SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 280 - November 2023
Welcome to SCUBA News for top destinations, liveaboard discounts and under-the-sea news from around the world. Plus, our creature of the month is the fascinating Cherry Tunicate. I hope you enjoy this month's issue.
Soma Bay, in the Red Sea, is a superb place to dive. Beautiful corals, wild drift dives and very scenic.
Sharks, sharks and more sharks. But also turtles, barracuda, dolphins and manta rays. Discover the best dives in French Polynesia.
Sadly there were slightly more incidents than the year before, and six fatalities. The report details each incident in an attempt to learn from them.
We bring you news of the latest dive boat deals, specially selected for us by Divebooker.com, the liveaboard specialists. Including 7, and 10 night trips.
A creature I'd never seen in many years of diving, but came across a few weeks ago. The cherry synascidia is a sea squirt or tunicate. Although they don't look like it, these are the same phylum as vertebrates.
When larvae, they swim about looking for a surface one which to settle. Once they have stuck to somewhere they lose their tails and much of their nervous system. Some people have descibed it as "eating its own brain".
Cherry synascidia on a small column of coral. Together with two tiny gobies.
This cherry tunicate is colonial. The members of the colony, the zooids, are 4-5 mm across and linked by fine strands of tunic.
They are called tunicates because their bodies are covered in a protective coat or tunic. There are two openings in this tunic for the entry and exit of water. Food particles in the water are digested in an intestine.
The scientific name is Metandrocarpa manina. They live in the Indo-Pacific.
Although they look like very simple animals, these fascinating creatures belong to the chordates along with mammals and reptiles. Some scientists think that every animal with a backbone evolved from the tiny tunicate. Researchers have found parallels between genes involved in the breakdown of the tunicate's nervous system and human neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's disease, offering valuable insights into understanding these disorders.
Lieske and Myers, Coral Reef Guide Red Sea. Collins.
Claude Monniot, Stolidobranch ascidians from the tropical western Indian Ocean. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, Volume 135, Issue 1, May 2002, Pages 65-120.
Christopher Vaughan, What can sea squirts tell us about neurodegeneration? Stanford Medicine. July 20, 2022.
Lionfish invasion threatens the Mediterranean
Dominica creates world's first area for sperm whales
Dolphins Are Being Poisoned by Their Mother's Milk, Scientists Warn
Warming waters of the Arctic pose a threat to Pacific right whales
Crust-forming algae are displacing corals in tropical waters worldwide
The crucial role of herbivorous fishes and sea urchins in restoring Caribbean coral reefs
Is ocean iron fertilization back from the dead as a CO2 removal tool?
Underwater Photography: Crafting Murky Images into Vivid Narratives
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Photo credits: S. Kerkhofs, Andrea Izzotti/DepositPhotos, Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme
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