Saturday, February 22, 2014

The web of life

This beautiful chart of Key Players in the Food Web makes clear how each kind of marine life interacts with the others.

It was posted in one of the Forums that accompany this MOOC I'm taking. Highly recommended.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Marine Megafauna

I started this MOOC on Marine Megafauna this week. It started two weeks ago, so I was behind, but I've caught up now. I love it!

Students have signed up from around the world, so the Forums to discuss the classwork are fascinating. People post amazing photos from around the world, too.

Of course, at the start, Elephant Seals seemed like they would be a major subject. After all, what's more Mega than that? But the course shows how amazing ocean life is -- from sea turtles to penguins of all kinds -- including the bluish Fairy Penguins of Australia and New Zealand, who live in burrows under the ground. Mola mola, up to two tons. How cool is that!
This picture is from Australian Animal Learning Zone.
The extinct Megalodon shark as well as modern sharks. This week, it's the Ocean Sunfish,

I've having a great time with it. Even if Elephant Seals aren't the main subject.
This handsome fellow announces himself to the beach.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Returning to the sea

Many of the pups are now weaned. most of them stay close to the edge of the bluff, out of harm's way. Mostly they sleep. A few go to the water's edge or mingle with other mothers and pups, stealing milk as they can.

 Mating is frequent now,k with mothers coming into estrus as lactation winds down.
This female was besieged by four males as she tried to get to the water. This big male took notice and the others retreated. He stayed with her for half an hour or so, then she was able to leave quietly, without having to defend herself from multiple males.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Web Cam

The Friends of the Elephant Seals Webcam is a great way to check in on the seals. Right now, there are lots of mothers and pups to watch.

 Mating is the big event of the day. This bull lets everyone know he's in charge.
 Many pups have already been weaned. Lots of fat weaners this year.
Th4ese two mothers had a long argument as to whose pup was whose and where they belonged. They eventually settled down.