Happy Father’s day to all the dads out there! This is a little shout-out to one of nature’s best fathers, the seahorse. Male seahorses, as well as supplying the sperm to fertilize the eggs, also incubate them inside a modified abdominal pouch for a full 24 days before birth. It turns out that these sygnathids have a highly complex pregnancy, involving more then 3000 different genes – many with specific pregnancy-related functions. Some allow the father to provide specialized nutrients like energy-rich fats and calcium to aid the growth of the tiny embryos, others work to remove embryo-related waste products, and some even produce antibacterial and antifungal molecules to protect the developing young from infection. A subset of these genes also work to assist in the labor itself – producing hatching signals to cue the embryos to break from their membranes and swim freely inside the brood pouch. All this leads up to a full labor, complete with contractions, ending in the release of up to 2500 baby seahorses (depending on the species). Interestingly enough, many of these genes discovered in seahorse dads are quite similar to genes associated with reproductive function in mammals, reptiles, and other fish – potentially suggesting a case of convergent evolution, where a base set of key genes have evolved independently across different evolutionary lineages over time.
Taken while in the field on an internship with @npssubmerged and @owuss_ . .
Source: Camilla M. Whittington, Oliver W. Griffith, Weihong Qi, Michael B. Thompson, Anthony B. Wilson, Seahorse Brood Pouch Transcriptome Reveals Common Genes Associated with Vertebrate Pregnancy, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Volume 32, Issue 12, December 2015, Pages 3114–3131 . . .
If encounter a happy globe of anthias like this I immediately want to join in on the merry dance around the coral. Unfortunately reality will always catch up and I’m left with a surface interval of memories in orange and blue. I guess there is always next time, right? ;)
6123217 hours ago
I found this Crab on a recent night dive, swimming on top of the waters surface. Much to my surprise the crab’s paddle shaped legs move fairly fast, when it wants to swim away 🦀
A killer whale giving me a very close inspection!
This encounter is one of the luckiest I have ever had - seeing a killer whale in clear blue water in the open ocean is extremely rare. We didn’t really know how they were going to respond to us, and given they were transient / Biggs killer whales (the type that eat either large fish or marine mammals) we were a tad apprehensive about getting in the water with them..! After the pod had crashed past us at around 10-12kts, this youngster started to really interact with us - an experience I will never forget!! Turn the sound on to hear the beautiful vocalisations the orca was making 🤙
This work was performed under the authorisation no 15-ORAC-19 issued by the government on 07.06.19
Nemo’s reef. Where do we begin to describe this extremely familiar yet totally mysterious place!
A reef teaming with wondrous creatures going about their daily lives.
As the sun sets over Nemo's Reef, corals, anemones and other bizarre animals unlock their sophisticated weaponry to hunt under the cover of darkness. And every eventful night is followed by a beautifully sunlit scene of schooling fish grazing over the reef, anemonefish valiantly protecting their eggs and cleaning stations bustling with activity!
In addition we are always ready for any surprise encounters that this reef throws up for us❤️
In a clam shell, Nemo's reef rocks 😁
Shore dives at Nemo’s are very easy to organise and we are never limited by space. So if you are keen on shore diving, our divemasters would be thrilled to take you. It gives us a chance to continue exploring this crazy reef!
Learn more about our favourite dive sites before you get here. Head over to the link in our bio!
The beauty of Gozo is its underwater landscape of walls and huge drop offs, caverns, caves and tunnels and reefs teaming with fish. Clear and usually calm waters mean that visibility is typically in excess of 40 metres, and the wide variety of dive sites includes reefs, wartime wrecks and dramatic underwater scenery such as the submerged caves of the Blue Hole.
We always swear we'll never take another photo of a #gasflame#nudibranch but they buggers are just so photogenic. The interesting hairstyles are thanks to the surge in #Falsebay yesterday. My dive buddy @quandowines decided to photobomb too. Thanks to @piscesdivers_ct for the boat ride.