Thursday, January 22, 2009


Win a Red Sea Diving Guide

SCUBA News is offering you the chance to win a logbook and guide to Northern Wrecks and Reefs of Egypt's Red Sea. To win your copy just e-mail with the number of diving guides currently in the Travelling Diver series. For a hint see Issue 104 of SCUBA News.

The prize comprises a loose-leaf pack of pages in full colour, each dedicated to a single dive site. Every page gives a detailed dive site description or wreck history, with room for you to write your own notes. There is also a very good map of the dive site, information on difficulty and location. As well as being a guide the pages are designed as a dive log, with boxes for you to fill your dive details: sea conditions, temperature, maximum depth, bottom time, etc.

The guide really does manage to pack loads of information into a small space and covers most of the dives you will do on a week's liveaboard holiday.

The pack has two spare logbook sheets with room for you to log four dives. The sheets are standard 3-hole diving logbook size.

The Travelling Diver series make it easy for you to record your dives in much greater detail than the few notes most of us scribble down about the site. Focusing on a very small area - just the dives you might experience on a week's trip - means the guide is compact and light. No need to pack several thick, heavy books. The downside of course is if you visit different areas of the Red Sea often, it can become expensive to have to buy a new guide for each trip. Although not if you win one in the SCUBA News competition!

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Sunday, January 11, 2009


USA Creates Three Marine Protected Areas in Pacific

As one of his last acts in office President Bush has designated three areas of the Pacific Ocean, covering nearly 200000 square miles, as new marine "national monuments".

The first is the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument. At the heart of this protected area will be much of the Marianas Trench -- the site of the deepest point on Earth -- and the surrounding arc of undersea volcanoes and thermal vents. This unique geological region supports life in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. A fascinating array of species survive amid hydrogen-emitting volcanoes, hydrothermal vents that produce highly acidic and boiling water, and the only known location of liquid sulfur this side of Jupiter.

The other major features of the new monument are the coral reefs off the coast of the upper three islands in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These islands, some 5,600 miles from California, are home to a striking diversity of marine life -- from large predators like sharks and rays, to more than 300 species of stony corals.

The second new monument will be the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. The monument will span seven areas to the far south and west of Hawaii. One is Wake Island -- the site of a pivotal battle in World War II, and a key habitat for nesting seabirds and migratory shorebirds. The monument will also include unique trees and grasses and birds adapted to life at the Equator; the rare sea turtles and whales and Hawaiian monk seals that visit Johnston Atoll; and, according to the White House, some of the most pristine and spectacular coral reefs in the world.

The third new monument will be the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument. Rose is a diamond-shaped island to the east of American Samoa. It includes rare species of nesting petrels, shearwaters, and terns -- which account for its native name, "Island of Seabirds." The waters surrounding the atoll are the home of many rare species, including giant clams and reef sharks -- as well as an unusual abundance of rose-colored corals.

These three new protected areas cover nearly 200,000 square miles and will now receive America's highest level of environmental recognition and conservation.

Further Reading: The White House
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Friday, January 09, 2009


Top Ten Diving Books and DVDs of 2008

SCUBA Travel are pleased to release their list of the 2008 best selling diving books and DVDs. For the fifth consecutive year, The Dive Atlas of the World retains its top spot! Its author, Jack Jackson, achieves two entries in the list: Diving with Giants is a new entry at number nine. Another new entry, this time at number three, is Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die. This was only published last October but sold masses of copies in the run up to Christmas. Perhaps the best performer though is the Blue Planet DVD which has not been out of the top ten since the list began in 2001.

Here are the top ten: figures in brackets show the previous year's position.

1. Dive Atlas of the World: An Illustrated Reference to the Best Sites by Jack Jackson
300 pages detailing some of the world's best dive sites. (1)

2. Dive in Style by Tim Simond,
An illustrated book combining the best of travel, lifestyle and nature photography (6)

3. Fifty Places to Dive Before You Die: Diving Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations by Chris Santella
The fifth in Santella's bestselling "Fifty Places" series. (--)

4. Coral Reef Fishes: Indo-Pacific and Caribbean by Ewald Lieske, Robert Myers
A compact, guide to over 2000 species of fish you might see whilst diving on coral reefs. (7)

5. Thailand (Lonely Planet Diving & Snorkeling Guides), by Tim Rock
Dive guide to Thailand. Includes city guide to Bangkok. (--)

6. Dive: The Ultimate Guide To 60 Of The Worlds Top Dive Locations by Monty Halls,
Describes 60 of the world's best diving areas, and highlights specific dives not to be missed whilst you are there (2)

7. Coral Reef Guide Red Sea by Ewald Lieske, Robert Myers
Covering jellyfish, corals, nudibranchs, starfish, sea urchins, fishes and turtles of the Red Sea. (3)

8. Diving the World, by Beth and Shaun Tierney
Reviews 200 dive sites. (--)

9. Diving with Giants, by Jack Jackson
Features the best places to dive with pelagic species. (--)

10. The Blue Planet DVD
The BBC television series on DVD - action shots of the intriguing behaviour of the underwater world with commentary by David Attenborough. (9)

SCUBA Travel ( provide an impartial guide to diving around the world. The SCUBA Travel website includes descriptions of dive sites, reviews of dive operators, notes on how to get to destinations and book reviews. In short, it aims to help divers plan their next diving expedition and find the best dive sites whilst they are there. The SCUBA Travel Best Seller list is compiled from purchases made at the SCUBA Travel web site throughout the year.
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Thursday, January 08, 2009


CO2 emissions harm jumbo squid

The elevated carbon dioxide levels expected to be found in the world’s oceans by 2100 will likely lead to physiological impairments of jumbo (or Humboldt) squid, according to research by two University of Rhode Island (URI) scientists.

The researchers subjected the squids (Dosidicus gigas) to elevated concentrations of CO2 equivalent to those likely to be found in the oceans in 100 years due to anthropogenic emissions. They found that the squid’s routine oxygen consumption rate was reduced under these conditions, and their activity levels declined, presumably enough to have an effect on their feeding behavior.

Jumbo squid are an important predator in the eastern Pacific Ocean, and they are a large component of the diet of marine mammals, seabirds and fish.

According to Seibel, jumbo squid migrate between warm surface waters at night where CO2 levels are increasing and deeper waters during the daytime where oxygen levels are extremely low.

“Squids suppress their metabolism during their daytime foray into hypoxia, but they recover in well-oxygenated surface waters at night,” he said. “If this low oxygen layer expands into shallower waters, the squids will be forced to retreat to even shallower depths to recover. However, warming temperatures and increasing CO2 levels may prevent this. The band of habitable depths during the night may become too narrow.”

Carbon dioxide enters the ocean via passive diffusion from the atmosphere in a process called ocean acidification. This phenomenon has received considerable attention in recent years for its effects on calcifying organisms, such as corals and shelled mollusks, but the study by Seibel and Rosa is one of the first to show a direct physiological effect in a non-calcifying species.

The scientists speculate that the squids may eventually migrate to more northern climes where lower temperatures would reduce oxygen demand and relieve them from CO2 and oxygen stress. While it is possible, they say, that the squids could adjust their physiology over time to accommodate the changing environment, jumbo squids have among the highest oxygen demands of any animal on the planet and are thus fairly constrained in how they can respond.

“We believe it is the blood that is sensitive to high CO2 and low pH,” Seibel said. “This sensitivity allows the squids to off-load oxygen more effectively to muscle tissues, but would prevent the squid from acquiring oxygen across the gills from seawater that is high in CO2.”

While many other squid and octopus species have oxygen transport systems that are equally sensitive to pH, few have such high oxygen demand coupled with large body size and low environmental oxygen. Therefore the scientists believe that their study results should not be extrapolated to other marine animals.

Further reading: University of Rhode Island

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