Filmed and edited by Yoeri: He has produced (underwater) films since 2003. Watch some of his films per geographical area in videography or explore his work on our YouTube channel. Finally, we have new camera equipment so there will be new videos in 2020 (Yoeri’s rage against the machines). You can either click on the links below or use the menu above for navigation.
Filmed and edited by Yoeri
Take a Minute
In this video series, we invite you to “Take a Minute” to relax and refresh your mind and soul with visual meditation. Take a 1-minute break from whatever you are doing to immerse yourself in the beauty of our blue planet. For this minute, Yoeri filmed and edited one long shot to allow you to fully focus on one creature, cultural site, land- or seascape. Dive into the scene, feel the energy, open your heart, connect to the subject, look for details and/or simply get carried away!
Be here now. Take this one minute to fully be there, instead of analysing the past or planning the future. It is quite interesting to see how long and relaxing one minute can be as soon as we stay in that moment – fully aware, fully present, fully relaxed. Observing one long scene, in contrary to the bombardment of pictures, news and fast cuts we are getting on a daily basis, helps to calm us down, to ground and centre us. Sometimes all it takes is 1 minute to recharge.
We love Indonesia – above and below the water. Therefore there’s more to come in this section.
For starters enjoy our first series of underwater videos in 2020 with Indonesia „Sulawesi Splendour“ where we’ll introduce you to some of the stunning reefs and marine life of the warm tropical waters surrounding the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Being the 4th largest island in the Indonesian archipelago, Sulawesi has a rich cultural background and incredible biodiversity, both on land as well as underwater. Travel underwater from Lembeh (arguably the „Muck Diving Capital“ of the world) in the North to the beautiful coral atolls of Wakatobi in the South, also many places in between offer great diving opportunities.
Visayas, the Philippines
The Philippines are a tropical paradise, consisting of more than 7000 islands. More importantly, as part of the Coral Triangle, the Philippines offer some great diving. This particular trilogy of UW clips from 2015 will introduce you to the incredible diversity of marine life that call the Visayan reefs their home. Be prepared for lots of weird and wacky critters, as well as some of the usual suspects and seasonal visitors. Enjoy the kaleidoscope of shapes and colours that make the oceans such an interesting and fantastic place to be!
Long Island, The Andamans/India
A gorgeous island, far off the beaten track, in the middle of the remote Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean. A place that time seems to have forgotten about. The islands offer extensive rainforests with unique flora and fauna, great scuba diving, spectacular remote beaches, friendly people, and even several indigenous tribes, some of which still refuse contact with the outside world. Blue Planet is the only resort/dive operator on Long Island, and although it feels like you’ve travelled to the end of the world, their friendly and kind staff will make you feel right at home! Back to basics. Even though we would have loved to explore and film so much more underwater the three clips give you an idea of this hidden paradise.
St. Eustatius/Caribbean Netherlands
These promotional clips for STENAPA (St Eustatius National Parks Foundation) show the natural and cultural beauties of this little gem in the Caribbean sea: Discover Statia on land, explore its underwater treasures and watch staff, volunteers and scientist of the marine park at work. Interesting? Check the volunteer programme for more information on how to get involved with the Statia Conservation Project.
More movies filmed and edited by Yoeri
All from our YouTube channel
Take a Minute XXXII: Randall’s Shrimp Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli)After a long wait, we’re very happy to finally bring you another episode of our “Take a Minute to Relax” series. The guest star in it is both flamboyant as well as interesting and goes by the scientific name Amblyeleotris randalli. In the common tongue, there are numerous names for this beautiful creature. Gold-barred Shrimp Goby, Gudgeon, Orangestripe Prawn Goby, Orangestripe Watchman Goby, Randall's Shrimp Goby, Sailfin Shrimp Goby, just to name a few.
Amblyeleotris randalli is a relatively small fish that can grow to about 12cm/4,7”, and can be found in the Western Pacific region. It is part of the Family Gobiidae (Gobies), which is the largest family of marine fishes on the planet, containing nearly 2000 species, possibly even more. One would think that in a family of that size, it’s near impossible to stand out. However, about 120 species of this family have developed a remarkable evolutionary trait, that did just that!
These select few started a mutualistic symbiosis with a completely different creature, namely shrimps of the family Alpheidae. These shrimps are characterized by having asymmetrical claws, the larger of which is typically capable of producing a loud snapping sound, which creates a cavitation bubble that is loud enough to stun their prey. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that these creatures are also commonly known as snapping shrimp, or pistol shrimp. The Alpheid shrimps are incredible diggers, and are constantly creating, and maintaining burrows in the seabed which provides them with a relatively safe place to live. However, due to their very poor vision, the shrimps are extremely vulnerable to predators every time they dump sand, and/or gravel, outside of their burrow. And this is where the shrimp/partner gobies come in.
Amblyeleotris randalli, as well as the other shrimp/partner gobies, have excellent eyesight, and like a watchmen/guardian, it maintains constantly vigilant against potential predators, while the shrimp continues the digging and maintenance activities. This way, the shrimp gets security, and the goby gets a safe home with cleaners! What a clever way for 2 small creatures to increase their chances of survival!
A very interesting aspect of this particular symbiosis is the communication between goby and shrimp. So far it's been established that when a predatory fish approaches the burrow entrance fast, the goby escapes into the burrow. This escape reflex is very similar to that of other fishes. However, when a predatory fish approaches the burrow at a moderate distance or speed, the goby flicks its tail, and/or dorsal fin, in quick bursts, so that the shrimp, who’s in touch with the body of the goby via its antennae, notices the message and stays below ground. This type of messaging is signalling a threat level below the "full escape", and is information specifically communicated to the shrimps! Since behavioural science of marine life is still in its infancy, hopefully, scientists will bring us more interesting facts about their inter-species communication in the future.
Perhaps even more remarkable, is that this symbiotic relationship between shrimp and goby lasts a lifetime. They start bonding as juveniles and remain together as adults, spending their days foraging together and sharing a burrow. It is still unclear why these two species have developed such a high level of co-dependency, but the symbiosis is working well for both creatures.
Gobies eat micro-fauna, and sometimes small fish that they find near the bottom. The shrimps, on the other hand, feed on what they find during their burrowing and therefore do not compete with the gobies for food. While shrimp reproduction isn’t all that remarkable, the reproduction of gobies on the other hand has some peculiar aspects. During the mating season, the male and female gobies start a wild circular dance in an extended side corridor of the burrow. They touch and stimulate each other from head to tail, which causes sand and gravel to fall from the ceiling and walls. The shrimp’s digging/cleaning actions play an important role in ensuring that the mating ritual can continue, as gobies don’t have the ability to transport the sand themselves. Hence, the preparation of the gobies breeding chamber, as well as the constant maintenance during the actual mating, and by extension, the successful procreation of the particular goby species, is only possible with the shrimp’s assistance!
If by now you’re wondering how gobies and shrimps find each other in the first place, know that science hasn’t found a definitive answer to that question yet. Marine biologists have conducted numerous experiments to determine who finds who, and how, but currently, this question remains one of nature’s enduring mysteries...
#RandallsShrimpGoby #Amblyeleotrisrandalli #Wakatobi #underwater #relax #AlpheidShrimps #TakeaMinute #diving #mutualism #symbiosis #Indonesia #macro #conservation #shrimpgoby #goby
Take a Minute XXXI: Coral reef life or breathing to relax body and mindThis time in "Take a Minute to Relax" we present coral reef life in the shallows (Wakatobi, Sulawesi, Indonesia). As we have been writing about "The reefs of Wakatobi" in episode XI and "Coral Reef Protection" in episode XXV of our series, we focus on breathing now. After all, it is a minute to relax.
We as humans don’t need to think about breathing, we even continue to breathe when we are unconscious (involuntary breathers). Dolphins, on the other hand, are voluntary breathers, meaning they have to decide when to take a breath. Becoming aware of how we breathe and how breathing is connecting our body and mind is useful not only while diving.
Our breath is controlled by the respiratory centre of the brain. Automatically, we don’t need to do anything – but we can. When we feel stressed, our breathing pattern and rate change, also automatically as part of the evolutionary “fight-or-flight response”. We are taking shallow and rapid breaths into the chest rather than all the way into our bellies. That’s a natural response to be ready and alert.
It can, however, increase the level of stress if we start to feel uncomfortable with this breathing pattern itself or have the feeling of not getting enough air. All too often this process happens without us even recognising the connection to breathing, after all, there’s something else on our mind at that moment. At a time like that, body functions such as the response of the immune system or digestion, are having a lower priority. So, not a healthy state to be in for very long.
We all have been overwhelmed by situations and emotions one way or another. Madly crying, highly agitated or simply furious, all have an impact on our breathing. Maybe somebody told us to “take a deep breath” or “just breath slowly” and hopefully you noticed that focusing on breathing in and out deeply and slowly, actually calms you down.
The connection between body and mind works both ways. As soon as we start to change our breathing pattern consciously, we signal the brain that we have the situation under control, resulting in feeling less stressed. Be kind and be patient. Quickly and forcefully changing your own breathing pattern can lead to disruption, rather than the desired correction.
Being able to lift yourself up is definitely worth working on. Breathing plays an important role in many relaxation techniques from yoga and meditation to mindfulness and other stress relief techniques and, of course, diving. Note: For some people focusing on the breath is actually having the opposite effect (enhancing anxiety levels and panic).
If somebody doesn’t feel right underwater, it is the number one thing to do: Eye contact and making sure the breathing is under control. The easiest and most effective way is breathing together, deeply and slowly to get calm and relaxed. Place your hand in front of your regulator and move it away for exhaling and back towards the face for inhaling. If needed, signal slow/calm down by moving the flat hand (horizontal) up and down.
Of course, breathing dry compressed air of a limited supply adds to the pressure to get the breathing under control. But what works underwater works also on land, where you can talk or count out loud for a rhythm.
In Open Water diving courses or any sort of try dives, you’ll often hear "breath deeply in and out" or "breath normally". But what is normal? In fact, we all breathe differently and our normal might not be the desired relaxed state the instructor is talking about. Deeply and slowly might even feel awkward and unnatural – in the beginning.
Don’t worry. Most things feel awkward the first time. The more we practise the better we get and all of a sudden we can’t even remember what was the problem in the first place. For starters, we look at ways to breathe.
A good way to start is to actually get to know the different ways to breathe – on land. Lay down or sit comfortably with one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Just breathe in and out. Where do you feel a movement?
There are two major ways to breathe: Using the diaphragm, a sheet of muscle underneath the lungs, or the muscles between the ribs. When breathing only into the chest, we are not using our full lung capacity. Subconsciously we might have trained ourselves to breathe only with the chest as flat bellies are considered to be more attractive. You can breathe with the diaphragm without moving the belly, but for full abdominal breathing, also known as belly breathing, the belly expands (partially) with the inhalation and contracts with the exhalation.
We have a detailed description of how to experience the different areas of the lungs and how to train the full power of breathing: https://devocean-pictures.com/why-breathing-is-your-superpower/
#breathing #relax #meditation #TakeaMinute #underwater #diving #coralreef #relaxation #Indonesia #wakatobi #mindful #wideangle #yoga #GH5s #Nauticam
Take a Minute to Fly 06 - Flower field in the NetherlandsIn this “Take a Minute to Fly”, we take a look at the wonderful colours and patterns of a flower field in the North of the Netherlands. This small nation’s passion for cultivating flowers really started to take on epic proportions after Tulips were introduced in the mid 16th century. These iconic “Dutch” flowers originated and were imported from, the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey and beyond). Their popularity increased noticeably, after famed Dutch gardener Carolus Clusius started experimenting with tulips, and wrote what’s considered the first major book about the flower. Recognising the flower’s potential, he began planting specialised tulip nurseries around the time he became the director of the University of Leiden’s botanical gardens, in 1593.
In the mid-1600s, the Dutch enjoyed a period of unmatched wealth and prosperity. Newly independent from Spain, Dutch merchants grew rich in trade through the Dutch East India Company. With money to spend, art and exotica became fashionable collector's items. That’s how the Dutch became fascinated with rare “broken” tulips, bulbs that produced striped and speckled flowers.
Carolus Clusius’ accomplishments at Leiden had eventually allowed others to replicate his work, leading to the creation of the Dutch tulip industry. By the early 17th century, tulip breeding and cultivation had developed into a highly profitable commercial sector, and the price of Dutch bulbs rapidly went sky high. At the time, tulip bulbs were worth more than gold and were sold for 10 times what a commoner made in a year! This boom eventually led to an unavoidable economic crisis in 1636, known as “Tulip Mania”, where the value of tulip bulbs suddenly collapsed, consequently bankrupting countless investors, cultivators and traders.
Fortunately, the Dutch flower market survived this tumultuous period and the tulip trade eventually stabilised, despite devastating economic losses that largely went uncompensated. Since then, the Dutch have continued to grow beautiful tulips and today many parts of the Netherlands, such as de Bollenstreek in northern Noord Holland, the Noordoosterpolder, Duin- en Bollenstreek around Lisse, Flevoland, Friesland, en Drenthe partly base their economy around their floricultural capabilities.
Today the Netherlands is still one of the largest exporters of tulips in the world. However, the country actually cultivates and exports many other kinds of flowers, including daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses. Compared to other nations selling flowers, the Netherlands actually offers the widest variety of saleable trees and shrubs in the world. Roughly 60% of the country’s land is used for agriculture or horticulture, with much of that land dedicated to growing bulbs. And it’s a good thing because in 2014 the Netherlands exported more than 2 billion tulips worldwide!!!
#flowers #tulips #Netherlands #Holland #hyacinths #fields #Aalsmeer #floriculture #Keukenhof #colours #patterns #TakeaMinute #Relax #DJI #Mavic2Pro
Take a Minute XXX : CephalopodsMy apologies for the long wait, to see another one of our "Take a Minute" videos, but it seems when technical difficulties meet political issues, electronic repairs can take an awfully long time. On top of that, the ongoing Corona business didn't help speed things up either. But.... we're back!
And just in time. Today is the birthday of the girl I hope to spend the rest of my life with. Whose love makes me want to be the best version of myself. Nicki, I love you to the moon and back! And what better way to say this, than with a Minute of cephalopods. Represented in this video by the dwarf cuttlefish, or Sepia bandensis. Love, this one is for you!
Cephalopods are molluscs with their arms attached to their head. The word is based on old Greek (kephalópodes; "head-feet"). Octopus, cuttlefish and squid are in a class of their own in multiple ways. Classified as cephalopods they lack a backbone in their soft bodies but show remarkable intelligence for invertebrates. These savvy softies arouse a great deal of interest in divers and science alike. Probably the most fascinating aspect of cephalopods is their ability to change colour as well as the texture of their skin in a blink of an eye. This way they can blend in with their surroundings perfectly or show bright warning or hypnotizing patterns at will.
Just below the surface of their skin sit thousands and thousands of chromatophores (colour-changing cells). Each chromatophore contains a sack of a particular pigment (black, brown, orange, red or yellow). By stretching the sack, the colour appears brighter. A complex system of nerves and muscles controls this magical transformation including the texture of the skin from smooth via small bumps to high spikes. Additionally, some cephalopods have iridophores, plates reflecting greens, blues, silvers and golds, while leucophores mirror the colour of the surroundings to perfect their camouflage.
They use their skill to hide from predators as well as to sneak up on their prey. But colour patterns are also a way to communicate to another or others in the form of flashing bright warning colouration, like the poisonous and venomous Flamboyant cuttlefish. As a last resort, they can release a cloud of ink and disappear through any hole their bony beak fits through. That’s the only hard part of the body of these curious creatures.
Cephalopods have the largest brain-to-body mass ratio as well as the most complex nervous system among all invertebrates. Basically, science is still struggling to understand and test certain aspects of the intelligence of cephalopods. Maybe soon there are new ways to measure and validate other forms of their intelligence too.
Almost all cephalopods are active hunters, pushing them to develop certain strategies and behaviour to find and catch their prey. Some crabs, the base of the most octopus food source, have powerful pincers to defend themselves and a long pursuit costs energy. Hence, octopuses are looking at how to use the work of others to their advantage, such as stealing bait from lobster traps or climb on board fishing boats to feast on the dead or dying crabs in containers.
As described above, cephalopods can use skin colouration and texture to communicate. Posture and locomotion add to their display. We were lucky enough to observe flamboyant cuttlefish flashing colours in courtship in Komodo ourselves. Eventually, the bigger female stopped and raised her arms to allow the small male to deliver its sperm. They went on for various rounds. Especially, squid use colour and (flashing) patterns to communicate, not only in courtship. Caribbean reef squid can send different colour patterns to squids on either side of their bodies at the same time. Humboldt squid use communication even in cooperative hunting techniques.
Octopuses can be trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns. In laboratories, they benefit from an enriched environment, using bottles or toys to play with. Furthermore, they have repeatedly shown the ability to use tools. As seen by many divers, they collect, carry and use coconut husks and shells for protecting their soft bodies from predators.
The ocean is full of wondrous life forms, that makes us re-think everything we thought we knew about this planet and our place in it!
#dwarfcuttlefish #Sepiabandensis #lembeh #underwater #relax #arms #TakeaMinute #diving #cuttlefish #octopus #Indonesia #macro #PanasonicLumix #GH5s #Nauticam
Take a Minute XXIX: NudibranchsIn this minute of visual meditation, we would like to focus on nudibranchs in general instead of going into the specifics of the two species filmed in the waters of Bali (Indonesia). Divers lovingly call them nudis, short for nudibranchs, which makes them even cuter and brings out their true nature: beautiful, colourful, and exotic on the one hand, mysterious, bizarre and toxic on the other.
Different families of nudibranchs (further split into genus and species) form the order nudibranchia within the large taxonomic class Gastropoda, commonly known as snails and slugs. While all nudibranchs are sea slugs, not all sea slugs are nudibranchs. The name nudibranch originates from the Latin „nudus“, meaning „naked“, and the Ancient Greek βράγχια (bránkhia) for „gills“, referring to the gill-like appendages which protrude from the backs of many nudibranchs.
Although they possess eyes, their eyesight is thought to be limited to picking up light and dark shapes only. They view the world through chemical receptors in the shape of tentacles on their heads. These tentacles are called rhinophores and they allow nudibranchs to smell food, find potential mates, predators and provides them with some sort of situational awareness.
Nudibranchs can thrive nearly everywhere, from shallow, temperate, and tropic reefs to Antarctica and even hydrothermal vents. At present, there are well over 3,000 species of nudibranchs known to science, but new species are still found. Discoveries of large numbers of bioactive compounds suggest that sea slugs are an excellent biomedicine source which has fueled the research into this order within the animal kingdom.
However strange it may seem, these colourful families of sea slugs are carnivores, whose prey consists of sponges, coral, anemones, hydroids, barnacles, fish eggs, sea slugs, and other nudibranchs. To eat their food, most nudibranchs possess a radula, which is a toothed structure that they use to “chew” their food up. Some species suck out their prey after predigesting their tissue with selected enzymes, rather like a spider. Nudibranchs are very picky about what they eat, individual species or families of nudibranchs may eat only one kind of prey. Nudibranchs get their vivid colours from the food they eat, which in turn advertises to would-be predators, that they are poisonous, or at the very least foul-tasting. In any case, enough to be left alone by most.
The characteristic of aeolid nudibranchs, like the ones in this clip, are long, narrow bodies with numerous horn-like extension which are called cerata and serve as gills. The form of the cerata extends the surface for respiration significantly and is also used for defence. Various species feed on hydroids and their stinging cells (nematocysts) pass through the digestive system of some aeolids and are build into the tips of their cerata (watch “Take a Minute II” for more details).
Nudibranchs have a shell in their larval stage, but it disappears in the process of becoming an adult. They come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention wild colour pattern variations, which makes them so popular with divers and snorkellers. Some are very hard to tell apart, others strikingly different from anything you have ever seen before. Some stand out, others are highly camouflaged.
They also vary in sizes from massive beasts such as the“Moon-headed sidegill slug” (Euselenops luniceps) presented in „Take a Minute XIX“ to tiny speaks of some millimetres, like Costasiella kuroshimae a.k.a. “Shaun the Sheep” (shown in „Take a Minute VI“). This tiny creature has the ability to extract the chloroplasts from the food it eats and stores them in its cerata. This process is called kleptoplasty, and it enables “Shaun” to harvest/feed the energy that is released by the photosynthesis of these accumulated chloroplasts.
This is also the second feeding strategy of Melibe engeli („Take a Minute XXVI“). Through photosynthesis, the algae farms in its tissues produce nutrients for the Melibe in situations when food is scarce. The mutualistic symbiosis between different species of nudibranchs and unicellular photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium (often known as ‘zooxanthellae’) has been known to science for quite some time. Most “solar-powered” nudibranch species take up Symbiodinium from their prey of soft or hard corals and cultivate them inside the cells of their digestive glands. But since Melibe engeli feeds exclusively on small crustaceans, science is still baffled as to how this nudibranch picks up the symbiont zooxanthellae for its emergency solar farms.
The search is on - not only for divers and snorkelers.
#nudibranch #Indonesia #underwater #relax #meditation #TakeaMinute #diving #snorkel #nudis #bali #slug #snail #macro #GH5s #Nauticam
Take a Minute XXVIII : Golden Sweepers (Parapriacanthus ransonneti)In this minute of relaxation, we would like to mesmerize you with the incredible performance of these small, but interesting reef fish. At first glance, Parapriacanthus ransonneti is just an unremarkable small fish that goes by many different names, depending on the region one encounters them. Yellow/Golden Sweeper, Pygmy sweeper, Golden/Yellow Bullseye, and Golden Glassfish, just to name a few. Several species of Parapriacanthus are often huddled together under the same banner of “Glassfish”, as they're partially transparent. However, since Parapriacanthus ransonneti rolls so nicely of the tongue, and in order to prevent any unnecessary confusion, we'll stick to this creature’s scientific name.
Parapriacanthus ransonneti are reef fish that inhabit coastal and offshore reefs between 3-30m of depth, throughout the West Indo-Pacific region. Although they can reach a maximum size of 10cm, most of the specimens encountered are smaller than that. They have a rather compressed, silvery pink translucent body with a greenish golden head and large eyes, showing a faint dark horizontal streak starting from the upper part of their gill cover to below the rear end of their dorsal fin. During the day they can form large aggregations in reef cracks, caves and overhangs, often sharing their day retreats with nocturnal hunters, like moray eels. As darkness sets in, they disperse and individually feed in the vicinity of the “home” reef.
Whilst hunting, they float high above the seafloor looking for larger zooplankton, like copepods and ostracods. Feeding at night comes with its own set of challenges, which besides certain obvious evolutionary adaptations, requires an intimate knowledge and understanding of the prey that one’s after as well as the predators one tries to avoid. As a reward for its efforts, P. ransonneti can wine & dine in relative safety. For the night has fewer predators for P. ransonneti than during the day. And with its midwater feeding behaviour, this clever little fish has managed to steer clear of most of the nocturnal predators that roam the reef. When daylight approaches, they converge again to a sheltered place on the reef, where the many combined eyes offer not only safety in numbers, but moreover provides the ability and opportunity to confuse any would-be assailants with their wild flashmob choreography.
Unfortunately, feeding in midwater at night is not without peril. Those that do, risk being spotted by a nocturnal hunter looking up from the reef in the hope of spotting the silhouettes of prey against the dim-lit surface. This is likely why Parapriacanthus ransonneti have evolved their bioluminescent qualities, which gives them the ability to produce their own light. They possess 2 types of ventral light organs. Firstly a Y-shaped thoracic light organ that emits a V-shape pattern from its throat, all the way to the base of its anal fins. Secondly, a linear anal light organ. Which, as one might already have suspected, emerges from the rectum of this fish.
These organs allow P. ransonneti to camouflage themselves against the light above, through a phenomenon called “counter-illumination”. In this process, the bioluminescent creature emits light from the underside of its body in order to break/smudge its silhouette and become less visible for any predator lurking below. Bioluminescence occurs when a protein named luciferin interacts with the enzyme luciferase, inside a particular light-emitting creature. Luciferin is usually obtained through the organisms these bioluminescent creatures consume. In contrast, the enzyme luciferase was thought to be exclusively made by the bioluminescent organism itself (endogenous) and is produced by transcription of DNA.
Even though the ability to shine a light from one's arse in order to blend in, might seem somewhat extreme to non-glowing creatures like ourselves, in the aquatic realm, however, bioluminescence is nothing new. What sets Parapriacanthus ransonneti apart from the rest of these enlightened creatures, is that it’s able to acquire both the luciferin and the luciferase from the copepods and ostracods in their diet. Somehow P. ransonneti manages to extract the luciferase enzymes from their prey, without damaging and/or changing the enzyme’s DNA in any way. And then puts them to work in their own bodies!
The discovery of this extraordinary achievement was/is very interesting for a number of reasons, but mainly because it suggests that the acquisition of certain physical traits across species are not always the result of their genetic makeup. Parapriacanthus ransonneti has made us re-evaluate much of what we thought to know about the evolutionary process of creating specific abilities, and how the environment in which a creature lives, is affecting said process.
#underwater #relax #meditation #coralreef #TakeaMinute #diving #travel #Komodo #Parapriacanthus #Indonesia #bioluminescence #GoldenSweeper #wideangle #reef #Amphibico
Take a Minute to Fly 05 : The Moores of DrentheIn this relaxing minute of flight, we invite you to glide with us over a moor during sunset, in the beautiful Dutch province of Drenthe. This province is located in the North-East of the Netherlands, and borders on the province of Groningen in the North, Germany in the East, Overijssel in the south and Friesland in the West. Although Drenthe is currently one of the most sparsely populated regions in the Netherlands, this wasn't always the case. Recovered artefacts from the Wolstonian Stage, which date back nearly 150,000 years, suggests that Drenthe has been populated since prehistoric times. Archaeologists believe that the region was once one of the most densely populated areas in the Netherlands up until the Bronze Age.
The many megalithic funerary monuments, locally known as „Hunnebedden“ (Hun‘s Graves) attest to the prehistoric settlement of the region. Of the 54 dolmens found in the Netherlands, 53 of them can be found in Drenthe.
Agriculture is the main economic activity in the region, although industrial areas can be found near the cities. Apart from scenic farmlands dotted with cute, fairy-tail like villages, Drenthe hosts many forests, streams, heathlands, lakes and swamps. The province is drained by a network of many shallow streams and short canals. For a long time, due to its inhospitable nature, Drenthe was the poorest region of the Netherlands. To such an extent, that the people living there, were exempt from paying Federal Tax. One knows things are bad when the State has given up trying to collect money from the people. As a consequence of this „Tax Relief“, the people were denied representation in the States-General/Congress. Although it took part in the Dutch revolt against Spain, Drenthe‘s Provincial Status was withheld until the 1st of January 1796.
In the 19th century, the Dutch government decided to use Drenthe as a place to rid themselves of ‘unwanted elements’ in their society. Criminals, beggars, paupers and vagabonds, but also orphans that could not be placed, were transported to Drenthe to live in colonies. There they were put to work cutting peat from the bogs, which was a fuel source that dates back to medieval times, drain and fill the swamps, as well as reclaiming the heathlands for agricultural use.
Luckily, not all of the wildlands was reclaimed for agricultural use during this period, and these days Drenthe is a refuge for nature and wildlife, as well as the many tourists that visit every year. This Dutch province, with its prehistoric megalithic monuments, picturesque villages, beautiful forests and heathlands, tranquil lakes, streams, and even moores, should in our opinion be on top of the list of anyone visiting the Netherlands!
#Drenthe #aerial #moores #Schipborg #winter #lake #nature #TakeaMinute #relax #DrentscheAa #holiday #Netherlands #wideangle #DJI #Mavic2Pro
Take a Minute XXVII : Bigeye Trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus)Take a Minute XXVII: Bigeye Trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus)
In this episode of underwater relaxation, we would like to become a part of this immense living silver cloud, and simply go with the flow… A school of fish this size can literally block out the sun. These Bigeye trevallies (Caranx sexfasciatus) have come together in impressive numbers, to cruise over this beautiful sunlit reef. Bigeye trevallies are currently classified within the genus Caranx, one of the groups known as Jacks or Trevallies. This genus itself is part of the larger mackerel family Carangidae. It’s specific epithet (the second part of the scientific name), roughly translates to “six banded”, and refers to the creature’s juvenile colouration.
This species of trevally is rather easily identified due to its big eyes, and are one of the most widespread species of them all. They can be found in massive schools in the tropical waters from the western shores of Central America, all the way to the east of Africa. Actually, the only place they can’t be found is in the Atlantic Ocean. Bigeye trevallies normally live close to shore, down to a depth of around 150 meters. However, they do venture out to make offshore seamounts their home as well. They can even make their way upriver into freshwater. As they reach their adult size of about 80 cm, they can easily weigh 10kg.
Caranx sexfasciatus is a voracious predator that relies predominantly on its speed to overpower and surprise its prey. Their diet consists of other fish and crustaceans, which are mainly caught at night. During the day they like to come together to relax. After all, many big eyes see more than one, and in the ocean one always needs to keep an eye out for a bigger fish. This gives them the chance to visit cleaning stations and enjoy their Spa treatment to the fullest extend. An interesting side note about this creature is that although they usually appear silvery and shiny, like many other fish they are capable of changing their colour, all the way to a dark black. It is thought that this capability to change colour is helping them to communicate more efficiently amongst themselves, as well as with other species. Although Caranx sexfasciatus is quite a common sight around the tropical waters of this planet, it is clearly not a boring creature. And when they come together in large numbers, they’re a sight to behold. Not only taking the light but also one's breath away.
#diving #Balicasag #trevally#schooling#underwater#meditation #TakeaMinute #Bigeyes #travel #Philippines#savetheocean #reefprotection #wideangle #SonyV1p #Amphibico
Take a Minute XXVI : Solar-powered Melibe (Melibe engeli)In this Minute of Relaxation, we would like to introduce you to one of the most interesting species of Nudibranch, named Melibe engeli. Nudibranchs are molluscs in the class Gastropoda, which includes snails, slugs, and sea hares. Many gastropods have a shell. Nudibranchs have a shell in their larval stage, but it disappears in the process of becoming an adult. They come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention wild colour pattern variations, which makes them so popular with divers and snorkellers. The word nudibranch comes from the Latin word nudus (naked) and Greek branchiae (gills), which refers to the gill-like appendages which protrude from the backs of many nudibranchs. Although they possess eyes, their eyesight is thought to be limited to picking up only light and dark shapes. They view the world through chemical receptors in the shape of tentacles on their heads. These tentacles are called rhinophores and they allow nudibranchs to smell food, find potential mates, predators and provides them with some sort of situational awareness.
Nudibranchs can thrive nearly everywhere, from shallow, temperate, and tropic reefs to Antarctica and even hydrothermal vents. At present, there are well over 3000 species of nudibranchs known to science, but new species are still being discovered. However strange it may seem, this colourful family of sea slugs are carnivores, whose prey consists of sponges, coral, anemones, hydroids, barnacles, fish eggs, sea slugs, and other nudibranchs. To eat their food, most nudibranchs possess a radula, which is a toothed structure that they use to “chew” their food up. Some species suck out their prey after predigesting their tissue with selected enzymes, rather like a spider. Nudibranchs are very picky about what they eat, individual species or families of nudibranchs may eat only one kind of prey. Nudibranchs get their vivid colours from the food they eat, which in turn advertises to would-be predators, that they are poisonous, or at the very least foul-tasting. In any case, enough to be left alone by most.
With so many vibrantly coloured and interesting family members, what makes the Melibe engeli stand out? It’s not its size, this creature grows up to around 5cm. And this Melibe doesn’t have any bright colour patterns. But where its carnivorous cousins are going mostly after static prey, this particular species of Melibe is an active hunter, feeding on shrimps, crabs and other small crustacea which they catch by throwing the inflated oral hood over the substrate like a fisherman casting his net. This active “fishing” practice is a joy to observe. However, they lack a radula, which means that their swallowed prey remains alive in the gut until killed by digestive juices.
But what makes this creature even more special, is that it doesn’t rely only on catching its prey for sustenance, it also hosts algae farms in its tissues, that through photosynthesis produce nutrients for the Melibe in situations when food is scarce. The mutualistic symbiosis between different species of nudibranchs and unicellular photosynthetic dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium (often known as ‘zooxanthellae’) has been known to science for quite some time. Most “solar-powered” nudibranch species take up Symbiodinium from their prey of soft or hard corals and cultivate them inside the cells of their digestive glands. But since Melibe engeli feeds exclusively on small crustaceans, science is still baffled as to how this nudibranch picks up the symbiont zooxanthellae for its emergency solar farms.
What a beautiful world we live in, and how fortunate we are to be able to observe all these different adaptations to life on it!
#underwater #species #marine #relax #behaviour #TakeaMinute #diving #science #Indonesia #lembeh #nudibranch #macro #PanasonicLumix #GH5s #Nauticam
Take a Minute to Fly 04 : Ice-capadesIn this episode of our new series “Take a Minute to Fly”, we’d like to introduce you to a wintry landscape in the Netherlands. Cold winters can be beautiful and full of magic. One of these winter wonders is the transformation of the Dutch people. Several days of temperatures below freezing, and they seem to become restless. For some reason, they start inspecting their local canals and lakes, for any signs of ice. In places like these, they gather, to talk about the quality and thickness of the ice, as well as current weather predictions, and how much more frost is needed to have an ice sheet thick enough for them to do what they do best …
You see, besides maybe football, nothing seems to get the Dutch more fired up than ice skating! All it takes is a couple of days with some proper sub-zero temperatures, and the Dutch start sharpening their blades. After that, they have to wait and hope that the cold persists long enough for them to do what they’ve been waiting for. When that moment finally arrives, they venture out on the ice by the thousands. The more that the cold weather persists, the more excited they seem to become. After all, there might be the chance of another legendary Elfstedentocht! (an ice-skating tour of 200km along 11 Friesian cities) About a third of the Netherlands is below sea level, so water is literally everywhere. All this water makes it possible to get nearly any place in the Netherlands by way of boat. And when all these bodies of water freeze over, they become a massive playground for the entire population. It is beautiful to see the joy that freezing temperatures can bring to an entire nation! And after a year like 2020, these ice-scapades were a welcome relief from the bitter cold that is reality…
#Meerwijck #aerial #iceskating #Groningen #winter #lake #Dutch #TakeaMinute #fly #Zuidlaardermeer #schaatsen #Netherlands #wideangle #DJI #Mavic2Pro
Take a Minute XXV : Coral Reef ProtectionIn this session of tranquillity, we would like you to focus on the living art that is the coral reef. This particular reef, named Fan 38, is located at Wakatobi Dive Resort and is one of our favourite reefs on this beautiful Blue Planet. Reef-building corals consist of colonies of tiny animals, all sharing the same genes. In other words, any particular hard coral is one creature, as well as many creatures at the same time … When the conditions are just right, these animals can grow prolifically, albeit at a very slow pace, creating the cathedral-like structures we love so much.
These days, pretty much all of the coral reefs worldwide are under threat. Luckily, some localized conservation efforts are paying off, and allow the reefs there to recover. Coral reefs are pretty much a symbiotic organism in itself, depending on all the lifeforms that inhabit them, as well as those that visit temporarily, for survival. A technique that is used by pretty much everything in the natural world. Everything is connected …
Therefore, every action is affecting everything else. So, in nature there is no good or bad, there are only consequences. Unfortunately, our species seem to have forgotten this fact. Which is somewhat strange, since we ourselves are also symbiotic creatures of sorts, who depend not only on the world around us for sustenance, but on the amount and health, of all the bacteria, viruses, and other life forms that share our bodies with us. Take one away, or let another grow out of control, and we get sick as a result.
Same goes for coral reefs, which makes protection and conservation rather difficult, when dealing with a species like ourselves, temporarily claiming dominance over this planet, whilst being conditioned to forget about life’s equilibrium and focus on a fictitious monetary and power system instead. But try as we might, we can not change the fact that we are indivisibly linked to the world around us …
Many of the current reef conservation efforts around the world, like the one in Wakatobi, are private initiatives funded by NGO’s and/or tourism, and as such they’ve had a very difficult time over the last year. There are many people that believe that 2020 has been a good year for nature, and the planet as a whole, due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, but this is certainly not the case for the world’s oceans. Less supervision in protected areas has led to an increase in fishing activities there. As the world is hopefully opening up again somewhat this year, these conservation efforts are in need of your assistance. Our advice would be to look at the projects one can support when deciding their next holiday destination. Luckily for Fan 38, as well as the many other spectacular coral reefs in the region, Wakatobi Dive Resort has kept a skeleton crew on site, that together with the local authorities, has patrolled and protected the reefs that are part of their conservation efforts. So that when the first guests return to the resort, underwater paradise awaits them!
#underwater #relax #meditation #TakeaMinute #diving #snorkel #coralreef #travel #Indonesia #wakatobi #savetheocean #reefprotection #wideangle #GH5s #Nauticam
Take a Minute to Fly 03: Fort BourtangeIn this first (official) episode of our new series “Take a Minute to Fly” (it takes three episodes to start a series), we would like to introduce you to the beautifully restored Fort Bourtange under a typical Dutch winter sky. The fortress is located in the municipality of Westerwolde, in the north of the Netherlands, east of the city of Groningen and close to the German border.
The origin of the name of Bourtange stands for the word “boer” meaning farmer, and “tange” the name of a sandy ridge leading through the marshes or swamps, as the “Bourtanger Moor” was the largest wetland of north-western Europe at the time.
Bourtange played an important role in the history of 80 years war between Spain and the Netherlands (1568-1648). The fortress of Bourtange was initially planned to be constructed during the time of William I of Orange, but after his assassination, it was finished by his cousin William Louis. It was built on the only route through the marshes that connected the city of Groningen with Lingen and Westphalia, in what is now Germany. With the creation of Bourtange, the Dutch blocked the supply route of the Spaniards and isolated the city of Groningen, which at the time was under their control.
Due to its strategic location and the surrounding swamp, no major battles were ever held around Bourtange. After the Netherlands and Spain signed the end of 80 years war in the Treaty of Münster, Bourtange lost its importance and popularity. However, when some decades later the Prince-Bishop of Münster, an ally of France in the Franco-Dutch War, laid claim to and invaded north-eastern parts of the newly formed “Republic of 7 United Netherlands”, Bourtange was reinforced again as a fortress. After a failed attempt to conquer the municipality of Westerwolde in 1665, which saw a relatively small garrison at Bourtange push the invading armies back into the swamps, the Prince-Bishop changed his tactics and started invading the provinces south of Groningen. When the Prussian armies returned to Bourtange on the 11th of July 1672, they demanded the surrender of the fortress. The captain in charge of the Bourtange Fortress, Bernard Johan Prott, refused. Even after the Prussian General Heinrich Martel offered Prott and his fellow officers, 200.000 guilders (worth over 2,5 million Euros today), as well as titles in Westphalia, if they would abandon the fort. To which Prott famously replied, that they would have 200,000 bullets for any army that wanted to take the fort. After some unsuccessful attempts to take the fortress, the Prince-Bishop was forced to retreat, and find another way into Groningen.
As the power of guns increased and the swap was drained, the significance of the fortress of Bourtange decreased. Over the years the fortress had been extended, but finally, in 1851, the fortress was dissolved. After that farmers, workers and traders came to the fortress. But this was only for a short while and people eventually left the bastion. Around a century later people began to make plans to reconstruct the fortified village. So that’s what happened. Between 1972 and 1992 Bourtange was reconstructed into the fortified village of the year 1742. That was when the fortress of Bourtange was at its biggest and had its most power. People not only reconstructed the unique historical defence work but also recreated a swamp. This beautiful historic location is now open to the public.
#bourtange #aerial #gwesterwolde #winter #sky #dutch #TakeaMinute #fly #fortress #moor #fort #netherlands #wideangle #DJI #Mavic2Pro
Take a Minute XXIV : Reef Manta Ray (Mobula alfredi)In this Minute of tranquillity, we’d like to introduce you to one of the ocean’s most recognisable icons, the reef manta ray. The species was described in 1868 by Gerard Krefft, the director of the Australian Museum. He named it M. alfredi in honour of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the first member of the British royal family to visit Australia. It was originally described as part of the genus Manta but in 2017 was changed, along with the other manta species, to be included as part of the genus Mobula. The artist formerly known as Manta alfredi, is as famous, as it is graceful. This gentle giant is the smaller of the two manta species currently known to science.
Despite their distinctive flattened body, this fish is closely related to sharks. At the front, it has a pair of cephalic fins which are forward extensions of the pectoral fins. These can be rolled up in a spiral for swimming or can be flared out to channel water into the large, forward-pointing, rectangular mouth when the animal is feeding. The eyes and the spiracles are on the side of the head behind the cephalic fins, and the five gill slits are on the ventral (under) surface. It has a small dorsal fin and the tail is long and whip-like. The manta ray does not have a spiny tail as do their close relatives, the devil rays (Mobula spp.). The colour of the dorsal side is dark black to midnight blue with scattered whitish and greyish areas on the top head. The ventral surface is white, sometimes with dark spots and blotches. The markings can often be used to recognise individual fish. Mobula alfredi is similar in appearance to Mobula birostris and the two species may be confused as their distribution overlaps. However, there are distinguishing features.
The first difference is the size. M. birostris is bigger than the reef M. alfredi, 4 to 6 m on average vs. 3 to 4 m. However, when they’re young specimens telling them apart becomes somewhat difficult, in which case only the colour pattern remains an effective way to distinguish them. The reef manta has a dark dorsal side with usually two lighter areas on top of the head, looking like a nuanced gradient of its dark dominating back colouration and whitish to greyish, the longitudinal separation between these two lighter areas forms a kind of “Y”. While for the oceanic manta, the dorsal surface is deep dark and the two white areas are well marked without gradient effect. Meanwhile, the line of separation between these two white areas forms a "T". Also, the reef manta ray has a white belly with often spots between the branchial gill slits and other spots spread across trailing edge of pectoral fins and abdominal region. The oceanic manta has also a white ventral colouration with spots clustered around lower region of its abdomen. Its cephalic fins, inside of its mouth and its gill slits are often black.
Both species have the largest brain of all know fish species and are very curious and intelligent. Because of its large size and velocity in case of danger (24 km/h escape speed), the reef manta has very few natural predators which can be fatal to it, apart from some large shark species and orcas. Since there’s so much to tell about this beautiful creature, more info will follow in future Manta Minutes…
#underwater #relax #meditation #TakeaMinute #diving #travel #Komodo #Manta #Indonesia #Mauan #Mobula #wideangle #Sony #HVR-V1 #Amphibico
Take a Minute XXIII : Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera elegans)In this first minute of relaxation of the new year, we’d like to focus your attention on this gorgeous, but voracious little hunter. A juvenile Harlequin Shrimp. There are two types of harlequin shrimp. ”Hymenocera elegans”, is native to the Indo-Pacific region, and “hymenocera picta”, which is specific to Hawaii. The name of the genus “Hymenocera” is derived from the Greek words “hymen” (membrane) and “keras” (horn, or in this case antennae), indicating that this crustacean has lamina-shaped antennae. Whereas both “elegans”, as well as “picta” refer to the beautiful coloured spots adorning the exoskeleton of this decapod.
They are reef dwellers, preferring water temperatures of 24-29 degrees Celcius, and are especially partial to a habitat with spaces for them to retreat into, like branched corals or rock formations. Their eyes are positioned on stalks, and they have two giant flat claws that serve as snipping tools while harvesting their prey. Females are generally larger than males and can grow up to around 5cm.
Harlequin shrimp are white to light pink in colour, with splashes of bright coloured spots on their entire body, usually red, purple, orange, and blue. Despite their relatively small size, they have few natural predators. This is thanks to their markings and colouration. Like on land, in the ocean bright patterns are a red flag to predators of toxicity. In addition, their colouration serves as a wonderful camouflage when moving along a coral reef, mimicking the bright lights and shadows produced by the overhead sun.
What’s curious about the Hymenocera is that they live almost exclusively on a diet of sea stars. Some have been observed munching on sea urchins, but generally speaking, sea stars are their comfort food. The harlequin shrimp has two flat antennae that are used for detecting the scent of sea star prey. They will often hunt as mating pairs, and work together to overtake and devour their prey. One shrimp will use its claws to clip the soft tube feet attaching the sea star to its surface, while the other then pulls the creature away from the surface and onto its back.
Some harlequin shrimp will then drag the sea star to its lair, and feed on its tube feet and soft tissues. Unable to right itself, the starfish will then endure being eaten alive for a period of days to weeks, depending on the size of the starfish. Harlequin shrimp have been observed feeding the starfish to keep it alive for their consumption.
Harlequin shrimp mate for life, and are fiercely protective of their family territory. Once the pair finds a suitable home within the reef, they are known to stay within the area for months or even years. The pair mate after the female moulds, and can produce anywhere from 100 to 5,000 eggs per breeding season. This may seem like a lot of offspring, but the high demand for harlequin shrimp in the aquarium trade has made them rarer in the wild.
Since Hymenocera has a symbiotic relation with corals, this isn’t exactly good news for coral reefs! Hymenocera preys on sea stars that would otherwise eat the corals, and in return for its efforts, it gets a safe place to live. Without the help of these little creatures, the future of the reef as a whole is at risk.
#underwater #relax #shrimp #TakeaMinute #diving #reef #travel #Indonesia #Bali #harlequinshrimp #savetheocean #macro #PanasonicLumix #GH5s #Nauticam
Take a Minute XXII : Soft Coral Cowrie (Primovula roseomaculata)In this episode of underwater relaxation, we would like to introduce you to this beautiful little Xmas creature that is dressed for the occasion. Primovula roseomaculata, also known as a Soft coral cowrie, Allied Cowrie, or False Cowrie, is a species of sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc in the family Ovulidae.
Molluscs are a big and very diverse group of creatures consisting of animals as different as mussels and octopuses! Most colourful and strikingly patterned among the molluscs are the cowries. Their shells were used as currency in different cultures throughout history and are now prized collector items, due to their shining and often brightly coloured and patterned shell.
However, what we as ocean enthusiasts see, is not the shell itself, but rather the soft mantle of the animal, wrapped around the shell. The mantle is even more beautiful than the shell itself, often bearing a striking resemblance to the soft coral that these cowries prey on, even including tentacle-like protrusions, to completely blend in with its coral host. These branching papillae on their mantle are not only there to complete the finishing touch on their extravagant camouflage, but assist in the respiration of the cowrie as well.
Primovula roseomaculata usually live and feed on soft corals of the genus Dendronephtya. Due to the potent toxins used by these corals to deter predators, these cowries have adapted to only a single coral species. This behaviour has led to the rise of one of their common names, the “Allied Cowrie”. However, “Allied cowries” are in fact parasites, that harm their hosts. They feed on the coral’s tissues, mucus and polyps, and are able to absorb the pigments of their coral host, which enables these cowries to match their host's colour so well. Not only that, but Primovula roseomaculata has the ability to even extract the defensive chemicals of the coral host, and store them in the skin of its own mantle, where they can protect the snail from fish predation! The host coral will continually regrow the lost tissue, so the cowrie never runs out of food, and or ammo!
They start off their lives as free-swimming post-larval juveniles and probably detect chemical clues that signal a potential host is nearby. Hosts are often home to several individuals. When settled, cowries graze up and down the coral and eventually deposit their eggs on a bare branch, beginning the cycle all over again.
#underwater #relax #meditation #TakeaMinute #diving #travel #Xmas #softcoral #Indonesia #lembeh #Softcoralcowrie #macro #PanasonicLumix #GH5s #Nauticam