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Marine Biology

¨  Strange barracuda behavior
¨  How can people be so heartless to the destruction of ocean life?
¨  What are your values as a marine biologist?
¨  Is it true and why do fresh water or river fish have more and smaller bones compared to ocean fish?
¨
  How was your experience with the pink dolphins?

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QUESTION:
My older brother has been a fisherman and spearfisher for almost 50 yrs in the Miami area.  He's sighted barracuda schools acting in an unusual manner several times.  These were 36' or less cuda's in a circle facing the center just sitting there.  What were they doing, if you know?

ANSWER from Richard Murphy on 28 May 2007:
What an interesting question.  I have often seen barracudas circling, but always moving, never stationary.  It would have been interesting to take a water sample in the center to see if there were critters that you could not see.  Such observations are such a good reminder about how little we really know about the sea and how important it is to patiently observe.  I would suggest you call the University of Miami, Rosensteil School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and ask for an ichthyologist and describe this observation to him or her.  It is important for scientists to benefit from the observations of divers such as your brother.

Thanks for the fascinating story.
Richard

Richard Murphy, Ph.D.
Director, Science and Education
Ocean Futures Society
www.oceanfutures.org

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QUESTION:
How can people be so heartless to the destruction of ocean life?  What is the purpose of defiling a shark?  Killing coral?  Bringing up whales in whaling?  Not to mention how many organisms in the ocean are dying off because of the killing of sharks and disturbing the balance.

ANSWER from Richard Murphy on 21 February 2007:
You ask a very important question that we ask ourselves often.  I think the answer to why some people are so insensitive to other creatures and the environment in general is that they don't feel any connnection to nature or any connection to other kinds of living things.  We make movies and create outdoor education programs to help those people see the wonder of nature, understand that we living things are all relatives sharing genes and a common evolutionary history and that we are all neighbors on our planet.  We understand that we should treat our relatives well and I believe that all living things are related and, as the golden rule says, should treat others as we would like to be treated.

I am glad you understand this important fact and hope you can share your appreciation for other living things with your friends and even people you don't know.  We can all do this in our own way, through art, photography, purchasing organic foods, consuming less and recycling more.  Please visit out web site to learn more about what our Ocean Futures Society is doing.

I'll be in the Amazon tomorrow and will not be back for over a month.  Please look for our TV documentary this summer or next fall to see how we are trying to share the wonders of nature with people all around the planet.

Keep thinking and trying to make a difference.

Sincerely,

Richard

Richard Murphy, Ph.D.
Director, Science and Education
Ocean Futures Society
www.oceanfutures.org

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QUESTION:
What are your values as a marine biologist?

ANSWER from Richard Murphy on 13 February 2007:
My values are primarily focused on the quality of life for people and I know, as a biologist, that the quality of life for us is very dependent on the quality of the environment in which we live.  It is natural ecosystems that keep water clean, air clean, and provide us with all sorts of products like new drugs, fish and places for us to enjoy and find peace from the chaos of civilization.  Another important value of mine is the golden rule... I try to treat, not only people, but fish and birds and corals as I would like to be treated.  If everyone felt the same concern for other species as they do for their brothers or sisters or any close relative the world would be a different place.  IN fact we are all relatives as we all evolved from the same original, simple life forms.  We share many of our genes and we share the same house... our planet earth... the only place we have to live in the universe.

I would like to know what some of your values are?

Thanks for the very thought provoking question.  Check out an article on my web site (www.rcmurph.com) called cosmic ecology... it relates to our discussion.

Sincerely,

Richard Murphy

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QUESTION:
Is it true and why do fresh water or river fish have more and smaller bones compared to ocean fish?  Is it because ocean fish have to swim in stronger currents and hence, need to develop stronger muscles, resulting in fewer but bigger and stronger bones to support the muscular structure?

ANSWER from Richard Murphy on 9 December 2006:
It is good to hear from you.  Great question!  I have not heard of a difference in the bones of marine and fresh water fish.  So if there is a difference I don't think it is because of currents.  Think of salmon that swim up really fast streams and even up waterfalls.  There are many fish that migrate hundreds to thousands of miles in the Amazon.  Sorry I don't know more.  I'm just getting back from the Amazon and have to get my life organized.

Happy holidays,
Richard
Richard Murphy, Ph.D.
Director, Science and Education
Ocean Futures Society
www.oceanfutures.org

[SNAil says: Great question!  If you find more information, please write back and tell us.  Even Dr. Murphy likes learning new stuff!]

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QUESTION:
How was your experience with the pink dolphins?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 18 November 2006:
In his Imagiverse Chat, Richard Murphy said: "Pink dolphins are sort of pink.. mostly beige.  Being on the beach alone was great because there were no people around within a few hundred miles and there were howler monkeys that I had never head before.  They make a sound like wind in the trees at a great distance but when they get closer it is a really strange aaaoooooooo sound that rises and falls.  Kind of scary but a great experience to hear.  Night is a wonderful time because your senses are more aware.  At night lots of different creatures come out.  If you ever get a chance with your parents explore a tide pool or go snorkeling at night.  You will discover all sorts of good things."

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Last Updated:
11 July 2007
 

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