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Jellyfish return to nation’s coast

They’re back!  And we’re not talking hurricanes, though that season is officially underway.  And, no, this is not about sharks, since Discovery’s Shark Week doesn’t start until August.

No, it’s time for the increasingly unpopular annual return of swarms of jellyfish to beaches around the world. Last year they made much of the western Mediterranean unswimmable. A couple of weekend’s ago – the official start of summer — thousands of nasty, golf-ball sized jellyfish washed ashore on Florida’s east coast, stinging beach goers as they arrive. Red and Purple warning flags were posted on beaches from Cocoa Beach to Cape Canaveral.

In large part thanks to the over fishing of big predator fish and warmer ocean waters, jellies are showing up sooner, in bigger numbers and far beyond home territories. For the first time since 2006, the Portuguese Man o War are in numbers along the New England coast particularly the Hamptons.  In Florida they clogged the shallows and took over the wet sand of the beach. Lifeguard stands stocked up with vinegar-and-water solutions to help try and diffuse the itching, burning and rashes, which beats urinating on them, though its proven that OCS Jellyfish sting relief neutralizes the sting and helps alleviate itching and swelling.

IMG_3501     ManOWar-kit

Despite air temps in the 90’s and water temperature of 80+, it’s not just the abundance of jellyfish in Florida’s that was surprising, it was the species. Large numbers of animals washing ashore are the Pelagia Noctiluca or mauve stinger, the cannonball and the Portuguese Man o War although not in abundance yet.  Compact but fitted with long tentacles, these are exactly the same jellyfish that harassed Mediterranean beaches during the summer of 2012 and present this summer.

jellyfish..Mauve

Scientists believe they were transported across the Atlantic in the Gulf Stream, which wraps around the coast of Florida, suggesting they will be a hindrance on many Gator state beaches this summer. Meanwhile across the pond, biologists who study the Irish Sea are blaming a similar boom in jellyfish there on the overfishing of herring, which has given jellyfish an “exponential boost” in population. The trend has been growing since 2005.

Though explanation for why these jellyfish on these beaches is still being studied, it’s clear that since humankind has taken 100 to 120 million tons of predators out of the sea in the past 20 years it’s left plenty of room for jellyfish populations to boom. Jellyfish thrive in disturbed marine ecosystems, from dead zones to seabeds that have been raked by trawling nets. And they are spreading around the world thanks to powerful currents and aided by stowing away on fleets of ships delivering goods around the globe.

Be sure to take along Ocean Care Solutions marine sting 1st aid products..your Solution for marine sting injuries…

Ocean Care Solutions marine sting 1st aid distribution network includes Hong Kong

Ocean Care Solutions welcomes Blue Yonder Diving Gear Distribution and Retail as a distributor in Hong Kong…They have the latest dive gear and accessories..Call or e mail Stephanie at Phone +852 3106 8383 Email Info@mydivegear.com or find them on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Yonder/599178576777067

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=469107463163920&set=a.412876138787053.98398.156715257736477&type=1&theater

Lionfish concern at Forida’s Reef

Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, “Don’t touch!”

The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal.

Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they’ve found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide.

Currently they are a big cause for concern at Florida’s reef as they have few natural enemies such as some big shark species. They are taking over in large numbers and multiplying quickly eating many other endangered reef fish. Speculation of their release ranges from Hurricane Sandy’s destructive path to mis-guided fish collectors that released them when they could not make money from their sale.

Celene Couseau ( http://celinecousteau.wordpress.com/ ) has attested to their tasting good making them somewhat popular to very careful spear fishermen.

Learn, Connect, Defend!
www.OceanDefenderHawaii.com

Some of the information above is from National Geographic
Photo: Andy Wingate (tagged)

Photo: Pretty much everything about the venomous lionfish—its red-and-white zebra stripes, long, showy pectoral fins, and generally cantankerous demeanor—says, "Don't touch!"

The venom of the lionfish, delivered via an array of up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins, is purely defensive. It relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey, mainly fish and shrimp. A sting from a lionfish is extremely painful to humans and can cause nausea and breathing difficulties, but is rarely fatal.

Lionfish, also called turkey fish, dragon fish and scorpion fish, are native to the reefs and rocky crevices of the Indo-Pacific, although they've found their way to warm ocean habitats worldwide.

Currently they are a big cause for concern at Florida's reef as they have few natural enemies such as some big shark species. They are taking over in large numbers and multiplying quickly eating many other endangered reef fish. Speculation of their release ranges from Hurricane Sandy's destructive path to mis-guided fish collectors that released them when they could not make money from their sale. 

Celene Couseau ( http://celinecousteau.wordpress.com/ ) has attested to their tasting good making them somewhat popular to very careful spear fishermen. 

Learn, Connect, Defend!
www.OceanDefenderHawaii.com

Some of the information above is from National Geographic
Photo: Andy Wingate (tagged)

New jellyfish species discovered on Gold Coast..Australia

ABC News Gold Coast  

A curious child from Paradise Point is responsible for the discovery of a new species of box jellyfish found in a local canal.  Nine-year-old Saxon Thomas found the new species when fishing in his backyard canal.  Scientists have now confirmed the jellyfish is a new scientific discovery.

But Australian Marine Stinger Advisory services director Lisa Gershwin says there is a lot more to learn about it.  “We’re still trying to name it,” Ms Gershwin says.

“I haven’t met Saxon yet but my intention is to one of these days when I meet him ask him what he would like it to be named… I wanna give him the choice to name it because I think it’s such a wonderful thing that here’s these kids out playing with nature and going ‘hey wait, that’s different – what’s that?’ – and now we know. What a fabulous find.”

Queensland Museum’s marine expert Doctor Merrick Ekins has examined the jellyfish.

“A new species is always very exciting. We’ve got a bit more work to do to work out exactly what it is… but it’s definitely in the same family as the box jellyfish. But it’s not THE box jellyfish which is a big relief,” Dr Ekins says.

“The first thing we did was to make sure it wasn’t thechironex fleckeri box jellyfish that’s infamous for killing people, because if that’s suddenly appearing down here on the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast then that would be a real issue for swimmers.”

However, it is not yet known if this new species is dangerous in its own way.

“We don’t know about that… whether it gives you a sting is most likely. It’s probably not life threatening but we don’t know.”

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Red Sea Fire Urchin…

Asthenosoma marisrubri (‘flexible body of the Red Sea’) aka Red Sea Fire Urchin and Toxic Leather Sea Urchin , is a relatively common sea urchin with a widespread distribution in the Indo-Pacific, and it subsists on a great variety of food including algae, coral polyps and bottom detritus. It is most active at night and is named for the extreme pain inflicted by its spines and its occurrence in the Red Sea.

SeaUrchin-kit

www.oceancaresolutions

Sea Urchin first aid kit

Don’t get stung without it!

 

Indo-Pacific Hell Fire Sea Anemone

Sea anemone facts….The Hell’s Fire Anemone (Actinodendron plumosum) belongs to the Actinodendron genus, and is one of the ‘stinging sea anemones’ in the Actinodendronidae family which are found only in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.

Photo: Sea anemone facts....The Hell's Fire Anemone (Actinodendron plumosum) belongs to the Actinodendron genus, and is one of the 'stinging sea anemones' in the Actinodendronidae family which are found only in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific.

These anemones are so named 'stinging sea anemones' because of their capacity to sting humans badly. Although all anemones have stinging cells or nematocysts found in their tentacles, these anemones have a dangerous sting that is extremely powerful and is very painful. Another anemone from this group, the Bali Fire Anemone (Megalactis hemprichi), is similar in this regard and is also referred to as a Hell's Fire Anemone.

The Actinodendron genus is a unique group of anemones that are basically in a class all their own. They look more like colonies of soft corals than actinides. Typically they have busy, branched long tentacles. The Hell's Fire Anemone has tentacles with a leaf shaped or feather-like appearance, thus they are also known as the Pinnate Anemone. They bury their foot and body in the sand with only their oral disc and tentacles emerging. When disturbed they can retract their entire body into the sand and be virtually invisible.

Credit:Animal-World

These anemones are so named ‘stinging sea anemones’ because of their capacity to sting humans badly. Although all anemones have stinging cells or nematocysts found in their tentacles, these anemones have a dangerous sting that is extremely powerful and is very painful. Another anemone from this group, the Bali Fire Anemone (Megalactis hemprichi), is similar in this regard and is also referred to as a Hell’s Fire Anemone.

The Actinodendron genus is a unique group of anemones that are basically in a class all their own. They look more like colonies of soft corals than actinides. Typically they have busy, branched long tentacles. The Hell’s Fire Anemone has tentacles with a leaf shaped or feather-like appearance, thus they are also known as the Pinnate Anemone. They bury their foot and body in the sand with only their oral disc and tentacles emerging. When disturbed they can retract their entire body into the sand and be virtually invisible.

IMG_3501

OCS Jellyfish sting relief spray is tested effective on envenomations from sea anemone..Safe, effective and lidocaine free..Don’t get stung without it !!

Article Credit:Animal-World

 

 

 

 

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!!

Dive Flag App Travels, Shop & Product Reviews

Product Review – Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution

About Ocean Care Solutions

Ocean Care Solutions’ (OCS) first aid products were developed by Kevin, a certified scuba diver. Kevin noticed that there was no convenient, proven medically effective, first aid products for stings from the Lionfish, the Man of War, the Sea Urchin, the Stingray, Fire Coral and Jellyfish. For two years Kevin consulted with international marine science and emergency medical communities to develop what they refer to as ‘the definitive Gold Standard’ for sea sting injuries. All OCS’s products have been developed without the reliance of myths, home remedies or guesswork.
Ron at OCS got in contact with Dive Flag App in a hope to have their product reviewed and publicized to Scuba Divers around the world. After initial discussions OCS sent us, here at Dive Flag App, a package containing a few hundred samples to test and distribute to other Dive Flag App members.  Today we had the opportunity to test their most ‘popular’ product the Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution (JSR Solution). This was a timely arrangement as Australia is currently experiencing an outbreak of jellyfish including the Blue Blubber Jellyfish (common name).

Product Description – Jellyfish Sting Relief Solution

OCS’s JSR Solution was developed to neutralize the stinging cells of jellyfish. The solution suspends any remaining pain causing nematocysts (stinging cells) from firing.  The directions of use are as follows:
  1.  Rinse the injury with salt water only,
  2.  Shake the spray and simultaneously press down on the top to pump the solution,
  3.  Apply the safe JSR Solution for 3-5 minutes, and then
  4.  Simply scrape away the pain.  Re-apply if necessary.
The application of the JSR solution is to ‘de-activate’ the jellyfish stinging cells. For the best results it is recommended that you apply the JSR Solution as soon as possible after having been stung. Delay in the use of this product limits effectiveness.
The JSR Solution comes in a small and convenient spray bottle made with medically recommended 5% acetic acid for the best results.

Product Trial

Dive Flag App were naturally skeptical about the effectiveness of OCS’s JSR Solution and so we decided to test the product out. Before reading further it is important to note that Dive Flag App did so under the supervision of trained emergency personnel and in no way is Dive Flag App suggesting that other members perform the following test.
Frank Vorster located two Blue Blubber Jellyfish in the Gold Coast Seaway, Queensland, Australia. He proceeded to sting himself in two ‘similar’ locations by lightly pressing up against the tentacles of the two jellyfish as they floated by. To one location he applied the JSR Solution and to the other he applied nothing. Eager to test the product out – others part-took in the experiment too.

Observations

  1. Within one minute, the stinging sensation on the hand with the JSR Solution started to subside whilst the second location’s continued to intensify as more stinging cells activated.
  2. After five minutes the stinging sensation on the location with the JSR Solution had all but faded completely, whilst the stinging sensation of the second location continued.
  3. Frank wiped the location with the JSR Solution as directed. The location where he had applied the JSR Solution appeared unaffected. Whilst having  wiped off the second location in a similar fashion had only activated the remaining stinging cells, effectively reactivating the sting.
  4. For a further 25 minutes Frank felt the stinging sensation on the second location whilst the location where the JSR Solution was applied felt “like it was never stung”.

Product Review

The JSR Solution performed as OCS had claimed. The product was easy to apply and immediately effective. The quality is guaranteed by OCS’s Californian manufacturing facility. A single 1oz bottle can be used to relieve 4 stings and the 4oz bottle can relieve up to 12 stings. With a shelf life of over 2 years the product can be stored without concern.
  • Price: 5/5
  • Effectiveness: 5/5
  • Quality: 5/5
  • Product Recommendation: Don’t get stung without it! Don’t go diving without it!
Dive Flag App highly recommend that all beach going, water sport activists and especially scuba divers keep a bottle of the solution in their bag. The product is incredible effective and useful.

Where to Buy the Product

Dive Flag App is so impressed with the effectiveness of the solution, we have worked out an arrangement with Ocean Care Solutions to become the exclusive distributor for these products. Dive Flag App is currently developing an on-line store where you can buy the product. If you would like a sample, to purchase some units for personal use or become a retailer for these products, simply email us for more information: info@diveflagapp.com .

Blessed Diving,

Dive Flag App
www.diveflagapp.com
info@diveflagapp.com
www.facebook.com/diveflagapp

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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