Search Results for: seastar

How long do seastars live?

Seastars can live up to 35 years in the wild! It really depends on the species. Their wild habitat includes coral reefs, rocky coasts, sandy bottom, or even the deep sea of all the world’s oceans. There are approximately 1,800 different types of sea stars.

They have been known to live up to 10 years in aquariums.

More links on seastars:

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/starfish.html

http://users.bigpond.net.au/je.st/starfish/index.html

But we’ve only scratched the surface here. Check back often at http://www.beachchairscientist.com for more insight about your favorite beach discoveries.

10 best in the past nine years

Sometimes it’s nice to look at the past and see what’s worked. From the past nine years of posts on Beach Chair Scientist, it seems that one post has been the “most valuable player”. 100 ocean quotes is a surefire “make you stop by BCS for the first time and join the mailing list” kinda post. It’s the Wayne Gretzky, Babe Ruth, or Micheal Jordan in terms of stats. All other posts just fall short. But in the ethos of sportsmanship, here are ten posts that also bring some well deserved worth to this little blog. Which one are you rooting for?

MVPMarineMammals

How does a sea star move?

I came across this image of a dissected sea star and had to share it. It does a great job of identifying intricate details of the sea star physiology that are involved with the locomotion and vascular system of the invertebrate.

The vascular system is part of the circulatory system that helps  transport nutrients back and forth across the animal’s body. These echinoderms (a group of marine invertebrates known for bumpy skin and radial symmetry, including sea stars, sea urchins, and sand dollars) begin the movement of their tubed feet with water entering through the madreporite. The madreporite is the wart-like, red or yellow opening in the center of the sea star. It acts like a  pressure-equalizing valve. Next, the water will circle around the stone canal to be distributed to the arms of the sea star. At this point, water goes to the tubed feet and being the act of moving by contracting and stretching. Tubed feet also come in handy when grasping food to place into the mouth of the sea star. For more information and a great image of the madreporite of a sea star click here.

If you have a great question just email info@beachchairscientist.com.

Image (c): top – http://w3.shorecrest.org, bottom – wikipedia.com

Sea slug actually anything but a lug

This might sound familiar (since I recently retweeted from @NOAAOceanToday) but there was recently an article discussing the virtues of sea slugs. In particular that they have been used to understand how to maximize the effectiveness of long-term memory in humans.

Also, check out these divers (with the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre in Bamfield, BC) as they witness and explain how the swift nudibrach outsmarts a sunflower seastar. Maybe the sea slug should be renamed sea-spark plug?

Related articles

What eats sea urchins? Revisited

Sea UrchinBack in 2008 we brought you some information on what eats sea urchins. After all, it is hard to imagine anything being able to enjoy the spiny echinoderms. Here is an interactive game (you must have Flash) produced by Stanford University that takes it one step further. Try to place which animals and/or plants are eaten by the sea urchin (prey), which animals eat the sea urchin (predator), and which animals and/or plants may not have a relationship with the sea urchin. You see some great similarities of the animals that eat the sea urchin! Come back here and share what you discover after playing the game. Enjoy!

What is shark finning?

Basically, there is a very high demand for the fins of sharks in China for a soup. The current practice is to cut off the fins off sharks and toss the body back into the ocean.

The shark does not grow a fin back like a seastar would regenerate an arm.

The shark will not be able to swim and not be able to have oxygen over its gills.

The shark will die.

Some may say sharks have a reputation that might grant this type of control. However, they only produce a few young every one or two years and take up to ten years to even be mature enough to make babies.

Sharks populations are being fished at rates above a safe biological limit. Sharks are crucial top predators in the ocean ecosystem. Without sharks at a stable population the balance of the sea is at stake.

Please visit this page for information on how to stop the practice of shark finning:   www.change.org/oceanconservancy/actions/view/stop_shark_finning

Do you have another great question? Check out www.beachchairscientist.com and let us know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand or send an e-mail to beachchairscientist@gmail.com!

Is a starfish really a fish?

No. The classic common name is very misleading. Scientists and environmental educators are transitioning their language to seastar when referring to this animal because, well, it is not a fish.

The seastar is in the same family as the sea urchin, sea cucumber, sand image_sci_animal021dollar and a few others that all have these things in common: fivefold radial symmetry, spiny skin and a water based vascular system.

The family is called the “echinoderms” which means spiny skinned.

Image (c) dk clipart.

Do you have another great question? Check out www.beachchairscientist.com and let us know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand!

What are jellyfish?

It was another great weekend on the beach for my family and everyone had new and exciting Beach Chair Scientist questions. The best part about being a Beach Chair Scientist is clarifying misconceptions, so I am going to start with the question that seemed to garner the most discussion this weekend “What are jellyfish?”.

Jellyfish, contrary to their popular common name, are not fish at all! As a matter of fact, neither are starfish. Popular nicknames to avoid this misconception can be to call them jellies or seastars.

Jellies are basically giant plankton. Plankton is anything (living) that is free-floating. It can be a plant (known as phytoplankton) or an animal (known as zooplankton). Jellies are zooplankton. Floating is easy for them. They are over 90% percent water. People are approximately 70% water.  Jellies are in the family Cnidaria (the c is silent). Also in this group are sea anemones and coral.

What do jellies, sea anemones, and coral all have in common?

1. One giant cavity for all digestion
2. Stinging cells (known as nemotacysts)
3. Tentacles
4. Radial symmetry (no matter how you slice it, you will have 2 halves)

Jellies are essentially a giant mouth with intestines surrounded by a skeleton. They have a nerve-net surrounding their transparent skeleton. The nerve-net in some species extends towards the tentacles. Not all jellies have painful toxins in their tentacles.

What do you do if you are infected with a toxin tentacle?

1. Wash with soap and water
2. Apply alcohol, or meat tenderizer and Vaseline
3. Apply ice and contact a doctor

Image (c) pdphoto.org

Do you have another great question? Email info@beachchairscientist.com and just let me know.