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Red sea urchins lining the seafloor can “see”….

Sea urchins may use the entire surfaces of their bodies—from the ends of their “feet” to the tips of their spines—as huge eyes.

Scientists had already known the marine invertebrates react to light without any obvious eye-like structures—raising the question of how the animals see.

Previous genetic analysis of the California purple sea urchin had revealed that the animals possess a large number of genes linked with the development of the retina—the light-sensitive tissue lining the inner eyeball in people and other vertebrates.

This and other research suggested that sea urchin might rely on light-receptor cells randomly scattered across their skin, which collectively function like retinas.

Scientists had theorized the animals’ spines simulate the light-blocking pigmented cells found in most animals’ eyes. Because light-receptor cells in the retina can soak up light from every direction, pigmented cells work to block light from the back and the sides so animals can “see” what’s in front of them.

Now, however, the scientists have found two distinct groups of bristly, light-receptor cells concentrated at the bases and tips of the purple sea urchin’s 1,400-plus tube feet. These long, suction-tipped tubes, located on the undersides of sea urchin bodies, help the organisms move.

The team suspects that sea urchins use their tube feet as retinas and the rest of their bodies to shield against the extra incoming light, said researcher Maria Ina Arnone, a developmental biologist at Anton Dohrn Zoological Station in Naples, Italy.

Prior studies did find the number and placement of spines on a sea urchin could affect how sharp its vision might be, and this new find “might well be part of the picture,” Arnone added.

SeaUrchin-kit

Ocean Care Solutions Sea Urchin first aid kit..don’t get stung without it!!

Australian Bull Ray….Stingray

The Australian bull ray has a disc that is wider than it is long. The snout is blunt with a skirt-shaped inter nasal flap as well as a single fleshy lobe that surrounds the snout and almost reaches the pectoral fins. The medium-sized eyes are located on the sides of the head and the spiracles are large. The pectoral fins which make up the “wings” of this ray originate below the eyes. The margins of the pectoral fins are deeply concave and the tips are highly angular. There is a small dorsal fin that originates over or just behind the pelvic fin rear tips and is anterior to the spine on the tail. The tail is elongate and whip-like and has a venomous stinging spine located just behind the dorsal fin.
Stingray first aid kits available through DFA, on line or at your favorite retail beach/dive shop…don’t get stung without it!!

Golden Stingray commonly found in the Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea…

The most common sting ray found in the Eastern Atlantic (North Sea, Baltic to Mauritania) as well as the Mediterranean and Black Sea is the Pastinaca or Golden Stingray. This ray has a rhomboid shaped disc with straight anterior margin and mildly convex posterior margin with a pointed snout and a small protrusion. Generally skittish about human intrusion but has proven tolerant while feeding. This ray is dangerous to swimmers and salt water sports fishermen to poisonous barbed spine.  Don’t forget the shuffle but if you do…

Stingray-kit

Stingray first aid kits available on line or at your favorite retail beach/dive shop…don’t get stung without it!!

 

 

Lionfish Distribution as of 2012 as reported by the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) with a great deal of data provided by NOAA and REEF.

Invasive Species: Indo-Pacific LionFish (Pterois volitans) in the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea!

GVI Mexico – August Achievements

The invasion of lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific, into the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea is not only one of the most rapid in marine history but also having extremely detrimental effects to local species and ecosystems.

Recently introduced via un/intentional release, they have spread extremely quickly throughout the Caribbean, since their first sightings around Florida in 2000, they have spread as far south as Venezuela within 10 years1.

While in their native habitat, lionfish breed seasonally, invasive lionfish in the Atlantic have been documented breeding all-year round2. They can produce between 4000 and 30,000 eggs each time they spawn which are then dispersed great distances along oceanic surface currents, during an estimated pelagic larval duration of 20 to 35 days, before settlement3. Unlike other fish species, Lionfish can settle on and inhabit nearly all marine habitat types and depths between surface levels to over 300m, in temperatures between10-35 degrees Celsius4,5. However, with the rising sea temperatures due to global warming, this potentially invasive region is increasing. Lionfish are also generalist carnivores that can consume over 70 species of fish, up to half their own body length, including commercially, recreationally, and ecologically important species6. On heavily invaded sites, lionfish consume native fish at unsustainable rates. As such, food competition can also lead to depleting food sources for native carnivores.

Here at Pez Maya we have been collecting information on the invasive lionfish so as to document its effects on the local ecosystem. So far this year the average number of sightings per dive per week has been slowly increasing.

As well as a steady increase in the average number of sightings per dive, there is also a noticeable increase in the sizes of lionfish seen on our dive sites. This general increase in size supports theories that invasive lionfish are larger than they are in their native ranges7, suggesting higher levels of local prey consumption and lionfish reproduction this year. In fact, we caught three individuals, one male and two females, that had fully developed and spawning capable gonads or very developed gonads nearing spawning capability.                                                                                                                

Lionfish can inhabit nearly all habitat types, including important nursery areas such as mangroves and lagoon areas, and other areas with high levels of trophic interaction such as the fore-reef and reef crest. As such we have frequently observed lionfish within the reserve at our inner-reef dive sites, such as “Gardens”, which are commonly used as a nursery habitat for juvenile reef fish.

Invasive adult lionfish, however, have been documented as having a preferred microhabitat of complex topographical structures, especially overhanging structures, and lots of coral cover8, such as our dive site “Special K”. As such, the invasive lionfish exhibited similar patterns of microhabitat occupancy as two local, and already over fished, species; the Grouper and Snapper complex, as seen at our local dive site “Hang 10”. The additional stress put on these species through this direct food competition is hindering any efforts to replenish the declining Grouper and Snapper populations.

As discussed before, on heavily invaded reefs lionfish can consume prey faster than their production on, or recruitment to, the reef. As such, the additional stress put on these species through this direct food competition is hindering any efforts to replenish the declining Grouper and Snapper populations. Also, the lionfish is having a negative impact on the Meso-American barrier reef system through the unsustainable consumption of newly recruited herbivorous species by invasive lionfish is limiting algal grazing on a reef system that is already in threat of a shift to an algal dominated reef.

Lionfish feed primarily on teleosts, fish with bony skeletons, which include the majority of the local marine species, and few other crustaceans, primarily shrimps, more commonly consumed by smaller classes of lionfish. However, lionfish are generalist consumers and will quickly abandon their usual diet for any abundant food source.

Because lionfish captured and removed from an area would “be replaced largely through larval recruitment rather than migration of older individuals”9, “localized control efforts would need to be carried out frequently in order to maintain a  younger, smaller population”10, which can be very costly and  makes eradication programs extremely difficult.

However, the data collected here is very useful for future planning of local control efforts and will hopefully be used to co-ordinate our future lionfish control efforts which, if implemented well, can control local populations and even generate income for local communities. Also, and possibly more importantly, lionfish ceviche is a very welcome addition to base cuisine!

 

To find out more about the research going on in Mexico, please have a search through our current programs, ourblog, or feel free to contact us for more information – we would love to hear from you!

Alternatively, you can make a difference to our projects in Mexico now by making a donation to our Charitable Trust project, ‘Protect Marine Ecosystems in Mexico’.

 

1: Morris, J (2009): Biology, Ecology, Control and Management of the Invasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish: An Updated Integrated Assessment

2: Morris, J (2011): Oogenesis and spawn formation in the invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans)

3: Green, S (2011): Potential effects of climate change on a marine invasive: The importance of current context

4: Biggs, C (2011): Multi-scale habitat occupancy of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) in coral reef environments of Roatanm Hondorus

5: Kimball, M: (2004) – Thermal tolerance and potential distribution of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans/ miles complex) on the east coast of the        United States.

6: Green, S (2012):  Invasive Lionfish Drive Atlantic Coral Reef Fish Declines

7: Green, S (2011): Indo-Pacific lionfish are larger and more abundant on invaded reefs: a comparison of Kenyan and Bahamian lionfish populations

8: Biggs, C (2011): Multi-scale habitat occupancy of invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans) in coral reef environments of Roatanm Hondorus

9: Barbour, A: (2011): Evaluating the Potential Efficacy of Invasive Lionfish (Pterois volitans) Removals.

10: Ibid

 

How do Jellyfish sting??

The science of cnidocytes and nematocysts

Sea jellies don’t sting through electricity or by touch. A sea jelly sting through a special type of cell called a Cnidocyte, there are three types of cnidocytes currently known. Spirocysts which entangle their prey, Ptychocysts which build tubes for tube anemones and the most well known Nematocysts. Nematocysts consist of a toxic barb which is coiled on a thread inside the cindocyte, when triggered the barb is ejected almost instantly taking only 700 nanoseconds to fire and firing with a force of five million g’s. A cindoctye can only fire once, and must be replaced when fired a process that could take 2 days.

Sea jellies sting their prey using nematocysts, also called cnidocysts, stinging structures located in specialized cells called cnidocytes, which are characteristic of all Cnidaria. Contact with a jellyfish tentacle can trigger millions of nematocysts to pierce the skin and inject venom, yet only some species’ venom cause an adverse reaction in humans. When a nematocyst is triggered by contact by predator or prey, pressure builds up rapidly inside it up to 2,000 pounds per square inch (14,000 kPa) until it bursts. A lance inside the nematocyst pierces the victim’s skin, and poison flows through into the victim. Touching or being touched by a jellyfish can be very uncomfortable, sometimes requiring medical assistance; sting effects range from no effect to extreme pain to death. Even beached and dying jellyfish can still sting when touched.

Scyphozoan jellyfish stings range from a twinge to tingling to agony. Most jellyfish stings are not deadly, but stings of some species of the class Cubozoa and the Box jellyfish, such as the famous and especially toxic Irukandji jellyfish, can be deadly. Stings may cause anaphylaxis, which can be fatal. Medical care may include administration of an antivenom.

Detailed Video of firing nematocysts

Jellyfish are the major non-polyp form of individuals of the phylum Cnidaria. They are typified as free-swimming marine animals consisting of a gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles. The bell can pulsate for locomotion, while stinging tentacles can be used to capture prey.

Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. A few jellyfish inhabit freshwater. Large, often colorful, jellyfish are common in coastal zones worldwide. Jellyfish have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years, and possibly 700 million years or more, making them the oldest multi-organ animal.

IMG_3501
Re-post of orginal..Posted by Jonathan Lowrie  Musings by a Mad Jellyfish

Ocean Care Solutions new Lionfish Sting 1st Aid Kit expands company family of marine sting first aid products

Ocean Care Solutions is devoted to providing safe and effective marine sting first aid products for the consumer.  Our products have been tested true as each individual kit follows the medically accepted first aid protocol supported by life saving agencies, physicians and medical facility research groups worldwide.  Each kit has all the components necessary, with easy to follow instructions, to provide immediate 1st aid medical attention on a variety of marine stingers.  No matter what you pleasure at the ocean; sport fishing, surfing, scuba, distance swimming, snorkeling or just hangin’ out in the surf, always be prepared with Ocean Care Solutions first aid products….Available on line or select retailers…Ask for it by name..You’ll be glad your did !!

ocs fmly5 IMG_0032

 

Beachhunter.net David McRee product review of Ocean Care Solutions new Lionfish Sting 1st aid kit.

Reducing Lionfish Polulations..

Faced with a dramatic reduction of native populations of fish–which support fishing and diving recreational tourism–nearly everyone is working to reduce the lionfish populations. From spearfishing to hook and lining, any method to get them out of the water is seen as a step in the right direction. Citizen organizations like LionFishHunters and The Lionfish PSA have sprung up to educate the public and direct us toward steps necessary to control this opportunistic species.

Especially in the Florida Keys, locals are trying hard to put lionfish on the menu in seafood restaurants, hoping we can eat them into submission. Lionfish is reported to have an excellent taste and is often compared to hogfish or snapper. It’s not dangerous to eat because the poison is only contained in the spines. The meat is safe to eat.

Want to know how to clean and cook a lionfish? Here’s a great 4 minute video to show you how:

For a very well produced video by CNN on the lionfish problem, check out the 7 minute video below:

Below are some additional links to information about the Florida lionfish “invasion.”

Reef.org – Report a lionfish sighting and learn more about the whole lionfish thing, including links to some restaurants that have lionfish on the menu.

Mote Tropical Research Lab lionfish info. An excellent web site with a lot of information and links to other resources.

Content courtesy of David McRee..Beachhunter.net

http://www.blogthebeach.com/2012/nature/fish/lionfish-in-florida-problems-and-solutions

Related posts:

  1. Indo-Pacific Lionfish Threaten Florida
  2. Product Review: First Aid Kit for Marine Animal Stings: Jellyfish, Stingrays, Urchins, Fire Coral
  3. Dolphin Stranding with Happy Ending

Lionfish envenomation 1st aid kit developed by Ocean Care Solutions

Lionfish are colorful marine fish with venomous spiky fin rays. Its presence is increasing around the seas of the world and present a danger to fishermen, divers and swimmers. Its venom can lead to extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, breathing difficulties, convulsions, dizziness, redness on the affected area, headaches, and numbness although its venom is rarely fatal.

This chilling animated graphic shows the population explosion of poisonous lionfish in Florida, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and the Atlantic seaboard between 1986 and 2011: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/taxgroup/fish/Lionfishanimation.gif 

Treating Lionfish Sting Injuries

Being stung by the long, thin, needle-sharp spines of even a small lionfish generally results in a fire-like pain which is often localized to the area stung, but may travel along the extremity. Expect swelling. Needless to say, a sting to the head, neck or body cavity is more serious and should be considered a medical emergency. It is possible that a portion of the spine may break off in the wound, requiring surgical intervention. Infection is always a possibility. A host of other symptoms and complications are possible.

First-aid for a lionfish sting (before you can get to a doctor) mainly consists of applying heat, which destroys the venom. The problem is, where are you going to get heat if you are out on a boat or standing on a dock?

Ocean Care Solutions has developed a lionfish sting first-aid kit that has what you need. It should be available around mid-January 2013 and will retail for around $20. The supplies contained in the kit are based on treatment protocols with scientific and medical support and derive from medical data and injury reports.
Ocean Care Solutions Lionfish Sting First-Aid Kit

What’s in the OCS Lionfish Sting First-Aid Kit?

  • Moist towelette for cleaning hands
  • Latex-free gloves
  • Gauze pad to help slow bleeding
  • Sterile saline solution for rinsing wound
  • Forceps / tweezers to remove spines
  • Instant Heat Pack to alleviate pain
  • Elastic wrap for holding heat pack in place
  • Ocean Care Solutions triple antibiotic ointment
  • Adhesive bandages

Ocean Care Solutions is a pioneer in the development of effective, convenient and affordable first-aid kits for marine sting injuries, including for jellyfish, stingrays, sea urchins, fire-coral, and Portuguese Man-of-War.

Ocean Care Solutions’ products were nominated for the 2012 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year.

Below are the instructions as shown on the back of the foil packet which houses the kit. Click on the image below to enlarge it enough to read:

Click image to enlarge

Content courtesy of David McRee..Beachhunter.net

http://www.blogthebeach.com/2012/nature/fish/lionfish-in-florida-problems-and-solutions