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Marine Life & Conservation

Divers help to clean up Dubai Beach on Second World Underwater Clean-Up Day

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Items which should be in landfills — discarded car tyres, a toilet seat, flip flops, and lots and lots of plastic bottles — were recovered from the shores of Dubai and underwater near the Skydive Dubai Dropzone near Palm Jumeirah on Saturday for the second World Underwater Clean-up Day.

Some 31 licensed underwater divers and 40 non-divers discovered early morning Saturday that the beach proved a convenient dumping ground for trash by some residents.

The clean-up team, composed of officials from Skydive Dubai, Dubai Municipality, Fazza Marine, and Pavilion Dive Centre, started at 6am to clean up the beach and underwater area. At least 50 sacks of litter were collected and brought for recycling after the event.

The clean-up was held simultaneously in more than 80 countries across the globe to clean all types of water debris from seas, lakes, and rivers. The initiative also aims to enter the record books for the Most Participants in an Underwater Clean-up in Multiple Venues for the Guinness World Records.

 “People need to be made aware of the damage trash does not just to the environment but also to marine life,” Alan Gayton, operations manager of Skydive Dubai said, referring to marine life such as sea turtles that die due to ingesting plastic, mistaking it for food.

Much of the trash collected on Saturday had most probably come from the beach and boat users near the area, Gayton said.

Elena Lokatskaya, Assistant Manager of Pavilion Dive Centre, said the most unusual trash they found was “lots of rubber flip flops” or slippers. Although nine months pregnant, Lokatskaya participated in the on-shore clean-up drive to stress the fact that the future of our oceans depends on what we do today.

“We can make a difference today for a better tomorrow. No matter where we’re from, who we are, we all need to work together in protecting the ecosystem,” Lokatskaya said.

The clean-up teams covered two areas—the Logo Island with a depth of seven to nine metres and an area of 57.4 metres, and Skydive Dubai Jetty with a depth of two to five metres.

 

Source: www.gulfnews.com

Photo: Abegail Bokingo

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The life of a Great White Shark

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Great White Shark

The great white shark, known scientifically as Carcharodon carcharias, embodies the apex predator of the ocean. This majestic creature’s life is a testament to survival, adaptability, and the intricate balance of the marine ecosystem.

Born in the waters off coastal regions, a great white shark begins its life as a pup within the safety of nurseries, typically found in warm, shallow waters. The pups, measuring around 5 feet in length at birth, are immediately equipped with an innate instinct for survival.

Great White Shark

As they grow, great whites embark on a journey, venturing into deeper and cooler waters, often covering vast distances across the ocean. These apex predators are perfectly adapted hunters, relying on their impressive senses to detect prey. Their acute sense of smell, aided by specialized sensory organs known as ampullae of Lorenzini, helps detect the faintest traces of blood in the water from several miles away.

Feeding primarily on seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals, great whites are known for their powerful jaws lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth. Their hunting techniques often involve stealth, utilizing their streamlined bodies to approach prey from below and striking with incredible speed and force.

Great White Shark

Despite their fearsome reputation, great whites play a crucial role in maintaining the health of marine ecosystems. As top predators, they help regulate the population of prey species, preventing overpopulation that could disrupt the balance of the food chain.

Reproduction among great white sharks is a slow and careful process. Females reach sexual maturity between 12 and 18 years of age, while males mature earlier, around 9 to 10 years old. Mating occurs through complex courtship rituals, with females giving birth to a small number of live pups after a gestation period of about 12 to 18 months.

Great White Shark

However, the life of a great white shark is not without challenges. Human activities, including overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction, pose significant threats to their population. Additionally, despite their formidable presence, great whites are vulnerable and face dangers from entanglement in fishing gear and accidental bycatch.

Despite these challenges, great white sharks continue to inspire awe and fascination among scientists and nature enthusiasts. Their presence in the ocean serves as a reminder of the delicate balance and interconnectedness of marine life, emphasizing the need for conservation efforts to protect these magnificent creatures for future generations to admire and study.

Want to learn more about sharks? Visit The Shark Trust website: www.sharktrust.org

Photos: avalon.red

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Marine Life & Conservation

Book Review: Sea Mammals

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Sea Mammals: The Past and Present Lives of Our Oceans’ Cornerstone Species by Annalisa Berta

This is a book packed with information about some of the most iconic and charismatic marine species. I have a particular soft spot for the pinnipeds, seals and sea lions, due to some incredible diving encounters over the years. So these were the pages I first turned to.

Once picked up this book is hard to put down. Polar Bears, Narwhal, Sea Otters, manatees, whales and dolphins adorn the pages with beautiful photographs and illustrations. Each turn of the page lures you in to discover more about a species you love, one you want to learn more about, some you have never heard of and even includes the details of fascinating animals that are sadly now extinct.

I think what I love most about this book is how it is organised. Rather than simply lump the animals into taxonomic groupings, they are put into chapters that tell you a story about them. Whether it is the story of their evolution, how they were discovered, their biology, behaviour or need for conservation. Once you have decided on an animal to delve deeper into, each species has its own story, as well as key information about size, diet, distribution, habitat and conservation status.

There is plenty to enjoy in this delightful book. Plenty to learn too. As the cold dark nights draw in, I can see myself delving into this book time and time again. This is a perfect gift for anyone that loves the ocean and its inhabitants. Or just treat yourself.

What the publisher says:

From the gregarious sea otter and playful dolphins to the sociable narwhal and iconic polar bear, sea mammals are a large, diverse, and increasingly precious group. In this book, Annalisa Berta, a leading expert on sea mammals and their evolution, presents an engaging and richly illustrated introduction to past and present species of these remarkable creatures, from the blue whale and the northern fur seal to the extinct giant sperm whale, aquatic sloth, and walking sea cow.

The book features more than 50 individual species profiles, themed chapters, stunning photographs, and specially commissioned paleo-illustrations of extinct species. It presents detailed accounts of these mammals’ evolutionary path, anatomy, behavior, habitats, and conservation. And because these are key species that complete many food chains and have the widest influence of all sea life, the book also offers insights into a broad variety of marine worlds today and in the future.

About the Author:

Annalisa Berta is professor emerita of biology at San Diego State University. A specialist in the anatomy and evolutionary biology of marine mammals, especially baleen whales, she formally described a skeleton of the early pinniped Enaliarctos. She is the author of Return to the Sea: The Life and Evolutionary Times of Marine Mammals and the editor of the award-winning Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises: A Natural History and Species Guide.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691236643

Published: 26th September, 2023

Pages: 224

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