DPG/Wetpixel Masters Underwater Imaging Competition 2022 Announced

This long-established and widely respected contest celebrates the splendor of the oceans and the challenging art of underwater photography and video.

The organizers call on underwater shooters of all levels, from novice to professional, to compete in what has become the “World Championship” of international underwater imagery events.

More than half of surfers surveyed are not bothered by sharks in the water.
More than half of surfers surveyed are not bothered by sharks in the water.

Shark in the waters? No sweat, said more than half of surfers in survey

Imagine you are riding the waters on your trusty surfboard, savouring the rush of emotions and feeling totally alive, when you glance down into the waters and you spot a shark swimming by. 

Does your heart skip a beat and you immediately look for the fastest way to get back to dry land?

Or do you continue what you are doing, feeling more at one with the elements?

Well, if you are like more than 50 percent of surfers, you would simply continue surfing, according to a survey of 391 surfers, conducted by the University of South Australia.

Why puffer fish spawn on beaches under moonlight 

At the time of the spring tide (new moon and full moon), thousands of puffer fish around the world head for the coastlines to spawn. There, they gather at the water’s edge and vigorously tremble their bodies to spawn.

Scientists have long wondered how the puffer fish were able to synchronise their spawning with the lunar cycle.

A paper published in a recent issue of the Current Biology journal has the answers. 

Blue crab
Atlantic blue crab, or regionally as the Chesapeake blue crab, is a species of crab native to the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and introduced internationally.

Blue crabs attack at low tide

Last September, ecologist David Johnson and his colleagues were at a Virginia salt marsh at low tide. There, they observed some unexpected behaviour by an aquatic predator.

They witnessed blue crabs waiting in shallow, water-filled pits, stalking and ambushing fiddler crabs above land, at low tide.

After capturing their prey, they would carry it back to the pit to consume it, then discard the large claws of the fiddler crab at the edge of the pit.

The vaquita is currently listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List
The vaquita is currently listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List

Mexico enhances vaquita protection

The Mexican government has announced the successful conclusion of a project involving the placement of 193 cement blocks on the sea floor in strategic locations in the vaquita’s habitat.

Called the Concrete Block Planting project, the objective was to discourage the setting of gillnets within the Zero Tolerance Area, where the remaining vaquita population is localised. Large steel hooks protrude from the top of the blocks, trapping any gillnets they come into contact with.

Äpplet, port side by lower gundeck
Äpplet, port side by lower gundeck

Vasa's sister ship discovered

Launched in 1629, Applet (Apple) was built by the same shipbuilder as the famed 69-metre Vasa, which was carrying 64 cannons when it went down in a strait off the island of Vaxholm, just outside the capital, Stockholm. Vasa was meant to serve as a symbol of Sweden’s military might at the time but capsized after sailing just over 1,000 metres. It was salvaged in 1961 and is on display at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, one of Sweden’s most popular tourist spots.

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Review: Ratio iX3M 2 Dive Computer

There are many ways you can review a dive computer, but wearing it on your arm for one or two dives does not constitute a proper test—at least, not a meaningful one. This review is therefore based on the use of the unit over a six-month period, where around 65 dives were conducted in different locations and water conditions. Lelle Malmström puts the Ratio’s new dive computer iX3M 2 through its paces.

Mariko Kusumoto Portfolio

Sunken Treasure, by Mariko Kusumoto. Polyester, 12 x 12in
Sunken Treasure, by Mariko Kusumoto. Polyester, 12 x 12in

Originally from Japan, artist Mariko Kusumoto, now based in the United States, creates delicate, translucent, ethereal, textile sculptures and wearable art featuring colorful reef coral forms in beautiful compositions, which have been shown in Europe, Asia and the Americas. X-Ray Mag interviewed the artist to learn more about her creative process and perspectives.

Moray Eels

Green moray. Photo by Nigel Marsh
Most morays reside in tropical or subtropical waters, but the green or yellow moray lives in the temperate waters of Australia and New Zealand.

Aside from sharks, moray eels are one of the most maligned and misunderstood of all marine animals. Thought by many to be highly dangerous because of their depiction in films and books, morays are not malicious monsters, but important predators of any healthy marine ecosystem. They are generally shy and docile if not harassed. Nigel Marsh shares insights about these animals.

Cave Diving? Not Me! – Reactions to Thai Cave Rescue Features

cave diver
What constitutes a tight space tends to change as a diver’s experience and comfort zone expand. This swim-through (not a cavern or cave) may look small but offers ample space.

It may be more than four years since the 2018 Thai cave rescue dominated headlines, but the recent movie and miniseries releases have generated highly emotional reactions once again. Are divers being put off cave diving, and why should any diver consider going underground? Yvonne Press takes a closer look, interviewing several divers and technical diving instructors for this report.

Ear Problems in Diving – Part 2: The Middle Ear

Diver equalizing. Photo: Torben Gregersen/Flickr/CC BY NC 2.0
Diver equalizing. Photo: Torben Gregersen/Flickr/CC BY NC 2.0

Many people suffer from ear problems during and after diving. Technical rebreather diver and underwater photographer Dr Michael Rothschild is an ear, nose and throat specialist in New York City. In this series, he walks us through some of the common causes of dive-related ear problems, and how to treat and prevent them.