underwater

There’s More to Diving Than Diving

Several weeks ago I was honored to serve as the Master Of Ceremonies for the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition (SDUFEX), a two-evening event in which the audience feasted their eyes and ears on a number of short films created by underwater videographers from all over the world. Produced by a hard-working committee of SDUFEX volunteers, and held in a beautiful state-of-the-art 500 plus seat theater at Qualcomm, this year’s show was the 16th annual. As has always been the case, there was a buzz […]

El Niño Correlates With More Shark Sightings

The 2015 El Niño may have a significant impact on weather and climate, but that’s not all. Researchers are blaming El Niño, a period of increased water temperatures in areas of the Pacific Ocean, for increased numbers of shark sightings on the West Coast. This pattern of increased sea surface temperatures generally causes more storms in places like southern California, Mexico and South America. During El Niño periods, Australia and Indonesia tend to get significantly less rainfall.  Now marine scientists are taking note of the […]

Diving With Blue Sharks

Blue sharks (Prionace glauca) are among the easiest sharks to identify. With their thin, sleek bodies — metallic blue on the tops and sides, snow white underneath — they are nearly unmistakable. In addition, blues have long pointed snouts, large round eyes and scythe-like tails. Their pectoral fins are exceptionally long. Blues are members of the largest shark family, Carcharhinidae, which has 60 species and 12 genera. Carcharhinidae are also known as requiem sharks. Exactly why, no one seems to know. All have the following […]

The Art of Fish Portraiture

Of all of the possible underwater subjects fish can be among the most elusive. It may be difficult to get the proper angle for that once-in-a-lifetime nudibranch shot, or you may not be able to communicate effectively with your underwater model. Fish, however, rarely hold still and they’re lousy at following instructions. They require the photographer to exhibit the most fluid and unobtrusive behavior, while at the same time assessing the fish’s mood and comfort level. The quest for the ultimate fish portrait is the […]

It’s Good to Have the Blues

In California we are fortunate to have a variety of sharks that inhabit our coastal waters. It is the blue shark, Prionace glauca, a species that lives in the waters of the open sea that I want to comment on here. Graceful swimmers, blues are sleek, slender and nothing short of absolutely stunning especially when sighted on sunny days in relatively clear, shallow water. In that setting the brilliance of their shimmering indigo coloration is mesmerizing. Given their stunningly handsome appearance, it is not surprising […]

Harboring a Soft Spot for The Harbor Seal

Some marine creatures are easier to love than others. Two of my favorites are the little white sea urchins that decorate themselves with shells and pebbles and the proliferating (also called brooding) anemones whose babies live on their bodies until they are old enough to crawl away and fend for themselves. That anemones could have parenting skills is amazing. I also have a soft spot for harbor seals. Their teardrop shaped bodies are adorably plump and those big round eyes make them seem shy and […]

Cnidarians Known as Hydroids: Animals Looking Like Plants

Once again we dive into Cnidaria, a large phylum that contains approximately 10,000 species. Phylum members include many animals that attract attention because of their bright colors: sea anemones, corals, sea pens, gorgonians and jellyfish. These creatures can afford to flaunt their beauty because most of them have defensive polyps loaded with nematocysts (also called cnidocytes) that can fire venomous miniature harpoons. Lucky for us, most of these weapons are too tiny to penetrate our skin. Cnidarians currently belong to one of four classes: Anthozoa […]

Sea Slug Courtship and Reproduction

Except for having to dissect a frog, I enjoyed high school biology. As an adult, however, I have found marine biology even more fascinating. Reproduction specifically. I had no idea it could be so complicated under the sea. Take, for instance, nudibranch mating and egg laying. Over the years I have taken photos of a lot of things I could not positively identify. Among them were egg cases. Figuring out the source of some of them was easy because the parent was in the photo […]

A Little Burst of Sunshine: Enjoying Yellow Dorids

Writing articles for this column motivated me to sort my thousands of California marine life images into specific folders such as bryozoans, hydrocorals, crabs, fish, nudibranchs, etc. Nudibranchs are further separated into aeolid and dorid folders — including 40-plus “yellow dorids.”  In the beginning, all of my yellow dorids looked alike to me. However, as time went on, I became more adept at recognizing the subtle differences among the colorful slugs.  There are more than 170 species of nudibranchs living off the Pacific Coast and […]

The Difference is Diving

Over the years I have attended hundreds of trade and consumer shows. I know because I have a collection of show credentials “badges” in my basement, hanging from lanyards. I’m not nostalgic and have never taken time to go through them, but the badges represent different industries, and different parts of a business life that at some point might be fun to recall.  Along with California Diving News, we publish Dive Training magazine and the diving industry’s trade journal, so as a working member of […]

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