By Amy McDermott
If you think 2017 was a garbage fire, we can't stop you. But the world wasn't the only thing in flames. You know what else was on fire this year? Fish discovery.
Last year, we brought you six of our favorite fish discovered in 2016. This year, we're upping the ante. Meet seven of our newly-minted favorites, discovered in 2017.
1. Snailfish of the Deep (Pseudoliparis Swirei)
Plunge into the Mariana Trench, and you'll find a ghostly snailfish cruising along the seabed, nearly 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) deep. It lives in crushing pressure and darkness, as one of the deepest-living fish ever collected.
Scientists found 37 of the pinkish, translucent, blobby-looking critters using abaited traps with attached video cameras. The snailfish's body is so pale that its liver, stomach and innards are visible through the skin. Other snailfish species have been found in trenches around the world
Just how deep does the new snailfish live? Well, from sidewalk to sky, the Empire State Building is 443 meters (1,450 feet) high. You'd have to stack 18 below the surface to reach snailfish territory. It's a bit deep. Your odds of stepping on one while frolicking at the beach are, luckily, very low.
2. Kaguya's Dartfish: A Fairy Tale Goby (Navigobius Kaguya)
This fish is fit for a fairy tale.S.K. Tea
Called Kaguyahime-haze in Japanese, this gorgeous goby is named for the Moon Princess Kaguya, the central character in an ancient Japanese folktale. The name is an allusion to the moon-like spots on the fish's dorsal fin, and its discovery on reefs in Japan, as well as in the Philippines.
The new goby looks a lot like another (as-yet-unnamed) species from Bali and the Maldives. Its head and body are orange to pink or yellow-grey, with purple stripes that sometimes become spots. Divers have spotted this species before and snapped photos of it. It's also sometimes caught for home aquariums. But it hadn't been named and described until November. Formal description in a scientific paper is how new species are technically "discovered" in science.
If the world got you down this year, just take a deep breath and remember Kaguya's dartfish: the lovely new goby named after a moon princess.
3. Magma Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus Shutmani)
The magma fairy wrasse likes it hot.B.P. Shutman
If we're talking fairy tales, we can't skip the magma fairy wrasse. Scientists sampled four spritely specimens from the underwater rubble slopes of the active Didicas Volcano in the Philippines' Babuyan Islands, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
This fish is truly volcanic. The magma-red colors of its body and fins set it apart from other, closely-related wrasses.
4. Korean "Dwarf" Seahorse (Hippocampus Haema)
Good things come in threes.Jin Koo Kim
If princesses and fairies aren't enough, let's throw in more mythical creatures. Hippocampus haema is the most common seahorse in Korea, but is also found in Japan, where it's called "himetatsu," meaning "dwarf seahorse" or "princess seahorse."
The new species is part of a larger group of crowned seahorses, also found in Japan and Korea. This year, scientists examined 182 seahorse specimens from the region, and sorted them into the three species. The crowned seahorse (H. coronatus) and painted seahorse (H. sindonis) had already been discovered and described. But a third, new species, H. haema, shook out of the mix, based on genetic and physical differences from the other two species.
Those other two seahorses also have epic Japanese names. The painted seahorse is "hanatatsu," which translates to flower dragon. And the crowned seahorse is "tatsu-no-otoshigo," or "dragon's bastard child."
5. Deep-Sea Anglerfish (Oneirodes Sanjeevani)
Sure, this anglerfish is ugly, but it probably has a great personality.H. Kumar
Anglerfish are a departure from the whimsy of princesses, fairies, dwarves and dragons. But what they lack in cute and cuddliness, they make up for in peculiarity. A fleshy growth protrudes from anglerfish heads, and acts as a lure for curious prey.
Oneirodes sanjeevani, the new anglerfish, has a short lure and a narrow head. Only one specimen, a female, has ever been seen. She looks like a giant mouth full of sharp teeth, tapering to a tail. The new angler was discovered in the Western Indian Ocean, between 380 and 600 meters (1,250 and 1,970 feet) deep.
Rows of imposing teeth, and horn-like protrusions from her head, make this critter look downright ghoulish. Luckily, she's only a few centimeters long.
6. Hoodwinker Sunfish (Mola Tecta)
Hiding in plain sight.Maria Nyegaard
Ocean sunfish are hard to miss. They're huge and disc-shaped, with no apparent tail and long, flapping fins on top and bottom of their flattened bodies. Remember those Boston fishermen who thought they'd found an injured baby whale in 2015? That was a sunfish.
If you've ever seen one, you might have called it a "Mola mola," which is the scientific name of one species. Turns out, there are even more Mola species: Mola ramsayi, and, based on genetic analysis, the new Mola tecta. It's sleeker than its cousins, and the first addition to the genus in 125 years.
7. Fire Goby (Palatogobius Incendius)
With a name like a Harry Potter spell, this Caribbean goby rounds out the 2017 fish list in magical style. Its fiery name comes from its bright orange, yellow and pink scales. Fire gobies live in schools on deep reefs, from roughly 100 to 200 meters deep.
Back in 2015, before the gobies were formally described, scientists found a school of 50 swimming near a rock wall in Curaçao. The researchers filmed the gobies from inside a submarine, and then saw something unprecedented. Invasive lionfish, introduced to the Caribbean from the Pacific, attacked the school while the scientists watched. The researchers caught it all on film, in the first recording of invasive lionfish threatening an "undiscovered" species.
If you thought this year was a trash fire, then fire gobies devoured by invasive species probably adds to the hot mess. Don't despair though. With princesses and dragons and volcano fish in the mix, scientific discovery was ablaze this year too. For fish at least, 2017 was lit.
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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