Short Subjects from September,
SALT WATER, AND SEALIFE
We read in the Broward Busycon which got it from the Orlando
Sentinel that Florida's thirst is diverting ever more fresh
water from the Everglades, water that would flow into Florida
Bay and dilute its salinity if its destiny were left to nature.
So Florida Bay is getting saltier and saltier. University of
Georgia ecologist James Porter says the excessive saltiness
is causing the warmer water to sink, rather than float along
the surface as it should, because it is weighted down with salt.
The higher salinity and temperature produce cloudiness and algae
which damages the coral; in seven years, almost half of it is
On the other hand, the Busycon
tells us, the pink shrimp catch in Florida Bay is up 64%, the
first increase since 1987, and the jump in harvest may be caused
by an infusion of fresh water into the Bay, stemming from a
new sewage treatment method which reduces pollutants in sewage
by 90%. And the coral there is growing.
SEARCH TURNS UP 6
The scallops are coming back to Tampa Bay! The return of decent
water quality has brought this bonus, which is mentioned in
Suncoast Shorelines. Unable to survive in cloudy, low-salinity
water, the once abundant Argopecten irradians concentricus had
disappeared. This year's Great Bay Scallop Search may not have
turned up many of the seagrass- and salinity-loving critters,
but they were in new areas.
The next step is to reseed the
bay. The current population is too low to repopulate on its
own, so juveniles are being brought in for dispersal. Unfortunately,
the scallops spawn only once and then die, so a bad year could
be disastrous to the project. Careful monitoring of the mesh
cages of young scallops will be required until a healthy population
is once more established.
PUSHED BACK ONCE AGAIN
Small jellyfish-like animals are now the oldest known multicellular
life forms. Fossils of these creatures, 15 million years older
than any previously known multi-celled organism, have recently
been found in Mexico by a geology expedition from Mt. Holyoke
. . A Totally Immersing Experience
The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington,
D.C. has developed a major new traveling exhibition, "Ocean
Planet." Based on the concept that Earth is really an ocean
planet and we are all seafarers who have a hand and a stake
in what happens to the seas, the exhibition celebrates the oceans'
spectacular diversity and examines the environmental issues
they face. It is a multi-media production, using photos and
live theater, computer animation, specimens and artifacts, videos
At the Smithsonian through Jan.
2, 1996, it will go to the Presidio of San Francisco March 30-June
23; Columbus Center in Baltimore July 27-Oct. 20, 1996; The
American Museum of Natural History, New York Nov. 23 1996-Feb.
16, 1997; the Bishop Museum in Honolulu July 12 - Oct. 5, 1997;
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago May 23-Aug. 15, 1998;
and Museum of Science, Boston Sept. 19-Dec. 13, 1998. Seven
other cities will be added to the schedule.