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From the category archives:

Wild Tasmania

Yellow seahorse

Explore Sarah Quine’s underwater portfolio.

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neon-jellyfish

Jellyfish expert Lisa Gershwin, curator of natural science at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Tasmania, caught the unnamed species in early March while swimming near a Tasmanian jetty with a “phototank” — a small aquarium that makes it easier to photograph sea life.

The jellyfish does not emit its own light, as bioluminescent creatures do.

Rather, its rainbow glow emanates from light reflecting off the creature’s cilia, small hairlike projections that beat simultaneously to move the jellyfish through the water.

Though the glowing jelly is Gershwin’s 159th species discovery in Australia, she still finds the discovery “simply splendid.”

For one, the jelly is relatively large — 13cm long, but — the invertebrate is also incredibly fragile—it shatters as soon as it touches a net, she said.

More information here on the National Geographic site.

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whales-king-island

Nearly 200 pilot whales and a handful of bottlenose dolphins have beached at Naracoopa on the eastern side of King Island in Bass Strait.

By Monday afternoon only 54 of the 194 pilot whales were still alive, along with seven dolphins.

According to ABC News:

Chris Arthur from the Parks and Wildlife Service says he remains optimistic about their chances.

“It’s amazing, some will some die straight away, some will survive for days.”

“These are fairly robust animals, pilot whales, we experienced that in the past.

“While they’re alive there is a chance,” he said.

Mr Arthur says there is concern for whales close to shore.

“There’s quite a large number of animals still out at sea just off shore milling around.”

[click to continue…]

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whaler

Anti-whaling ship the Steve Irwin is currently in pursuit of the Japanese ship Nisshin Maru in the Ross Sea, more than 2,000 nautical miles south-east of Tasmania.

The Sea Shepherd Society ship found the Japanese whaling fleet just before Christmas, but had to return to Hobart to refuel.

But they found a lucky break in the ice, and were able to track down the Nisshin Maru and harpoon vessels Yushin Maru Numbers 1 and 2 in the middle of the Ross Sea about 9.30am today.

Mr Watson said the vessel was engaged in full pursuit of the three ships and expected to keep them within view, despite contending with loose ice, strong winds and fog.

“When we found them this morning it looked like they were in the process of a whaling operation – the vessels were all stopped altogether.

“Then when they saw us, they began running.”

“As long as we’re chasing them they’re not going to kill whales,” he said.

{ABC-News]

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whales-againThe whales are stranded on Perkins Island in north-west Tasmania. (Photo: Parks and Wildlife)

Rescuers in north-west Tasmania are waiting on equipment to arrive from Hobart so they can try save survivors of a pod of about 50 stranded sperm whales in the state’s far north-west.

The mass stranding on the western-most point of Perkins Island near Smithton was reported to police last night.

It was originally thought only two had survived, but Chris Arthur from Parks and Wildlife said today eight whales were showing signs of life as the tide came in this morning.

Mr Arthur says it is the largest stranding of sperm whales he has seen and it will be a difficult rescue.

“What the crews can do is try and give the animals the best chance we can.”

“We’ve got gale force winds forecast and the weather doesn’t look as if it’s going to be kind.

In November, about 50 pilot whales died at nearby Stanley and another 155 stranded shortly after at Sandy Cape on the state’s west coast.

via ABC-News

UPDATE 01.24: Rescuers are administering palliative care to the last two sperm whales alive.

Three more whales died overnight and rescuers are not holding out much hope for the last two.

Rescuers have been working tirelessly to stabilise them but have been hampered by the remote location and difficulties in handling the whales, which are over 10 metres long.

Rescuer David Pemberton says they had been hoping to refloat the five remaining animals but woke to find three had died overnight.

He says the high swell is making it impossible to try to save the last two.
whales-2

RIP 01.29: Sadly, none of the whales survived.

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overland-track

Only in Tasmania in summer!

Taken by dexodexo just a couple of weeks ago:

Enjoy his refreshing set of photos of a journey along Tasmania’s world-famous Overland Track in all its moods.


Editor’s note: If you would like to be featured here, simply upload your photographs to Flickr [signing up is free] and we’ll find them. We check regularly for new entries tagged with ‘Tasmania’ or, better still, ‘thisTasmania’.

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anthomastiscascadeA bright red, undescribed species of shell-less coral, called an anthomastid or gorgons-head coral, at 1700 metres deep at the Cascade Plateau, off south-east Tasmania.



A four-week expedition to explore the deep ocean south-west of Tasmania has revealed new species of animals and more evidence of impacts of increasing carbon dioxide on deep-sea corals.

The collaborative voyage of US and Australian researchers was led by chief scientists Dr Jess Adkins from the California Institute of Technology and Dr Ron Thresher from CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation and Wealth from Oceans Flagships.

“We set out to search for life deeper than any previous voyage in Australian waters,” Dr Thresher says. “We also gathered data to assess the threat posed by ocean acidification and climate change on Australia’s unique deep-water coral reefs.”

Click any image below to see larger version


The survey through the Tasman Fracture Commonwealth Marine Reserve, south-west of Tasmania, explored the near vertical slice in the earth’s crust, known as the Tasman Fracture Zone, which drops from approximately 2000 metres to over 4000 metres.

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The new island may have been caused by changing sea levels. Australian Antarctic Division: Gary Miller.

The new island may have been caused by changing sea levels. Australian Antarctic Division: Gary Miller.

Australian scientists making a visit to sub Antarctic Heard Island in the Southern Ocean have found a rapidly changing landscape.

The island is 4,000 kilometres south west of Western Australia and is home to two active volcanoes.

Australian Antarctic Division researchers found that an area known as “Elephant Spit” was no longer attached to the mainland.

Senior Environmental Policy Adviser, Ewan McIvor, says the creation of what appears to be a new island may have been caused by changing sea levels.

“Certainly the air temperature at Heard Island has been observed to have increased by about one degree celsius in the last 50 years,” he said.

“But it’s really hard to remove the possible contribution of rising sea levels from other contributions like the strong ocean swells and winds.”

The glaciers are in retreat too. Read more here.

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oil-barrels

Heard Island is windswept, mountainous and eerily beautiful, home to many creatures that thrive in the peace and safety of this island outpost of Australia.

Kingston-based Graeme Wheller, formerly a vulcanologist, today involved in Tasmanian tourism, took the photographs you see here when in 1986-7 he was part of a scientific expedition to Heard Island.

His adventures continue here.

heard-volcano

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pandanis-and-lake-pedder

jeff-miller-portraitJeff Miller first visited Tasmania in 2005 on recommendations from co-workers in the US Antarctic program.

“Being a geographically-challenged Yank, at the time all I really knew about Tassie was that the devil lived here. During that first visit I only had time to hike the Overland Track and see Wineglass Bay, but it was enough to make a huge impression. I was hooked.”

As luck would have it, his partner was offered a job in Hobart the following year.

Jeff quickly followed and, now permanent residents, they are intending to stay indefinitely.

“We are very keen bushwalkers and the huge unspoilt wilderness were such an attraction. Couple that with the laid-back lifestyle and the quality of life and I really can’t understand why Tassie isn’t overrun with mainlanders.

“It seems the locals have done a great job of keeping this place a well-guarded secret.”

While an unpublished amateur photographer, Jeff is skilled at capturing the graphic elements of a scene and has a well-developed eye for composition.

He particularly enjoys the symmetry of reflections, but finds beauty in most any landscape.

“In the short time we’ve been here, we have been lucky to see quite a lot of the State.

“For the photographer, Tasmanias varied landscapes offer endless opportunities. Rainforest, beaches, waterfalls, rugged mountains — you name it and it is here.”

Click on any image below to see a larger version:

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