Coldest, oldest, fastest : 10 extreme sea creatures

Coldest, oldest, fastest : 10 extreme sea creatures – these are amazing, both in looks and facts.  Here are my favorite two.

Angler Fish Photo: Edith Widder
Angler Fish
Photo: Edith Widder

Anglerfish inhabit the deep sea, and for a century they baffled marine biologists. At first only female anglerfish were known; where the males were and what they looked like was a complete mystery. Then a parasitologist began studying the worm-like parasites generally attached to anglerfish females. What he found, instead of parasites, were anglerfish males — each undergoing a radical transformation. When a male anglerfish is tiny, he finds and attaches to a female. First his jaws dissolve and his bloodstream fuses with the female’s. Then his brain disappears and his guts shrink. Eventually he is little more than a testis, fertilizing the eggs of one female, for the rest of his life.

Anemone purple anemonefish CC BY-SA 3.0 Photo: Nick Hobgood Purple anemone (Heteractis magnifica) and resident anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) (clownfish) in East Timor.
Anemone purple anemonefish
CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo: Nick Hobgood
Purple anemone (Heteractis magnifica) and resident anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) (clownfish) in East Timor.

Clownfish families were made famous in ‘Finding Nemo,’ but real ones have more peculiar lives than the movie lets on. In a sea anemone where the clownfish live, the biggest fish is always a female, laying all the eggs. The next biggest fish is a functional male, fertilizing them. And lots of smaller clownfish are immature males. When the female dies or is eaten by a predator, the biggest male switches sex to become female. At the same time the biggest immature male grows into a functional male that can fertilize the eggs. This conveyor belt system of parenting assures a constant supply of baby Nemos.

BevShots – art distilled

Irish stout

Bevshots are photographs of alcohol under a microscope. These high-quality photographs of your favorite beers, wines, cocktails, liquors, and mixers were taken after they were crytallized on a slide and shot under a polarized light microscope. As the light refracts through the beverage crystals, the resulting photos feature naturally magnificent colors and composition.

The anternet

Stanford researchers discover the ‘anternet’

Transmission Control Protocol, or TCP, is an algorithm that manages data congestion on the Internet, and as such was integral in allowing the early web to scale up from a few dozen nodes to the billions in use today. Here’s how it works: As a source, A, transfers a file to a destination, B, the file is broken into numbered packets. When B receives each packet, it sends an acknowledgment, or an ack, to A, that the packet arrived.

This feedback loop allows TCP to run congestion avoidance: If acks return at a slower rate than the data was sent out, that indicates that there is little bandwidth available, and the source throttles data transmission down accordingly. If acks return quickly, the source boosts its transmission speed. The process determines how much bandwidth is available and throttles data transmission accordingly.

It turns out that harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) behave nearly the same way when searching for food. Gordon has found that the rate at which harvester ants – which forage for seeds as individuals – leave the nest to search for food corresponds to food availability.

A forager won’t return to the nest until it finds food. If seeds are plentiful, foragers return faster, and more ants leave the nest to forage. If, however, ants begin returning empty handed, the search is slowed, and perhaps called off.

Prabhakar wrote an ant algorithm to predict foraging behavior depending on the amount of food – i.e., bandwidth – available. Gordon’s experiments manipulate the rate of forager return. Working with Stanford student Katie Dektar, they found that the TCP-influenced algorithm almost exactly matched the ant behavior found in Gordon’s experiments.