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The extreme life of the sea

The tusks of narwhals were collected in the polar reaches of the North Atlantic and sold around Europe to nobles and collectors.

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Tusks have no known function — but there are two clues for future marine biologists: Most males have tusks, but few females do. And some narwhals have two.

Chemical Extremes

The Antarctic icefish live in water colder than freezing — 2 degrees below zero Centigrade. In a sea anemone where the clownfish live, the biggest fish is always a female, laying all the eggs.


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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.

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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. 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.

Life in Extreme Water Environments - sea, depth, oceans, temperature, salt, types, system, plants

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.


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Photo courtesy of Edith Widder. Catch just some of their talks here:.

Extreme Life of the Sea with Boulder’s Ocean Friends

Marine biologist Stephen Palumbi picks 10 of his favorite underwater creatures. Below, his top 10 picks: 1. The bowhead whale The bowhead whale is the oldest living mammal. The coral leiopathes deep water black coral The oldest known animal is a coral living on the slopes of Hawaii — deep in the sea, thousands of feet below the surface, where conditions are dark and cold and slow. The humpback whale One of the most exuberant animal displays in the ocean is the breaching of humpback whales.

The Extreme Life of the Sea

The beluga whale Beluga whales have some of the best sonar in the sea. The icefish The Antarctic icefish live in water colder than freezing — 2 degrees below zero Centigrade. Dive to the absolute limits of the aquatic world with father-and-son team Stephen and Anthony Palumbi, coauthors of The Extreme Life of the Sea. Their presentation is an underwater thriller that journeys into the icy Arctic, boiling hydrothermal vents, exposes the darkness of the deepest undersea trenches, and shows marine life that thrives against all odds.

Marvel at the most extreme aquatic creatures as Stephen and Anthony bring to life the curiosities of the deep. Bring the kids, grab your friends, and take an underwater adventure at a mile above sea level. Erika Napoletano is a speaker , columnist, author and branding consultant at Boulder-based RHW Media - a firm dedicated to getting people UNstuck and over those annoying problems that keep them from being awesome.