SCUBA News 237
(ISSN 1476-8011)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 237 - March 2020

It is a very strange time to be sending a newsletter about travel and the sea. One of the few bright sides of this global catastrophe is the improvement in the environment.

Pollution is falling massively in cities where movements are restricted. According to an article in Forbes magazine, scientists have projected that two months of coronavirus lockdown has saved the lives of 77,000 Chinese children and elderly from air pollution. Deaths in China from coronavirus are today reported at 3304.

Greenhouse gas emissions are also plummeting as many people work from home. Worldwide flights have been cancelled. Transport makes up around 23% of global carbon emissions. If businesses realise that much of their work travel is unnecessary then there is hope that the emissions could stay lower than would otherwise be the case, and global warming will slow. The rapid and previously unthinkable actions by many countries in forbidding people's movement shows that with a will, big changes can be taken quickly, giving more hope for future environmental protection.

All that doesn't help anyone suffering with the disease and all the companies, including dive operators, who are suffering financially at the current time. If you have time on your hands you can still use the SCUBA Travel web site to help plan your next trip, whenever that may be.

Keep safe and well.

What's new at SCUBA Travel?
Creature of the Month: Ragged-Tooth Shark
Diving news from around the World

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What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Whale shark in Madagascar

Remote Papua New Guinea

Spectacular diving with waters jam-packed full of fish.

Whale shark in Madagascar

Special diving in South Africa

From sardine runs to great white sharks to the superb Sodwana Bay.

Creature of the Month: Ragged-Tooth Shark, Carcharius taurus

Known as the Grey Nurse Shark in Australia and the Sand Tiger Shark in the USA, the Ragged-Tooth Shark lives in coastal waters of the Atlantic, Indian and western Pacific oceans. One place you are almost guaranteed to see them at certain times of the year is South Africa's Sodwana Bay.

Ragged tooth shark - Carcharias taurus. Photo credit: Amada44, (CC BY 3.0)
Ragged tooth shark - Carcharias taurus. Photo credit: Amada, (CC BY 3.0)

The IUCN's red list of species classes the sharks as vulnerable. This means that, like many sharks, they are likely to become endangered unless circumstances improve. The shark is protected in Australia and America.

The female gives birth to only two pups every two years, and pregnancy can take up to twelve months. As a result populations are slow to increase. The sharks give birth near coastal, rocky reefs. Some live in caves which are also used as breeding grounds.

Ragged tooth shark Aliwal Shoal, South Africa
Photo credit: Willem Feguson (CC BY 4.0)

A large shark, the ragged-tooth shark grows to over 3 m. Generally they stay shallow, not going deeper than 25 m. Sometimes, though, they venture to depths of 200 m. Being large they are not easily frightened by divers. They are generally calm and not aggressive.

Ragged Tooth Shark
Photo credit: Amada, (CC BY 3.0)

The ragged-tooth shark is the only shark known to gulp and store air in its stomach to maintain neutral buoyancy while swimming. The female lives for at least 40 years and the male 34 years.

Elasmobranchii (Class) > Neoselachii (Subclass) > Selachii (Infraclass) > Galeomorphi (Superorder) > Lamniformes (Order) > Odontaspididae (Family) > Carcharias (Genus)

References and Further Reading
M. S. Passerotti et al. Maximum age and missing time in the vertebrae of sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus): validated lifespan from bomb radiocarbon dating in the western North Atlantic and southwestern Indian Oceans. Marine & Freshwater Research. 2014
IUCN Red List

Read more Creatures of the Month.

Diving News From Around the World

Our round up of the best underwater news stories of the past month. For breaking news see our Twitter page or RSS feed

Scuba full face mask turned into a ventilator

Italian hospital says it's turning scuba masks into ventilators as supplies run low
The coronavirus has claimed over 10,000 lives in Italy. With ventilators running low, a desperate hospital in the northern part of the country is trying something new: modified full-face scuba masks.

Prop from avenger tornado bomber in Truk Lagoon

Three WWII Aircraft newly discovered in Truk Lagoon
After a combined 50 days on the water and a search that covered nearly 70 square kilometers of the sea floor, the Project Recover team located three aircraft in depths ranging from 30 to 65 m.


Plastic toys in oceans could be there more than 1000 years
A scientific study looking into how long plastic remains in our oceans has revealed that children's toys like Lego bricks could last more than 1,000 years underwater.

Spear fishing

Guam bans scuba spear fishing
The move aims to reverse depleting fish stocks. Other threats remain, including climate change, pollution, erosion and storm run-offs.

Coral reef, St Johns

Corals in unclear waters less affected by temperature stress
Persistent temperature stress is degrading coral reefs worldwide, but a new study by Florida Institute of Technology scientists has found that corals in naturally turbid waters are less affected by thermal stress than corals in clearer water.

Oil fire

Scientists call on government to increase ambition to save our ocean
In the last decade there has been rapid expansion in the area of ocean designated as a Marine Protected Area (MPA). Despite this progress, marine biodiversity continues to decline, placing at risk the health of our oceans and the critical role the oceans have in supporting human well-being.

Analysing microbes to find health of reefs

Strong association found between whale strandings and use of naval sonar
Scientists identified a "strong association" between strandings of beaked whales and the use of sonar in anti-submarine warfare exercises.

Pacific island beach

Can Wind Farms and Whales Co-Exist in our Noisy Seas?
Wind energy presents less of a threat to marine life than oil, although more research into this area is required.

coral reef

Internet of Underwater Things uses the power of light
IoUT simultaneously transmits light and energy to underwater energy devices, allowing self-powered devices that harvest energy and decode information transferred by light beams.

SCUBA News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. This means we are happy for you to reuse our material for both commercial and non-commercial use as long as you: credit the name of the author, link back to the SCUBA Travel website and say if you have made any changes. Some of the photos though, might be copyright the photographer. If in doubt please get in touch.

Photo credits: Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme, Kristin Riser, Jianye Sui

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