Jellyfish are definitely fascinating creatures, that are almost hypnotizing to watch ... you could say, they’re the lava lamps of the animal kingdom. Unfortunately for aquarists, however, they also can’t be kept in a regular aquarium, as they’ll get sucked into the water filtration intakes. That’s why Duke University Biology and Environmental Science alumnus Alex Andon started experimenting with adapting regular aquaria to make them jellyfish-friendly. After having some success with selling these converted tanks online, he decided to start making them from scratch. His San Francisco company, Jellyfish Art, is now marketing them as the Desktop Jellyfish Tank. Read More
Should someone tell you “Last night, I saw a great white shark swimming through my living room,” don’t assume that they’re crazy. It could be that what they saw was an Air Swimmer. The remote-control toys (which are available as a shark or a clown fish) are able to swim through the air, turning, diving and climbing on command. Now all we need is an RC model penguin, that flies underwater. Read More
In fisheries all over the world, many fish are caught using a process known as pelagic longlining. This consists of fishing crews traveling out into the open ocean and deploying a series of baited hooks that are all attached to one horizontal main line, that can range from 20 to 40 miles (32 to 64 km) in length. After being left to sit in the water for a period of time, the line is hauled abroad a fishing vessel, where the fishes that took the bait are removed from the hooks. Unfortunately, even though they're not usually one of the targeted species, sometimes sharks will be among the fish captured. A new type of fish hook, however, is said to reduce unintended shark catches by up to 94 percent. Read More
When you cast a fishing lure out into the water and it goes beneath the surface, it enters a dark, mysterious world that you can only imagine. Perhaps that’s overstating things a bit, but the fact is, you can’t see where it is or what’s around it. A fish finder can provide you with some basic information (if you’re in a boat) but it doesn’t actually show you what it looks like down there. That’s where the FishEyes Rod and Reel with Underwater Video Camera comes in. Its built-in color LCD screen provides you with a live image of your lure, and any fish that happen to be near it. Read More
With the advent of robust, miniaturized electronic devices, an increasingly common method of studying wild animals involves temporarily attaching data-logging sensors directly to them. Some readers might have seen point-of-view video footage obtained with National Geographic's "Crittercam," for instance, or heard about the study where the migratory routes of Arctic terns were determined by putting tiny light loggers on the birds. Now, a consortium of scientists from nine European research institutions have tagged cod fish with mini-thermometers, to find out how they will be able to cope with rising ocean temperatures. Read More
Marine net-pen fish farms aren’t popular with environmentalists for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being the amount of fish feces and uneaten food that they release into the surrounding ocean. In the UK, help for that problem may be coming in the form of the sea cucumber. Despite its name, the sea cucumber is an animal, that resembles a big slug and is about the same size as ... well, as a cucumber, or sometimes larger. Given that sea cukes subsist on organic matter that they scavenge from the sea floor, scientists at Newcastle University have proposed that they be introduced to fish farms where they could process waste. After eating all that fish poop, some of the cucumbers could then be served up as gourmet cuisine for humans. Read More
Ask anyone who keeps freshwater tropical fish to name the top five most exotic, bizarre fish available to hobbyists, and chances are the black ghost knife fish will be in there. Besides looking incredibly cool, these Amazon basin creatures have two rather unusual characteristics: they can sense all around themselves by generating a weak electrical field, and they can move in any direction, thanks to an undulating ribbon-like fin that runs along the length of their underside. In an effort to replicate that form of maneuverability for use in man-made submersibles, a team led by Northwestern University mechanical and biomedical engineer Dr. Malcolm MacIver has created the GhostBot – an underwater robot that moves via a knife fish-like fin. Read More
We’ve seen the swimming motions of fish emulated by underwater robots several times before, but jellyfish (with an exception or two) don’t seem to inspire mechanical imitation quite as much. A student at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena (Caltech), however, thinks that their unique propulsion system might be the perfect model for another type of technology: tiny pumps that can be implanted in peoples’ bodies, or used in soft robotics. Read More
Oh, choices, choices... do you grow vegetables, raise worms or raise fish? Well, the just-released Fishy Farm is designed to do all three in one hit. The small-scale aquaponic set-up is based around an ecosystem in which fish-waste-infused water fertilizes the veggies and feeds the worms, which in turn filter the water before it returns to the fish. All that users need to do is feed the fish, top up the water, and gobble up the bounty... except for the worms. Read More
You might not care how hard or easy it is to image zebrafish larvae, but you should. Zebrafish larvae are among the most commonly-used laboratory animals, useful for studies of human diseases such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Now, engineers from MIT have developed a system that dramatically streamlines the zebrafish-imaging process. Whereas traditional manual viewing takes about ten minutes per fish, a new system developed by engineers at MIT can get the job done in just 19 seconds. Read More