Gray Whale Moved to Israel

Researchers were stunned last week when a gray whale was sighted in Israel. It is believed to be the first such sighting outside the Pacific Ocean in 300 years!

Typically, gray whales are only found in the Pacific Ocean. After years of hunting, they vanished in the North Atlantic around the 17th or 18th centuries.
In order to be spotted in the Mediterranean Sea, the gray whale traveled “a huge distance from its natural habitat thousands of kilometers away,” and one researcher said it was “bizarre in the extreme,” per BBC.

Researcher Phillip Clapham of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said:

“There are really only two explanations: that there has been a relict population in the N Atlantic that no one has noticed (virtually impossible), or (more likely) that this whale came down through the ice-free Northwest Passage and is now hopelessly lost.”

Mysteries of the Deep

Marine CensusAre you one of those people who are fascinated by outer-space and the abysmal depths of the deep blue? One who lives for the mysteries? If so check out this news from the bottom of the ocean…

A report released last Sunday recorded 17,650 species living below 656 feet. This is the point where sunlight ceases. The creatures which live down there feed on the decaying matter which cascades down from higher underwater elevations – even sunken whale bones. They also feed on oil and methane. Researchers say that they’ve found 5,722 species living in the most extreme depths of the ocean – deeper than 3,280 feet.

In addition, more than 40 new species of coral were found living on deep-sea mountains, along with cities of brittle-stars and anemone gardens. There are also nearly 500 new species ranging from single-celled creatures to large squid were charted in the abyssal plains and basins.

Also notable were the 170 new species that get their energy from chemicals spewing from ocean-bottom vents and seeps. Among them was a family of “yeti crabs”, which are known for their silky, hair-like filaments on the legs.

Researching the abyss is costly and difficult because it involves deep-towed cameras, sonar and remotely operated vehicles that cost $50,000 a day to operate; but we’ll stay tuned and look forward to what scientists will find next.

Meanwhile scientists predict that there are easily more than a million species on earth and underwater which still remain to be discovered. On land, biologists have catalogued about 1.5 million plants and animals.

Unexploited Habitats: Very Blue Skies

As the world’s population is ever expanding, and conflict over land resources might intensify over the years, humanity is need of new habitable terrain. One of these options is the premise of underwater cities.

Underwater Future
Imagine a city full of people lying on the seabed. Our first association is Atlantis, but future underwater projects don’t have to resemble what we see in the movies – i.e: a glass dome hidden many miles below the surface of the ocean. Rather, this future habitat could simply be an extension of land-based cities, stretching in tube-like formats several hundred meters into the shallow bed of the sea.

New York is a good example of such a natural expansion. Manhattan already has a well developed underground architecture, that could be extended out of the island towards the mainland, while constructing avant-garde shopping malls and a new business district in a previously unclaimed patch of land.

Is this a possible future? The ocean’s the limit.

Algae and Global Warming

A bold idea is suggesting to increase the spread of ocean-dwelling algae in order to fight global warming. The premise is simple: algae produce their nutrients through the process of photosynthesis (like most plants do), and CO2 is a vital component in this process, thus more algae will result in less CO2 in the atmosphere.

One way to encourage the reproduction of ocean-dwelling algae is by transferring cold and nutrient-rich water from inner layers of the ocean up to the surface in a process called upwelling. While upwelling happens naturally, speeding it up is what vertical tubes aim to do.

Whether this can truly help our planet is yet to be proven. But it’s nevertheless amazing to hear about all these out-of-the-box ideas that people conjure when facing global warming.