Thursday Afternoon Dredging: December 29th, 2016

Cuttings (short and sweet):

Taken from a NOAA Okeanos Explorer video

Taken from a NOAA Okeanos Explorer video

Spoils (long reads and deep dives):

Feel free to share your own cuttings and spoils in the comments below!

Thursday Afternoon Dredging: December 1, 2016

Cuttings (short and sweet):

How a sawfish uses its saw, from Wueringer and friends (2012), the function of the sawfish saw, Current Biology

How a sawfish uses its saw, from Wueringer and friends (2012), the function of the sawfish saw, Current Biology

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Skeptical David is skeptical of new efforts to de-extinct the smalltooth sawfish

On January 1, 2016, the Southern Fried Science central server began uploading blog posts apparently circa 2041. Due to a related corruption of the contemporary database, we are, at this time, unable to remove these Field Notes from the Future or prevent the uploading of additional posts. Please enjoy this glimpse into the ocean future while we attempt to rectify the situation.


Over Christmas, I finally got to tour the Ram Myers Center for Ocean Biodiversity Restoration captive breeding facility. The millions of gallons of saltwater tanks and the state of the art husbandry and genetics labs look like something out of Jurassic Park. The building itself is almost as impressive as the list of heavy-hitters who work for or consult with the Center, and they’ve had undeniable success with temperature-resistant reef-building corals and pH resistant shellfish and phytoplankton that can survive in our increasingly warm and acidified seas.

I was there to investigate their recently-announced efforts to de-extinct smalltooth sawfish by releasing captive-bred animals into the Everglades and the Bahamas. Once found as north as New York and as west as Texas, habitat destruction and bycatch caused these amazing animals’ range to shrink to one small part of South Florida by the late 1990’s. In the early 2000’s they became the first elasmobranch to be listed on the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and in 2027, they were sadly declared extinct in the wild. In the interest of transparency, I should say that I started my tour skeptical of the Center’s plans to de-extinct smalltooth sawfish, and my opinion remains the same after further investigation. Read More

10 fish weirder than the fish in the 10 weirdest fish in the world list

KeartesSarah Keartes  is a science blogger studying marine biology and journalism at the University of Oregon. A self-proclaimed Attenborough wannabe, and all-around shark junkie, she is dedicated to exploring new tools to promote ocean outreach through science communication.

Second string. Almost famous. Runner up. We’ve all been there—bowed out gracefully and stuffed down the BAMF within. I’m talking the missed, the forgotten, the less-than-top dogs (or in this case, fish). Such was the fate of these ten water-dwellers, left looking up at the podium of last month’s “Top Ten Weirdest Fish in the World” list.

Just keep swimming my finned-friends, I’ve got you covered. They may not be the blobbiest, the toothiest, or the most menacing—but for these creatures, weird comes naturally. In their honor, it’s time for round two: the top ten weirder than the weirdest fish in the world list.

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Tweets from the American Elasmobranch Society: Elasmobranch Conservation

The American Elasmobranch Society is a non-profit professional society focusing on the scientific study and conservation of sharks, skates, and rays. AES members meet each year in a different North American city, and this meeting is the world’s largest annual gathering of shark scientists. AES recently met in Vancouver, British Columbia for the 2012 meeting, and for the first time the event was live-tweeted by meeting attendees, including myself. I’ve organized the best conference tweets by session using Storify. If anyone has any questions or comments about the research presented below, please feel free to share it in the comments section of this blog post.

Here are selected tweets from the Elasmobranch Conservation sessions.

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Tweets from the American Elasmobranch Society: Elasmobranch Behavior

The American Elasmobranch Society is a non-profit professional society focusing on the scientific study and conservation of sharks, skates, and rays. AES members meet each year in a different North American city, and this meeting is the world’s largest annual gathering of shark scientists. AES recently met in Vancouver, British Columbia for the 2012 meeting, and for the first time the event was live-tweeted by meeting attendees, including myself. I’ve organized the best conference tweets by session using Storify. If anyone has any questions or comments about the research presented below, please feel free to share it in the comments section of this blog post.

Here are selected tweets from the Elasmobranch Behavior sessions.

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Largetooth sawfish to become second elasmobranch to receive Endangered Species Act protections

The Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis perotteti) is about to become the second elasmobranch protected by the Endangered Species Act, a welcome step in the conservation of these animals.  In addition to the slow growth, low number of offspring, and relatively late maturity which characterizes most elasmobranchs, another  biological feature contributes to sawfish being “among the most endangered fishes in the world,” according to Shark Advocates International President Sonja Fordham. It’s hard to imagine a biological structure that can get more thoroughly entangled in fishing nets than the “saw” on their rostrum, and bycatch is one of the leading causes of population decline in this group of animals. Additionally, the saw used to be a part of the souvenir trade.

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