit our website for more information and to secure your spot: www.scubatravel.com/BellaEriny or call 01483 411590 More Less

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