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MARINE LIFE

Explore some of the Odyssey logs where the crew experience different marine life.


Sea Turtles:

December 16, 2002
'A Night with a Nesting Green Turtle'
"Last night we were very lucky to see a green turtle come ashore on Picard Island to lay her eggs. By the time we arrived, she had just hauled herself up onto the sand and had begun to dig her nest above the high tide mark - this prevents the nest being swamped by the ocean."
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September 10, 2002
'The Lives of Sea Turtles - Part 1 - Breeding'
"The crew has spent months researching the waters of the Indian Ocean between Western Australia and the Seychelles Archipelago where we often encountered marine turtles, both inshore and in the open ocean. Today we spoke with Dr. Jeanne Mortimer, a sea turtle ecologist working in the Seychelles."
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September 13, 2002
'The Lives of Sea Turtles - Part 2 - Lifecycle'
"In the last Odyssey log, Dr. Jeanne Mortimer discussed how sea turtles come to land in order to breed. Today, we learn more about the life cycle of sea turtles explore how they survive in the open ocean, where they go, and how long they stay at sea before returning to land."
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September 17, 2002
'The Lives of Sea Turtles - Part 3 - Threats'
"Sea Turtles have survived on our planet for more than 150 million years, however, they now require only but a nudge to be propelled forever into oblivion. Due to the increase in human pressures around the world, extinction is a serious possibility for most sea turtle populations. What can you do to help?"
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September 17, 2001
'Australian Flatback Turtle'
"Turtles have survived relatively unchanged for around 200 million years. Of the roughly 260 species known worldwide, 23 are found in Australia."
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April 29, 2003
'The Sea Turtle Tragedy'
"At 2 o'clock this afternoon, Peter radioed the helm from the observation platform when he spotted something floating in the water about 300 meters ahead. As Mark followed Peter's directions to steer Odyssey toward the floating object, Peter called down again: 'I think it's a turtle tangled in fishing gear'."
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Sharks & Rays:

March 9, 2004
'The Face of Shark Finning'
"In the last Odyssey log, we reported on the trade in shark fins for use in shark fin soup and the practice of shark finning. This wasteful trade causes the death of over one hundred million sharks annually. The following report is a personal account of Odyssey crew members witnessing shark finning."
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March 1, 2004
'Shark Finning - A Global Threat to Sharks'
"Shark finning is defined as the removal of a shark's fins onboard a boat and the discarding of the remainder of the shark at sea. The animal is sometimes alive during this process. Why on earth would anyone undertake such a bizarre and inherently cruel practice?"
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December 20, 2002
'Besieged by Blacktip Reef Sharks'
"To see any shark in its natural habitat is exhilarating, but to see so many in one of the most unspoiled locations in the world is humbling."
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November 19, 2002
'The Threats to Whale Sharks'
"David Rowat of the Marine Conservation Society of Seychelles (MCS) is concerned that humans may be adversely effecting the population before anyone has had a chance to learn more about them. In the second part of our interview with David, he discusses why we need to learn more about the population as a whole and what he believes are the current human, as well as the natural threats to whale sharks."
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November 15, 2002
'Studying Whale Sharks Using Satellite Tags'
"How do researchers in the Seychelles study the largest fish in the sea? Find out how satellite tags are used to gather important information about whale sharks in the Indian Ocean."
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September 20, 2002
'Gentle Giants'
"After experiencing miserable and even violent weather for the last two days that eventually culminated in an unusually strong tropical storm, the Odyssey crew took shelter inside Anse a la Mouche. Ronny Alcindor, our Seychelles observer from the Ministry of Environment, informed us that it is currently whale shark season here - the time of year when plankton blooms are most abundant in the area, which in turn attracts many whale sharks. Because these animals are known to feed along the exterior of the reef, it was an ideal opportunity to try and find them."
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April 19, 2002
'Great White Sharks'
"The reputation of Great White Sharks has been sorely damaged through misrepresentation by the media and popular writers. The star of film and literature, the mere mention of this shark's name elicits terror in most peoples' minds. Such irresponsible publicity is unwarranted and has led to a rapid increases in the number of Great White sharks killed around the globe with the result that Great White sharks have recently been added to the Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) list of endangered species. "
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October 16, 2001
'The Shovelnose Ray'
"It's believed that rays are direct descendents of modern day sharks, which have evolved into a bizarre assortment of sizes and shapes that include guitar fishes, skates, electric and sting rays, eagle rays and the unique shovelnose ray.
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May 28, 2001
'Shark Finning'
"This is Roger Payne speaking to you from the Odyssey about one of the most appalling fishing practices now being pursued. Called shark finning, it is the fishery that collects the fins of sharks so they can be used to make Shark fin soup. This fishery has become almost unbelievably lucrative owing to the high prices shark fins command in cities like Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where a bowl of shark fin soup can cost $90."
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Fish

April 21, 2004
'Raising Nemo'
"To supply the aquarium trade, fish are often taken directly from coral reefs using destructive methods such as cyanide fishing. This chemical kills coral, any non-target fish in the immediate area and the majority of captured fish. There are also problems when the surviving fish reach the retail market. Read about what the Marine Research Center in Male is doing about it."
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March 14, 2003
'Napoleon Wrasse'
"The crew spend most of their time offshore searching for whales, where opportunities to view marine life beneath the surface of the ocean are very rare. The Maldives are renowned for having some of the most pristine and spectacular coral reefs in the world. When we arrived back in port this week, the crew took the opportunity to go diving on North Male atoll."
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March 31, 2003
'Lionfish'
"Many species of fish are perfectly camoflaged, having evolved to blend into their background to hide from predators, or to increase their chances of sneaking up on prey, or both. If you swim closer to the reef, hang in one place and control your buoyancy in order to avoid touching the coral, you will almost always notice more fish than you would while swimming by it."
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June 20, 2001
'Anemone Fish'
"A fish that was quick to capture our attention today was the aggressive and highly territorial anemone fish. We encountered several different species, all appearing equally determined to drive us away from there domain with swift charges and retreats."
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May 10, 2001
'The Dispersal of Reef Fishes'
"As we proceed in collecting data from sperm whales, we continue to weave and dodge a virtual minefield of forest debris. Heavy logging in much of Papua New Guinea has meant branches, logs, even entire trees, some the length of the Odyssey have washed into the sea. As we drifted by a particularly large tree trunk the other day, we took the opportunity to peer into the water beneath."
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April 5, 2001
'Barracuda'
"Barracudas endure a fearsome reputation, renowned as being a veracious predator they are quite capable of cutting a large parrotfish in two with a single bite."
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January 8, 2001
The Amazing Pufferfish
"This puffer is relatively uncommon and rarer still to see during this golden phase. At least 21 species of puffer fish occur here in Micronesia, and the crew has encountered them frequently on our numerous diving and snorkeling trips, but this is our first golden puffer."
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December 6, 2000
Rainbow Runners: Part I
"They were always there, tirelessly swimming, never resting, never varying, always keeping pace, never deviating, never slowing, never speeding ahead, always at Odyssey's heel, hour after hour-our tireless companion fish."
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December 8, 2000
Rainbow Runners: Part II
"My theory is that they find the Odyssey useful for two things: we provide cover when large predators appear, and we are a fixed point of reference-a place around which they can collect, and when they fan out and come back they will always find other rainbow runners here."
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December 11, 2000
The Rainbow Coincidence - Rainbow Runners: Part III
"I have felt relieved all day that they are still with us. For if they had left last night just as we were having our meeting to discuss their fate."
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December 13, 2000
Do Fish Sleep? - Rainbow Runners: Part IV
"One of the things we can now answer thanks to this remarkable voyage of nearly a thousand statute miles with rainbow runners by our side is that fish don't need to sleep. Or if they do they must be able to sleep while swimming hard and keeping pace with a boat..."
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November 10, 2000
An Encounter with a Moray Eel
The moray eel must keep its mouth open, constantly take in enough water to supply its body with oxygen, which is extracted as water flows over the gills.
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Various Marine Life:

January 20, 2004
'The Crown-of-thorns Starfish - A Coral Killer'
"The other day the crew was invited to visit the Ministry of Fisheries in Albion. Several Fisheries staff spent time onboard Odyssey observing our research. Among the responsibilities of the Albion Fisheries Division is to monitor the coral reefs around the country, including the management of any threats to this fragile ecosystem. We spoke with Meera Koonjul about her work with one potential threat to the coral reefs of Mauritius, the Crown-of-thorns Starfish."
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October 21, 2002
'Creatures of the Intertidal Zone'
"Imagine that your home was underwater half the day, being pounded by surf-all of your possessions washed away as you struggled to cling to the rocks or the sand. Now imagine that during the other half of the day you were exposed to the heat of the sun, dehydrating on that same rocky surface or sandy floor-not an easy life. Yet in this intertidal world where space is at a premium, a staggering variety of life forms has evolved. So who is it that lives here, and how do they survive?"
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August 28, 2002
'BOWCAM Returns'
"Our opportunity came last night to test the new BOWCAM lens as we drifted on the moon lit waters of the Indian Ocean and the results were immediate. As we watched, a tight ball of small fish rose to the surface attracted by the halogen light we had placed over the bow; the squid were quick to follow."
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June 30, 2002
'Legends of the Deep'
"Today a whale abruptly fluked and I noticed something floating just below the surface about 20 meters away. "It's a squid!" - yelled Chris from the bow. We scooped it up in our net, laid it out on the deck and found it to be a large fin, 21 inches (55 centimeters) long. It was the fin of a very large squid. Was this a fin from a species of Giant Squid?"
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July 5, 2002
'Architeuthis - The Giant Squid'
"Most of us have a perception of this creature, that was born of the many legends and myths that have so long surrounded it. However, the truth about this animal may be quite different. Inaccurate information regarding the giant squid is often found in popular literature. So what do scientists really know about this creature? "
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June 7 2002
'The Wandering Tuna'
"Last night we had a small group of 10-15 Pan-tropical spotted dolphins, rolling and tumbling around our bow, hitching a free ride. However at sunrise this morning, the guests at our bow were no longer the cajoling, whistling marine mammals. Instead, from bow to stern, just below the surface of the ocean, was a large school of sleek, swell-surfing skipjack tuna."
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May 29, 2002
'Farming Giant Clams'
"Recognition of globally declining stocks of giant clams prompted Paul Tod of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands to consider the potential for mariculture, a practice that once established is relatively low maintenance with high returns for both the environment and the producer."
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March 26, 2002
'Patagonian Toothfish'
"Large scale fishing for Patagonian Toothfish began in the early 1990's following the decline in fish stocks in many northern hemisphere fisheries. The high market value and decline of worldwide stocks, together with the remoteness of the fishing grounds and lack of surveillance has provided ideal circumstances for illegal fishing."
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February 20, 2002
'Sheltering High Seas in the Abrolhos'
"We are currently heading toward the old sperm whaling grounds about 200 - 300 nautical miles northwest of the coastal town of Geraldton. Last night while travelling south of the Houtman Abrolhos islands, we decided to take shelter from the adverse weather conditions."
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November 30, 2001
'Intertidal Forests'
"Very little is actually known about mangroves and their forest ecosystem. We know that they are an integral component of the marine environment. However, the mangrove ecosystem is different from adjacent systems, such as coral reefs and the open ocean, but is critically linked to and totally dependant upon them."
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November 20, 2001
'Box Jellyfish'
"During the wet season, temperatures and humidity soar. You would assume that being a city on the ocean, locals would flock to the beaches. However, this is not the case as just offshore, the waters are teeming with the most toxic animal on the planet, the Box Jellyfish."
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November 15, 2001
'A Venomous Visitor'
"Yesterday, Odyssey First Mate, Joe Boreland, climbed into the dinghy and was surprised by the presence of a small snake, weaving its way up the leg of the engine in what appeared to be an effort to escape the sea. Initially, we assumed it was a curious sea snake, animals well known to be fatally toxic."
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August 3, 2001
'The Chambered Nautilus'
"A relative of the octopus, squid and cuttlefish, the Chambered Nautilus is an ancient cephalopod. Represented by only a single genus, the chambered nautilus is an animal that has inspired poets and naturalists since olden times. "
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July 13, 2001
'Sea Stars'
"Today while visiting Krangket Island, we happened upon a narrow estuary that meandered out through the mangrove forests and into the sea. The locals told us that they never swim here because of the saltwater crocodiles, although none of them had actually seen one. We couldn’t believe what we saw, the late afternoon sunlight was filtering through the leaves, illuminating the most spectacular ensemble of sea stars only inches beneath the surface."
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May 7, 2001
'The Mating Patterns of Squid'
"Cephalopods include the octopuses, cuttlefishes, squids, and the most ancient of this family, the chambered nautiluses. When translated literally cephalopod means 'headfoot' for that is exactly what these creatures are. There are over 700 known species of cephalopods worldwide, all with varying body types and lifestyles."
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November 1, 2000
The Giant Clam
The giant clam is the world's largest bivalve. This smaller species of giant clam have exquisite iridescent blue and green mottling on the mantle.
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March 20, 2003
'Coral Reefs - An Underwater Paradise'
"The Maldives is an underwater paradise in an area where the vast blue reaches of the ocean are studded with coral reefs. These reefs stretch for almost 900 kilometers, harbouring an explosion of aquatic life that includes over one-third of the reef fish found in the entire Indian Ocean."
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March 26, 2003
'Coral Bleaching'
"During our time researching sperm whales in the Maldives, the crew dove on some of the most spectacular and in tact coral reefs found anywhere in the world. Yet even on these heavily protected reefs there are signs of trouble."
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Crustaceans

December 20, 2000
Jarvis
"We have a wonderful new crew member in our lives: Jarvis, he has has more charm than a duck.... He is in every sense a most superior, most accomplished, most lucky crustacean."
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November 15, 2000
The Land Hermit Crab
When a hermit crab locates a shell, it slips its abdomen out of the old shell and quickly into the new one.
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February 23, 2001
Coconut Crab
"The coconut crab is, in fact, the largest in the hermit crab family. Having no need to carry a portable dwelling, this hermit has developed a permanent hard plated shell, which can grow to an astonishing three feet across."
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July 21, 2002
'Crabs - Putting on a New Suit'
"Beachcombers often mistake the perfectly intact exoskeleton (the moulted shell of a crab) for a dead animal. So next time you see what you think is a dead crab lying on the beach, take a second look. On closer inspection, you may find that it is the entirely empty, clean, but discarded armor of a nearby crab that has recently traded it in for a brand new suit of armor."
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July 17, 2002
'The Diversity of Crabs'
"When visiting the islands of the Chagos Archipelago, we always encounter substantial numbers and varieties of crabs - land crabs, shore crabs and hermit crabs. Several species are represented in the tropical areas of the world, some are small, reclusive and well camouflaged, others large, spectacular and brilliantly colored, while many exist as variations of these extremes."
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May 2, 2002
'Sustainable Rock Lobsters'
"In terms of the world's natural marine resources, we are obviously close to, and probably exceeding, the maximum global catch that it is possible to sustain. Stocks are currently in decline along every coastline, yet there are ever more humans to feed. Regardless of what direction you look the future appears grim, although we learned today that there is hope with one well managed fishery in Western Australia."
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