SCUBA News 146, July 2012
SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 146 - 30 July 2012
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SCUBA News in published by SCUBA Travel.
With clear waters and rocky scenary the Maltese islands are very good for diving. Indeed, two of her dive sites have been voted amongst the top three dives in Europe: namely the Blue Hole in Gozo and Cirkewwa in Malta. We've added a new page on the diving in Malta and Gozo. Discover the best dive sites and centres.
You've voted the Thistlegorm one of the top ten dives in the world. It's an amazing wreck, sunk in 1941 and still holding tanks, trucks, motorbikes, rifles and other war supplies.
Raja Ampat, in Irian Jaya (West Papua) Indonesia is a group of islands in the heart of the coral triangle. You've been sending us more comments on the diving fabulous diving there.
We've updated our dictionary of SCUBA diving, ocean and marine life terms. An eclectic collection from ABLJ to Zooxanthellae. Here are just a few of the terms included. For the full list see http://www.scubatravel.co.uk/glossary.html
- A Flag
- Indicates "Diver Down" in the International maritime signal flags . Raised in boats when divers are below the water. Used in Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and other Commonwealth countries.
- Injury to the middle ear caused by a rapid change in pressure. May result when ears aren't cleared on a descent.
- Bottom dwelling: living on the floor of the sea or lake.
- A solid ediface built by sea creatures, for example a coral reef.
- Living creatures which are caught unintentionally by fishing gear. Bycatch includes those fish captured by fishers (both commercial and recreational) that are undersized, prohibited, inedible or unsaleable. It also includes dolphins and turtles.
- Chart Datum (CD)
- The level of the lowest tide there has ever been at a particular place. All depths on a chart and heights of tide refer to it.
- Confédération Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques (World Underwater Federation of Underwater Activities). Diving agency established 1959.
- Appearing or active at twilight.
- Decompression Sickness (DCS)
- Also known as the bends. Caused by too rapid an ascent resulting in nitrogen bubbles which may expand and injure tissue or block blood vessels. More at Decompression sickness research archive.
- Emarginate Tail
- Shaped as in the diagram to the right.
- Stinging cells such as those possessed by sea anemones.
- Pelagic zone
- The open sea.
- Rigid-hull inflatable boat.
- SPOT Tags
- Smart position and temperature tags. Record, for example, temperature and depth, and send logged data to satellites at regular intervals. Used on animals who spend time at the surface, like dolphins and turtles.
- Abrupt temperature gradient between the warm upper layer of water and denser cold water below.
- Microscopic algae that live in the tissue of reef-building corals. Pronounced zoo-zan-thelly.
Glossary of SCUBA Diving Terms and Ocean Terminology
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Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology is holding its second shipwreck photography competition. Photographers from all over the world are invited to send in their best photos of any shipwrecks or other underwater cultural heritage above or below Australian or New Zealand waters. The competition is being run to December 2012, with judging occurring each month. Any entries received after the 1st of the month will automatically go into the following month's competition. Images must have been taken in 2012
A diver has been airlifted to a decompression chamber after surfacing from a 300ft (91m) deep pool at a disused quarry in Snowdonia.
Who says males can't multitask? Cuttlefish can dupe rival males into thinking they're girls, even while actively courting a female.
Critically endangered leatherback turtles face serious threat from climate change in addition to existing egg poaching and fishing dangers.
IUCN have updated their Red List of Threatened Species. The list shows that of the 63,837 species assessed, an alarming 19,817 are threatened with extinction: that's over 30%! Marine-wise, the figures are 36% of skates and ray, 33% of reef building corals and 18% of groupers under threat.
The largest oil spill on open water to date and other environmental factors led to the historically high number of dolphin deaths in the Gulf of Mexico, concludes a two-year scientific study.
A new report finds that more than 85 percent of reefs in the Coral Triangle are directly threatened by local human activities, substantially more than the global average of 60 percent.
NOAA scientists have collected nearly 50 tonnes of marine debris, which threatens monk seals, sea turtles and other marine life in the coral reef ecosystem, in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
Coral reefs worldwide are being destroyed by changes in ocean temperature and chemistry faster than at any time since the last reef crisis 55 million years ago, thousands of marine scientists warned in a joint statement.
NOAA has announced a major advance in the ability to predict mass coral bleaching - providing the probability of bleaching up to four months into the future - with a newly developed global seasonal outlook system.
China will prohibit official banquets from serving shark fin soup, an expensive and popular delicacy blamed for a sharp decline in global shark populations. The ban, reported by Xinhua, the state-run news agency, could take as many as three years to take effect, and it remains unclear how widely it will be adhered to across a sprawling nation where orders issued by Beijing are often shrugged off by officials in faraway regions and provinces.
Researchers have measured for the first time concentrations of 13 perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) in five different endangered species of turtle. The levels of the compounds seen in all five species approach the amounts known to cause adverse health effects in animals. The five sea turtle species studied were the green, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead and Kemp's ridley. FCs are man-made compounds that have many uses including stain-resistant coatings, fire-fighting foams and emulsifiers in plastics manufacturing.
South Korea is proposing to hunt whales under regulations permitting scientific research whaling, echoing the programmes of its neighbour, Japan.
Scientists are measuring the effect on wildlife of devices that harness tide and wave energy using sonar technology that has, for the first time, been successfully deployed on the seabed.
The 15 coastal states around the North-East Atlantic and the European Union agreed this week to establish the Charlie-Gibbs North High Seas Marine Protected Area on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores, at a size of 180,000 square km.
New environmentally friendly bottom paints have been developed in Sweden to prevent biofouling on ships' hulls. Such fouling can lead to higher fuel consumption and the spread of alien species that do not belong in the local marine environment.
Scientists have discovered two viruses that appear to infect the single-celled microalgae that reside in corals and are important for coral growth and health, and they say the viruses could play a role in the serious decline of coral ecosystems around the world.
Scientists have identified long-hypothesised vitamin B deficient zones in the ocean. B vitamins are organic compounds dissolved in the ocean and are important for living cells to function. Zones poor in B vitamins may inhibit the growth and proliferation of phytoplankton, which are tiny microorganisms at the base of the food chain in the ocean.
Phenomenon of spring and summer is jump-started by swirling currents of seawater. The newly discovered mechanism helps explain the timing of the spring and summer bloom, known to mariners and fishers for centuries and clearly visible in satellite images.
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