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Brilliant Pics of Bizarre Sea Critters

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the tales-from-mos-eisley-cantina dept.

Science 63

An anonymous reader writes "Today, scientists have announced the completion of the first ever Census of Marine Life. The colossal 10-year effort involved 2,700 researchers from 80 countries. To mark the occasion, Discover's blog 80beats has a photo gallery of some of the most marvelously strange sea creatures photographed in the course of the census. The blog post also explains some of the census's most important findings, including the dramatic decline of many commercially important large marine animals, and troubling new evidence of a decline in the phytoplankton that serves as the base of the marine food chain."

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Sweet (0)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785384)

What's up with one that looks like a sad face?

Re:Sweet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33785516)

What's up with one that looks like a sad face?

It discovered that it's a nigger.

/new/sfront is that'a way ----^ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33786280)

Welcome to Slashdot.

Re:Sweet (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33787018)

Shut the fuck up you fucking racist piece of shit.

Re:Sweet (3, Funny)

Anarki2004 (1652007) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785900)

Hmm...It would appear that in my haste to get a semi-relevant first post, I neglected to type the word "the". This is almost as bad as the time I accidentally my whole hard drive.

Re:Sweet (1)

larpon (974081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788684)

Or time when my flash drive itself!

Re:Sweet (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785904)

A few minutes trawling the completely brilliant COML website photo gallery [coml.org] (WARNING: FLASH, but not very obnoxious as far as I can tell) turns up the following:

A Fathead (Psychrolutes microporos) trawled during the NORFANZ expeditions at a depth between 1013m and 1340m, on the Norfolk Ridge, nort-west of New Zealand, June 2003. Credit: NORFANZ Founding Parties Photographer Kerryn Parkingson; additional thanks to Peter McMIllan and Andrew Stewart.

I guess sad fish is sad because everyone calls him a fathead.

Re:Sweet (2, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33786980)

It probably saw it's reflection in the camera lens.

Re:Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33795194)

It is sad because some human pulled him out of the water and now he is going to die. Wouldn't that give you a sad face?

GNAA in the house bitches (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33785404)

suck my BLACK COCK!

It amazes me (5, Insightful)

LiquidLink57 (1864484) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785430)

We seem to want to look toward space, toward distant planets trying to find even scant evidence of strange, spectacular creatures. And yet ones as strange and spectacular as you can imagine remain undiscovered right here at home.

Re:It amazes me (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33785560)

We seem to want to look toward space, toward distant planets trying to find even scant evidence of strange, spectacular creatures. And yet ones as strange and spectacular as you can imagine remain undiscovered right here at home.

Just give 'em more mercury.

Re:It amazes me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33786716)

Where's the +/-1 Sad but True mod?

Re:It amazes me (4, Insightful)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785780)

I think that depends on one's definition of "strange". Sure there's definitely room for marine biologists, physicists and chemists to learn from creatures inhabiting the deep. But all these newly discovered lifeforms are, as strange as they seem, still just distant cousins, restricted to evolutionary limitations. Glibly put, there are only so many fields which care about yet one more species of jellyfish.

Scientific knowledge would grow by leaps and bounds with something truly alien. They'll settle for unrelated carbon-based life, but would love to study something which doesn't even have that in common. Other fields of science would absolutely love locating sentient life. I'm not sure how much spending that's worth, but it's far from worthless.

Re:It amazes me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33786886)

And I, for one, welcome our new Alien Jellyfish overlords.

Re:It amazes me (1)

careysub (976506) | more than 3 years ago | (#33786984)

I think that depends on one's definition of "strange". Sure there's definitely room for marine biologists, physicists and chemists to learn from creatures inhabiting the deep. But all these newly discovered lifeforms are, as strange as they seem, still just distant cousins, restricted to evolutionary limitations. Glibly put, there are only so many fields which care about yet one more species of jellyfish.

Scientific knowledge would grow by leaps and bounds with something truly alien. ...

Studying all of the accessible regions of the Earth to inventory the most extreme and divergent forms of life is our best training ground for eventually detecting "truly alien" life. As noted in the census summary report (go to the website to download) every environment in the ocean, no matter how extreme, was found to harbor life, and the diversity of extremophiles that were discovered just exploded. If we do not understand the potential of our own forms of life to exploit extreme environments, we will be poorly prepared to know where or how to look to identify "truly alien" lifeforms

Re:It amazes me (1)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788170)

we will be poorly prepared to know where or how to look to identify "truly alien" lifeforms

That's certainly true. We perhaps wouldn't think to search certain planets for Earth-like life, since we mistakenly assume we know its limitations.

At the same time however, we'd perhaps be less arrogant to think we know the limitations of alien life and the environs to which it would be be restricted and so look anywhere. Given an assumption that there are plenty of Earth-like worlds in the cosmos, why restrict ourselves from looking at least on those worlds? It's certainly not necessary (nor often possible) to completely exhaust the limits of knowledge of one line of research before exploring other areas.

Re:It amazes me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33786378)

Of course, this one (http://cdn.discovermagazine.com/gallery/albums/marine-census/iconic_45-hr.jpg) is actually from space. It's obviously a Vogon.

Re:It amazes me (2, Insightful)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33786790)

We seem to want to look toward space, toward distant planets trying to find even scant evidence of strange, spectacular creatures. And yet ones as strange and spectacular as you can imagine remain undiscovered right here at home.

You wish we want to look towards space. In reality "we" on average want to look towards a TV set or a gaming/internet device.

Fortunately some of us are still looking towards space, while others are also looking into the oceans (as proven by TFA). Even with all the attention wasted on rectangular displays showing imaginary things, or at best irrelevant trivia, we may still have hope.

Re:It amazes me (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33790856)

Fortunately some of us are still looking towards space

Fortunately, because you like hard radiation, needing to carry *everything* with you, effectively infinite distances and a strong vacuum yet enough hydrogen that Really Fast ships would destroy themselves bumping into hydrogen atoms?

People need to give up the fiction that we'll ever live anywhere but this God-forsaken rock.

Re:It amazes me (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792314)

Fortunately some of us are still looking towards space

Fortunately, because you like hard radiation, needing to carry *everything* with you, effectively infinite distances and a strong vacuum yet enough hydrogen that Really Fast ships would destroy themselves bumping into hydrogen atoms?

People need to give up the fiction that we'll ever live anywhere but this God-forsaken rock.

Extrapolating from the current state of the world and considering the pace of historical development, I'd say race to the asteroids will be held between India and China, with so called "western world" playing an important support role. Once there are a few semi-self-sustaining outposts on asteroids, things will start to progress on their own "evolutionarily" by economic pressure. Until then heavy governmental investment is needed, to get this development started.

And when you think of an asteroid habitat, please avoid thinking it in terms of current technology. Instead think of advanced materials that currently are in labs or in theoretical calculations only, think of nanobots and genetically engineered organisms helping in all kinds of ways hard to imagine today (food and energy production, environmental control and maintenance, construction and structural repair...), think of medical advances that sound like magic today (based on real-time DNA analysis of pathogens and patient, using stem cells to regenerate organs and tissue, etc)...

Re:It amazes me (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33792996)

Once there are a few semi-self-sustaining outposts on asteroids

Supported by *what*?

Instead think of advanced materials that currently are in labs or in theoretical calculations only

All that high-tech wizardry needs a serious support infrastructure, which they won't have.

Not only that, but it appears that mammalian embryos need gravity to develop [riken.jp] , and there's not enough gravity on any of the asteroids.

Re:It amazes me (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33797746)

Once there are a few semi-self-sustaining outposts on asteroids

Supported by *what*?

Instead think of advanced materials that currently are in labs or in theoretical calculations only

All that high-tech wizardry needs a serious support infrastructure, which they won't have.

Not only that, but it appears that mammalian embryos need gravity to develop [riken.jp] , and there's not enough gravity on any of the asteroids.

What you mean "supported by what"? Supported by local production of essentials, probably mostly using solar energy and locally available matter.

I was talking about advanced materials that are needed in small enough amounts to be brought from earth, or simple enough to produce so they don't need "serious support infrastructure". I mean, that's kind of a given, materials that can't be used aren't worth wasting much thought on... Besides, it's not far fetched to speculate that mass production of fullerenes (or some other advanced material) using asteroid material and taking advantage of microgravity and hard vacuum might actually be a profitable business at some point in future.

Why would semi-self-sufficient outposts be concerned with reproduction, other than making sure it doesn't happen? Sounds rather like a useful extra layer of birth control to me... However, from your linked article, it sounds very much like gravity isn't needed for a very long time, just for a few crucial first divisions. Providing enough gravity for that amount of time would be trivial for in-vitro fertilization, and doesn't take a very large rotating structure to provide it even for natural fertilization.

However, semi-self-sufficient by definition will get supply ships from earth. There's no point in trying to raise children in space until there are real colonies, as there would be a long queue of qualified, experienced people wanting to go.

Re:It amazes me (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33798422)

Supported by local production of essentials, ... and locally available matter.

You need factories and mines to do that.

probably mostly using solar energy

Huge solar panels in a field of rocks whizzing around at thousands of kph?

simple enough to produce so they don't need "serious support infrastructure".

If it's that simple to produce, it's not that advanced.

However, semi-self-sufficient by definition will get supply ships from earth

Really Expensive supplies, that would make the operation uneconomical.

Re:It amazes me (1)

Urkki (668283) | more than 3 years ago | (#33798758)

"Field of rocks" a threat to solar panel installations? You don't quite realize how big and empty space is, do you? :-)

Re:It amazes me (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 3 years ago | (#33799102)

You don't quite realize how big and empty space is, do you?

You don't realize how ginormously humongous the solar panels would have to be that far out to support a semi-sufficient colony that needs to manufacture stuff, how that raises the odds of them getting regularly hit, how many pebble-sized "asteroids" are there, how fast they move, or how "it only takes one", do you?

Remember, the Sun is *really small* that far away. This [worldcultu...torial.com] is the Sun from Mars, so you can imagine (well, maybe *you* can't) how much smaller it is from an asteroid.

Re:It amazes me (2, Insightful)

Bertie (87778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33786852)

And we're busily killing them off.

Somebody's had a bad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33785452)

Why the long face? [discovermagazine.com]

Re:Somebody's had a bad day (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33786952)

Why the long face? [discovermagazine.com]

Because Ziggy [google.com] melted.

It depends on your point of view. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 3 years ago | (#33787372)

Female blobfish [discovermagazine.com] think he's cute.

Re:It depends on your point of view. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788210)

That is a female blobfish, you insensitive clod !!!

Em:t Album covers (1)

mpfife (655916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785460)

Remember the old Em:t record label that published a bunch of early electronic music. They're album covers had a picture of some really exotic marine or land life on it. Nice to know they won't be lacking for new album covers - if they ever come back into business...

First... (0, Troll)

M8e (1008767) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785464)

...read that as "Brilliant Pics of Bizarre Sea Cittens" and thought "You spelt that wrong!"

I know I spelt spelt spelt.

Census? (1, Interesting)

capnchicken (664317) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785472)

Isn't a census where you count every member of a population? Given that you can't really do that for every sea creature aren't they using the term as kind of a misnomer? Obviously a ten year multi-thousand scientist effort at getting an overwhelmingly good sampling needs to be called something, but a census of the fish in the sea it is not.

Re:Census? (3, Informative)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785644)

> Isn't a census where you count every member of a population?

No. It's where you count as many as you can, and from that number, estimate the total.

Etymology Latin, from cnsre to assess

Re:Census? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33786344)

Etymology Latin, from cnsre to assess

No wonder Latin died off... not enough vowels.

Re:Census? (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33787636)

Censere, should have been. I didn't preview, and slashdot dropped the funky (diacritical?) 'e's I pasted in.

Re:Census? (2, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785646)

Isn't a census where you count every member of a population? Given that you can't really do that for every sea creature aren't they using the term as kind of a misnomer?

I think they know that, but here's [coml.org] their "about" page.

It's as complete as it has even been, and they've been working on it for a decade. I'm sure they know it's not 100% coverage, but they probably need to be able to explain it to lay-people.

Re:Census? (2, Insightful)

calderra (1034658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785678)

A census is an attempt to measure the populace. You can measure as much as you can, then guess at the rest, which is what every population census tries to do. (We measured X immigrants, and we know that's not all of them, but with reasonable certaintly we can assume there are between W and Y immigrants).

Re:Census? (3, Funny)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785882)

No a census is when you hire WAY more people than necessary, forgoing all logic and prudence, in an effort to ease the unemployment rate on the population. Then the first month after you bask in the glory of how you have reduced unemployment. Then you admit that it was temporary once the right people start pointing out what you did. Then 6 months after you hired all of these already redundant people you let them all go...

It would have been cheaper to just send them their check instead of creating all the administrative (busy work) of 'employing' them.

That's what a census is. You have an outdated definition. That was so 1980.

coml.org images (5, Informative)

slshwtw (1903272) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785484)

coml.org Image Gallery [coml.org] (since for some reason I can't seem to find where the pictures are on the discover blog)

Re:coml.org images (1)

slshwtw (1903272) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785546)

OK, now I see that the discover blog images just didn't load for me due to slashdot effect.

Already Sladshdotted! Here's a CORAL link (5, Informative)

Announcer (816755) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785524)

Erm, no. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33785620)

It's not slashdotted. It loads quickly and correctly for me on residential broadband.

Re:Already Sladshdotted! Here's a CORAL link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33785908)

Coral? Marine Life? there's a pun in there somewhere...

It's the Cambrian all over again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33785526)

Several of these look like the creepy fossils from the Cambrian explosion.

How can a "first ever" census... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33785544)

...show a decline?

Wouldn't this census establish the baseline?

Re:How can a "first ever" census... (4, Informative)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785628)

Because it's not a census-wide decline:

including the dramatic decline of many commercially important large marine animals

Re:How can a "first ever" census... (2, Informative)

calderra (1034658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785696)

There have been other attempts to measure certain populations like plankton, so this is not the baseline for this census, but a confirmation when added to other studies that build a picture of a decline over time.

Re:How can a "first ever" census... (1)

calderra (1034658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785702)

Er, this IS the baseline for this census, you can see where I'm going.

Re:How can a "first ever" census... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33786684)

You seem to have trouble parsing "census wide decline".

Species we fish, we have estimated population numbers previously in our history.

Thus they can in fact state the numbers are down, because those species were counted ... you see where I am going.

Re:How can a "first ever" census... (0, Flamebait)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785778)

...and the decline is due to global warming of course.

Content is shared with the Encyclopedia of Life (5, Informative)

Chuckles08 (1277062) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785700)

Another great thing about the Census is that much of the information is feeding into the Encyclopedia of Life project (www.eol.org [eol.org] ) with the content being shared under a Creative Commons license.

Fark? Seriously (1)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#33785954)

Ok, this may not show up for everyone, but under the title of the post, I see icons for reddit, facebook, sharethis, and FARK?

Seriously FARK? I mean I thought discovery was a serious company. Fark is far from serious. It's a bunch of people posting jokes, NSFW stuff and photoshopped images... Why FARK?

incidently, I haven't been to the fark site in a few years.... time to waste a few hours catching up.

Re:Fark? Seriously (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33786246)

Why not FARK. Page views are page views. Might be nice to get the unwashed masses thinking (well, in a general manner of speaking) about something else than sex.

I was looking at the gallery page trying to figure out which viewer they used (SimpleViewer, alas, Flash), one of the comments:

//to fix u know who

caught my eye. Some things never change.

Re:Fark? Seriously (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33786464)

>> Might be nice to get the unwashed masses thinking (well, in a general manner of speaking) about something else than sex.

On Fark this would become a tentacle porn thread in under five posts.

Re:Fark? Seriously (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33787710)

Why FARK?

Although I share your dismay at even the thought - the answer is: Because it brings in page hits.

OMG! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33787504)

It's Mr. Saturn!

http://cdn.discovermagazine.com/gallery/albums/marine-census/iconic_45-hr.jpg

The question in everybody's mind... (2, Funny)

rleibman (622895) | more than 3 years ago | (#33788542)

How do they taste?

Candian board members (1)

aaronrp (773980) | more than 3 years ago | (#33789172)

There are a couple of Canadian members of the steering committee. I wonder if they got pressure to make the census voluntary?

Sea Anemoni (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33797572)

We need to make a fleshlight in the style of sea anemones. Come on, you know you've always wondered what it's like to put your dick in there.

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