The ongoing wonder of hagfish, deep-sea mining’s race to the bottom, saving whales with lineless lobster traps, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: January 21, 2019

Logo for Monday Morning Salvage.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

It’s month two of the longest shutdown in US history and there’s only one party who won;t allow a vote to reopen the government proceed. Have you called you senator today?

And while I have your attention, FYI:

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)3-D Printing the Ulitmate Deep-Sea Christmas Tree

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All the slime that sticks, we print: 2018 in Hagfish Research

Hagfish. You love them. I love them. Of all the fish in all the seas, none are more magnificent than the hagfish. Across the world, children celebrate the hagfish by making slime from Elmer’s glue, their own mucous, or just, like, something. Seriously, how is is that toddler hands are always coated in some strange, unidentifiable slime?

And never, ever forget:

Your car has just been crushed by hagfish: Frequently Asked Questions.

2018 was a big year in hagfish science. Below are just a few of my favorite studies.

Biogeography

A hagfish in the high Antarctic? Hagfish have previously never been observed in the shallow waters around Antarctic, but a photograph from 1988 was determined this year to be a hagfish feeding on a large pile of clam sperm in shallow water. Neat!

Possible hagfish at 30 m in Salmon Bay in 1988. The white patch is Laternula elliptica sperm.

Incidentally, the reason the photo languished for so long is that it was originally though to be a Nemertean. Because Antarctic Nemertean worms are huge and horrifying.

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We Robot, a horrible hagfish massacre, deep, delicious sandwiches, fish slime harvests, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: September 10, 2018.

Foghorn (a call to action)

The U.S. is turning a significant portion of Micronesia into live fire and bombing ranges to train Marines. It has plans to completely take over one island for this purpose and has control of two-thirds of another island.

If people in the U.S. mainland understood the military’s plan for Micronesia they might be alarmed. But this is really happening to U.S. citizens living in America’s territories.

(source)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

The Levee (news from LUMCON)

LUMCON’s DeFelice Marine Center, flooded, as seen from a dormitory balcony. (Photo: Courtesy of LUMCON)

LUMCON’s DeFelice Marine Center, flooded, as seen from a dormitory balcony. (Photo: Courtesy of LUMCON)

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Lost shipwrecks, weaponized hagfish, plastivorous worms, deep-sea mining, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: August 20, 2018.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Dr. Amon shows off a deep-sea dropcam. Courtesy OpenExplorer.

Dr. Amon shows off a deep-sea dropcam. Courtesy OpenExplorer.

Members of the expedition take time to examine a Japanese mini submarine that remains in the historic sub pens on Kiska Island. Image courtesy of Kiska: Alaska's Underwater Battlefield expedition.

Members of the expedition take time to examine a Japanese mini submarine that remains in the historic sub pens on Kiska Island. Image courtesy of Kiska: Alaska’s Underwater Battlefield expedition.

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Eat hagfish, work at LUMCON, clone Vaquita, question floating trash collectors, and more! Monday Morning Mega-Salvage: August 13, 2018

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

Hagfish (just Hagfish)

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Cinnamon-flavored hagfish, how to open a coconut, hunted by sperm whales, speaking up for the blue, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: June 11, 2018.

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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Saturation diving, destroying the world with Bitcoin mining, deep-sea mining, Arctic shrinkage, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: May 21, 2018

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

The Levee (A featured project that emerged from Oceandotcomm)

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Hagfish, chill Puffins, swamp monsters, the mining boat floats, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: April 2, 2018

Foghorn (A Call to Action!)

  • Want to help stem the tide of misinformation online and off? Do you have it all figured out and just need resources to implement your world-saving solution? The Rita Allen Foundation is looking for Solutions to Curb the Spread of Misinformation.

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

The Levee (A featured project that emerged from Oceandotcomm)

Beware the Feu Follet, by Russell Arnott

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A year of snot-oozing, carcass-scavenging, slime eels: Hagfish Science in 2017.

Hagfish. You love them. I love them. The owner of this sedan has no choice but to love them:

Photo courtesy Oregon State Police.

2017 was a big year for hagfish science.

Big Ideas (the ecologic paradigms that hagfish shifted) 

Heincke’s law is one of those ecologic principles that more often acts as a foil for rejecting the null hypothesis than as a consistent pattern in ecology. It’s most basic summary is: The further from shore and the deeper dwelling a fish is, the bigger it grows. Heincke’s law does not appear to be true for hagfish, whose size appear to have no relation to the depth at which they occur. On the other hand, phylogenetic relationships do seem to play some role in regulating body size in hagfish.

Defense and Behavior (how hagfish do the things that they do)

Hagfish are master escape artists, capable of squeezing in and out of tight spaces barely half the width of their body. This great for getting in an out of rotting whale carcasses on the sea floor, creeping into crevices, and avoiding predators. But how do they accomplish this incredible feat? Hagfish have a flaccid sinus under their skin which allows them to control the distribution of venous blood and alter their body width as they wriggle through narrow passages. Freedman and Fudge identified 9 distinct behaviors which take advantage of this adaptation, including anchoring, forming tight loops to push the body through an opening, and bending the hagfish head 90 degrees to force it through a slit. And there are videos!

The Fudge lab has been busy this year, cranking out some of the most noteworthy work on the incredible behavior of hagfish. In addition to examining hagfish motility, Boggett and friends looked into how those flaccid sinuses aid predator avoidance. The team build wee little guillotines loaded with shark teeth to see how hagfish skin protects the animal from vicious bites. In a year when a truckload of hagfish spectacularly crushed a car, the fact that this research was the biggest breakout sensation in hagfish pop culture says everything you need to know about the compelling results of this study. You can read more about this study at The Verge, Futurity, Popular Science, and plenty of other outlets.

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Everything about hagfish is the best thing about hagfish, the battle for the deep-sea heats up, parasitic butt snails, and more! Monday Morning Salvage: December 17, 2017

Fog Horn (A Call to Action)

Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)

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