scuba

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 […]

Go Diving. Now.

Experienced California divers know that our diving changes with the seasons. In the winter we can experience squid “runs” and visits from California gray whales. In the spring numerous species including our iconic garibaldi strut their stuff in captivating courtship displays in an effort to win hearts and procreate. In summer the days grow longer and nutrient-rich waters fuel explosions of fish populations.  And then there is fall‚ a magical time of year in California. Weather and water conditions are often at their very best […]

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 […]

Santa Barbara Film Festival to Honor Ernie Brooks

Ernest H. Brooks II (Ernie) is one of the legends of underwater photography. The son of Ernest H. Brooks, who was the founder of Brooks Institute of Photography, Ernie grew up in Santa Barbara with the ocean as his playground. Long recognized as one of the premiere underwater photographers in the world, Brooks’ specialty is distinctive black and white images that are timeless in their appeal. His coffee table book, Silver Seas, features an amazing collection of his photographs.  To honor Ernie’s contributions to the […]

Now’s the Time to Explore A Kelp Forest

“The number of living creatures of all Orders, whose existence intimately depends on the kelp is wonderful. A great volume might be written, describing the inhabitants of one of these beds of seaweed. I can only compare these great aquatic forests with the terrestrial ones in the inter-tropical regions. Yet, if in any country a forest was destroyed, I do not believe nearly so many species of animals would perish as would here, from the destruction of kelp.” This quote is attributed to the renowned […]

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