Scientists say not all Orcas are the same

Scientists in the Pacific Northwest are making the case for separate identification of two orca populations.

Orcas, also known as Killer whales, are one of the most widespread animals on Earth and have long been known as only one species, Orcinus orca, with different forms in various regions known as “ecotypes.”

Biologists have increasingly recognised differences between “resident” and “Bigg’s” ecotypes. Resident killer whales maintain tight-knit family pods and prey on salmon and other marine fish. Bigg’s killer whales, sometimes known as transients, roam in smaller groups, preying on other marine mammals such as seals and whales. (Killer whales actually belong to the dolphin family.)

Full details available at: NOAA Fisheries 27mar24

Congrats to this year’s Subs In Schools National Champions!

Huge congratulations are in order for all the schools, students, and teachers who participated in last week’s 2024 Subs In Schools National Finals, hosted in St. Peters, SA. It was an event filled with excitement and learning, and it looked like everyone had a fantastic time!

Let’s give a big shout out to the winners in each category!

ROV Development Class:

  • National Champions: Trident from Wagga Wagga Christian College in NSW
  • Second Place: Octobots from Carine Senior High School in WA
  • Third Place: Dolphins from Newton Moore Senior High School in WA

ROV Professional Class:

  • National Champions: Trident from Brighton Secondary School in SA
  • Second Place: Sea Tech Savant from Hampton Senior High School in WA
  • Third Place: Nautilunar from Parramatta Marist High School in NSW

Submarine Class:

  • National Champions: Team Oceanus Systems from St. Philip’s Christian College (Newcastle Campus) in NSW
  • Second Place: Orca from Wagga Wagga Christian College in NSW
  • Third Place: Nautilus from The Heights School in SA

ROV Discovers 4 New Octopus Species

In 2023, Schmidt Ocean Institute scientists exploring with ROV Subastian have discovered four new octopus species at a depth of ~3,000m off Costa Rica. The octopus were found near two low-temperature hydrothermal springs.

One has been named the Dorado Octopus after the rock called El Dorado Hill where it was found. The others have yet to be formally described.

Full article at: New Scientist 16jan24

Rare Oarfish spotted on GBR

Snorkelers had a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the Great Barrier Reef last year, spotting a juvenile oarfish, about 1m to 2m long. Oarfish are rarely found in shallow waters, maybe because they need space to turn around? They are possibly the world’s longest bony fish and can grow up to 8m in length!

Full article at: 9News 28jun22