July 2016 Archives

Unearthly Floating Objects

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The two-masted schooner was sailing downeast, five miles off Great Wass Island, when its crew hauled a four-foot frame with a long trailing net up out of the water and onto the deck. Despite nearly an hour under tow, the net yielded a mere tablespoon of living matter. It was August 1912, and oceanographer Dr. Henry Bigelow had been towing nets all night, and for many days prior, to take stock of the sea life in the Gulf of Maine. Day after day, each tow had brought with it a rich abundance of animals. But here, at what he labeled Station 33, he was surprised to find only tiny Staurostoma--a whitecross jellyfish.

For the next hundred miles, as he surveyed the waters of the gulf from Grand Manan Island down to Penobscot Bay, the pattern was the same--the oceanographer found a steady stream of jellyfish, and little else. He was mystified, writing:

 "This was quite the contrary to what we expected, as the northeastern corner of the gulf and the Bay of Fundy have always been credited with a rich pelagic life. Our nets did not yield a single young fish along this whole stretch of coast."

...read the rest HERE

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