diving

33rd Annual Avalon Underwater Cleanup February 22

The Catalina Island Conservancy’s 33rd annual Avalon Underwater Cleanup will takes place February 22, 2014. During the event, members of the diving community are invited to help clean the seafloor of Avalon Harbor. This is the only time diving is permitted in the harbor. Over the years, the cleanup has grown to become one of the most popular dive events in Southern California, attracting more than 500 divers who scour several sites to retrieve trash and lost items from the harbor floor. For the second […]

The Sequential Life of the California Sheephead

Many marine animals are hermaphrodites. Nudibranchs, for instance. It is thought that being able to mate with any same species creature encountered on the reef gives hermaphrodites a better chance of reproducing.  Many fish, gastropods and plants are sequential hermaphrodites. Instead of having both sexes mature in their bodies at the same time, they start life as one sex and become another later. Protandrous creatures change from male to female. Protogynous creatures change from female to male. According to Wikipedia: “About 75 percent of all […]

Homecoming to California Diving

I have just returned home from Orlando, Florida‚äîwhere I did not go to Disney World. However, I did attend the annual Diving Equipment Marketing Association (DEMA) trade show. This “wasn’t my first rodeo,” as a DEMA show attendee. I’ve been to this event thirty-some-odd times and it’s easy to fall into the “same show, different year” mindset.  But not this year. At this year’s show I felt a buzz of excitement, on the show floor that I haven’t noticed in a few years. What was […]

Tunicates: The Surprisingly Complex Sea Squirts

Of all the marine animals in the world, tunicates are vetebrates’ closest relatives and that includes the class Mammalia (us). Both tunicates and mammals are members of the phylum Chordata. Both have a notochord (a cartilaginous skeletal rod) when they are embryos. The notochord is lost as most tunicates grow older but it segments and turns into a backbone in mammals and other vertebrates. Tunicates further belong to the subphylum Tunicata and the class Ascidiacea. The latter includes 2,500 to 3,000 species, about 90 of […]

Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition Deadline November 14

This is your last chance to send in submissions to the 2013 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition sponsored by Underwater Photography Guide. The competition is open to underwater photographers of all experience levels. There are 12 categories in this contest: Cold/Temperate Water Compact Camera (three categories) Divers/Fashion Macro Marine Life Behavior  Marine Life Portraits Novice DSLR Nudibranchs  Super Macro Wide-angle Prizes valued at more than $80,000 will be awarded, including more than 35 live-aboard and resort scuba diving vacation packages, scuba diving equipment, and more. Judges include […]

California’s Undersea Flower Animals: The Stony Corals

It’s a fact stranger than fiction: there are underwater creatures commonly found in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast that are biologically classified as “flower animals.” The class is Anthozoa, formed from two Greek words, anthos, meaning “flower” and zoa, meaning “animals,” and it contains the stony corals. Anthozoa is a class within the photogenic phylum Cnidaria (the “C” is silent), which means “nettle” in Greek. Besides corals, phylum members include sea anemones, sea pens, gorgonians, jellyfishes and hydroids. Cnidarians have two forms, polyps […]

Call for Entries in 2013 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition

Underwater Photography Guide, a popular online resource for underwater photographers, is accepting entries for the 2013 Ocean Art Underwater Photo Competition. The competition is open to underwater photographers of all experiences levels and includes 12 categories: Cold/Temperate Water Compact Camera (three categories) Divers/Fashion Macro Marine Life Behavior  Marine Life Portraits Novice DSLR Nudibranchs  Super Macro Wide-angle Entries must be submitted online no later than November 10, 2013. Prizes valued at more than $75,000 will be awarded, including more than 35 live-aboard and resort scuba diving […]

On Moray Hunting

I am thankful for the opportunity to contribute this guest editorial, especially since I’m writing to take issue with an article that appears in the August 2013 issue of California Diving News. I am writing to express my opposition to the Scuba Chef column “Grilled Eel with Spicy Thai Sauce.” I was stunned by the suggestion that divers should hunt moray eels for food. In my opinion, this is a very bad idea, for several reasons.  I’ll start with the current population of eels. It […]

Bryozoans: Mother Nature’s Look-Alikes

Ever look at a horse and wonder if it was a pig or a cat? Me neither. I have however, looked at dozens of my photos and wondered if they were actually bryozoans and not the hydroids, corals or seaweeds they resembled.  Mother Nature turned trickster when she created bryozoans. She gave them many different forms and colors. On land, an animal that looks like a horse is very probably a horse. Underwater, an animal that looks like a hydroid, coral or seaweed may just […]

A California Icon — The Garibaldi

One of the first things I learned when I moved to California in 1975 was that the garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus) was California’s official state fish. It was something I heard over and over again. The problem was that although widely believed, this information was not true. And to some degree there has been and still is some confusion about the status of this iconic fish.  Today, the garibaldi is indeed officially recognized as California’s state marine fish. The golden trout (Salmo aguabonita, also written as […]

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