Category: Polar Sea

Underwater Fact 149

The tusks of a Walrus can reach up to 1 metre in length.

Pacific Walrus   © Jason Everett

Walruses are distinguished by their long white tusks, grizzly looking whiskers and large bodies which are filled with blubber. Their habitat around the Arctic Circle requires special equipment for survival.

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Underwater Fact 148

Innovative technology allows researchers to learn more about the fascinating world of Emperor Penguins.

Brooding emperor penguin with its chick approached by a rover…   © Nature Methods

Investigating wild animals has always been a challenge to researchers. Especially when dealing with shy animals like penguins. When humans approach, Emperor Penguins normally back away and their heart rate goes up. That’s not what the scientists need when they want to check heart rate, health and other penguin parameters.
Consequently, a group of international scientists have created a remote control rover disguised as a chick to snuggle up to penguins in Adelie Land, Antarctica – the same place where the 2005 documentary March of the Penguins, was filmed.

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Underwater Fact 144

Unlike most other whales, the beluga has a flexible neck that enables it to turn its head in all directions.

BelugaWhalesBeluga Whale   © Clifton Hill

Belugas are also called white whales, and their unusual colour makes them one of the most familiar and easily distinguishable of all the whales. Calves are born grey or even brown and only fade to white as they become sexually mature around five years of age.

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Underwater Fact 143

When a male penguin falls in love with a female penguin, he searches the entire beach to find the perfect pebble to present to her.

natgeoPenguinsPenguins sharing pebbles   © National Geographic

Humans give flowers and candy when impressing a lady. Penguins give rocks. Not just any rocks, though — male Gentoo penguins search through piles of pebbles to find the smoothest, most perfect ones. When a penguin has selected his pebble, he presents it to his intended companion. If she approves, she puts the stone in her nest and the two are well on their way to becoming mommy and daddy birds. Pebbles are so important to the penguins that males often fight over the prettiest selections.

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Underwater Fact 124

The most northerly shark species alive is the Greenland Shark which grows to dimensions comparable to those of the Great White Shark. The species sacrifices its sharp eye sight to a rather unusual symbiotic relationship with a bioluminescent parasite that makes the sharks eyes glow in the dark.

Greenland shark   © Paul Nicklen for National Geographic

The largest member of the dogfish family, the Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus) can grow to over 6 metres in length weigh up to one tonne. Females grow to be larger than males.
This shark prefers the icy waters of the North Atlantic and will usually only ascend from the depths if the surface drops to around 0.5 degrees Celsius.

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Underwater Fact 123

The sea butterfly is a tiny sea snail that swims by flapping its enlarged foot like wings to elegantly soar through the open ocean.
And if that does not astonish enough, these small creatures have mastered a very unusual technique: They hunt by sneezing.

Limacina helicina   © Alexander Semenov

Thecosomata is the scientific name of these molluscs which are common all over the world’s oceans. This species is pelagic, which means it is distributed in the open ocean, away from the shore and close to the surface. They float with the currents or swim by flapping slowly with two wing-like lobes, or parapodia, which propel this little animal through the sea.
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Underwater Fact 122

Penguins have a special gland in their beak that filters salt from their blood and enables them to drink sea water.

Penguins at Sea World   © Sophia Volzke

Those animals that live in the frozen environment of Antarctica have to be highly adapted to survive. The penguin is one of these true wonders of evolution.
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Underwater Fact 112

Female seals follow highly synchronised breeding seasons. They can control the development of the embryo, and put it on hold if necessary, until conditions are perfect for giving birth.

What’s in here Seal   © ColdNightMist

Seals and sea lions spend most of their lives at sea. They come to shore once a year for two reasons: to give birth and to mate.
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A Narwhal’s tusk protrudes out the left side of the upper jaw, which forms of a left-sided corkscrew and can be as long as 3 meters.

Narwhals   © Paul Nicklen

Narwhals (Monodon monoceros) are cetaceans that live year-round in the Arctic circle.
They feed in deep bays and inlets, where they find a good supply of Arctic cod, squid, and other food such as flatfish, pelagic shrimp, and cephalapods.

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One hundred years ago, the Titanic sank 3.800 meters into the deep.

It took over 70 years for the wreck to be discovered by ocean explorer Robert Ballard. Since then it has faced many research explorations, tourism and natural erosion due to metal eating bacteria.

The explorer himself wants to invest in a new coat of paint applied by deep sea robots to protect the historical wreck.

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