Is there any fish species closely related to mermaids?

As paleontologically-inclined artist and author Ray Troll likes to say, people—and by extension, all mammals—are just really complicated fish. Since mermaids are widely believed to be the optimistic misapprehension of common manatees by sadly sea-addled sailors, the fish species most closely related to mermaids would be…well…us, mammals.

Jim Wharton
Vice President, Education Division, Director, Center for School and Public Programs, Mote Marine Laboratory

Do all ocean animals swim together in schools?

Nope, here is a short list of terms used to describe certain groups of ocean animals when they congregate together.

Jellyfish swim in a smack.
Whales swim in a pod.
Herring swim in a seige.
Penguins walking together on land is called a waddle.

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What do you call a person that collects sea shells?

In the most amateur sense you would call yourself a shell collector…However, considering the fact that you are not just collecting for the sake of collecting (although you may be), but to study the specimens (even if it may be in the most primitive sense), therefore, you can call yourself a conchologist.

A person that studies sea shells is called a conchologist.

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What makes up the ‘salt’ in salt water?

I am writing this as a very long overdue expansion to a post that I wrote November 25, 2008,  “What happens if I swallow salt water?“. The pertinent information lacking was the composition of the salt in salt water (my sincerest apologies).

The salt in salt water is:

  • 77.6% table salt;
  • 10.88% magnesium chloride;
  • 4.74% epson salts;
  • 3.60% calcium sulfates;
  • 2.47% potassium sulfates;
  • 0.34% lime; and
  • 0.51% trace minerals.

(Did you know that a lot of cities are now using a form of magnesium chloride on roadways instead of rock salt during icy conditions? It is not as toxic to nearby plants and waters.)

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What is the state with the longest coastline?

I have lived in New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida – someone in each state has claimed that their state has the longest coastline along the Atlantic. Seriously – even,  New Jersey! Usually, the phrase, “Well, we have a lot of coves and bays that jig jag in and out of the coast” is always part of the conversation when I start to look skeptical.

I did some research and here is the low down on the general coastline bragging rights (not including tidal coastlines):

10. Massachusetts – 192 miles

9. Maine -228 miles

8. Oregon -296 miles

7. North Carolina -301 miles

6. Texas -367 miles

5. Louisiana -397 miles

4. Hawaii -750 miles

3. California – 840 miles

2. Florida – 1,350 miles

1. Alaska – 6,640 miles

(according to Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, “figures are lengths of general outline of seacoast. This does not include freshwater coastlines. Measurements are made with a unit measure of 30 minutes of latitude on charts as near scale of 1:1,200.000 as possible. Coastline of bays and sounds is included where they narrow to width of unit measure, and distance across at such point is included.“)

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What is sea foam?

Sea foam can be thought of as the air bubbles in seawater that bounce off one another. When they bounce off one another it also releases sea spray.

Air bubbles in freshwater basically just unite and don’t bounce off one another. If there is foaminess in freshwater it is pollutant related. Makes you think where your water comes from, huh?

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How can I be a responsible fisherman?


A lot of folks these days are interested in making certain their favorite past time jackandsawyer1of fishing is going to be around for future generations to enjoy.

Here is a short list of tactics to remain ethical, while still keeping fishing that ever intense sport of glory.

Best practices:

– Respect the space of one another while out there on the water to make it enjoyable for everyone.
– Be informed of the catch and size limits of the waters that you are fishing.
– Practice “catch” and “release” fishing techniques (see below).

The “catch” part:

– Use barbless hooks, because they reduce damage and handling time of the fish. Remove the hook gently.
– Keep the fish in the water or wet your hands if you handle the fish to unhook it.
– Don’t put your fingers in the gill covers or hold the fish by its eye sockets (!) or squeeze it too hard.
– When you do make contact with the fish make sure your hands are continuously wet. It will help to keep the animal’s natural mucus intact. The mucus protects the fish from getting infections.

The “release” part:

– Hold the fish in their normal swimming position and move them back and forth slowly to have water run across their gills.
– Revive exhausted fish by moving water through its gills. Fish that were caught kicking and screaming like a teenager going off to Sunday school use an increased rate of oxygen.

Lastly, I am a big fan of saving the best for last – the most important rule – have fun!

Photo (c) of my older brother.


What are the top ocean movies?

Since, I am feeling rather cold these days and want to warm myself up with some good “beachy” flix so I thought I’d share.

1) The Abyss – Only see the new deluxe version. It is like Armageddon under the sea.
1.5) Jaws I – The book was written by Peter Benchley of N.J. Robert Shaw played my favorite character, Quinn.
2) Point Break – Fun waves. Exciting skydiving. A little dramatic at sometimes, but, just fun.
3) Beaches – It has to go in because of the title. Whatever happened to Blossom?
4) Finding Nemo – Great jokes for adults. Science. Amazing graphics.

Here is Fox News list of the top ten ocean movies.

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Where did the word “ocean” come from?

Basically, according to Greek mythology, the Greek god Oceanus was a serpent like being that looked like a river and encompassed the entire world – so, picture that – and you get an ocean. I do like the image because it is a sharp reminder that all of our oceans, estuaries and rivers are connected.

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What is a rising sea level and how does it effect us?

Ahh, you see the polar ice sheets and glaciers are melting, but the water still needs to go somewhere – the ocean. The water then rises transforming geography, manipulates the balance of salt in estuaries and creates higher flooding intensity.

Basically,  rising sea levels affects coastal areas the most drastically.  But, don’t dismay! The EPA, in cooperation with NOAA and a few other exciting agencies recently released a report – Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region – in which many many recommendations are made to coastal towns to plan and adapt for rising sea levels.

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