Saturday, January 26, 2008
ESA Recovery Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales
The recovery program in the plan includes actions to address the following topics:
Prey Availability: Support salmon restoration efforts in the region including habitat,harvest and hatchery management considerations and continued use of existing authorities under the ESA and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to ensure an adequate prey base.
Pollution/Contamination: Clean up existing contaminated sites, minimize continuing inputs of contaminants harmful to killer whales, and monitor emerging contaminants.
Vessel Effects: Continue with evaluation and improvement of guidelines for vessel activity near Southern Resident killer whales and evaluate the need for regulations or protected areas.
Oil Spills: Prevent oil spills and improve response preparation to minimize effects on Southern Residents and their habitat in the event of a spill.
Acoustic Effects: Continue agency coordination and use of existing ESA and MMPA mechanisms to minimize potential impacts from anthropogenic sound.
Education and Outreach: Enhance public awareness, educate the public on actions they can participate in to conserve killer whales and improve reporting of Southern Resident killer whale sightings and strandings.
Response to Sick, Stranded, Injured Killer Whales: Improve responses to live and dead killer whales to implement rescues, conduct health assessments, and determine causes of death to learn more about threats and guide overall conservation efforts.
Transboundary and Interagency Coordination: Coordinate monitoring, research, enforcement, and complementary recovery planning with Canadian agencies, and Federal and State partners.
Research and Monitoring: Conduct research to facilitate and enhance conservation efforts. Continue the annual census to monitor trends in the population, identify individual animals, and track demographic parameters.
Click here for more information.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Baby sea star
Tunicates - Colonial Sea Squirts
Sea squirts / Sea Pork are an early stage in the evolution of the chordates or animals. There are three types of tunicates: solitary, colonial, and compound. All have two siphons, one for intake and the other for expelling wastes. Colonial tunicates reproduce by budding. Sea squirts have a primitive notochord (vertebral column, backbone) called a urochord(lack segmentation throughout the body and tail) and are distantly related to fish, whales, and humans.
Maine gastropods (snails) reproduce dioeciously (male and female individuals). Egg deposition is in masses surrounded by a capsule, which is usually attached to the substratum. Most larvae develop into a free-swimming veliger. The characteristic feature of the veliger is the swimming organ called a velum, which consists of two large semicircular lobes bearing long cilia. The shell develops spirally in the veliger and may remain at the apex of the adult shell for some time. In sea slugs a shell appears in the veliger and is later cast off during metamorphosis.