Museum of Monaco is a museum of marine sciences, and was inaugurated in
1910 by Prince Albert 1. The Prince was very interested in oceanography
and made several cruises in the Mediterranean Sea but also to e.g. the
Azores and Svalbard. The museum is built on a steep cliff, and just the
architecture is worth a trip to the Principality of Monaco, the
second-smallest country in the world. The famous Jacques-Yves Cousteau,
also a diving pioneer, was a curator at the museum for many years.
rare, huge gelatinous spheres have been recorded from the North East
Atlantic Ocean, and are attributed to squid egg mass. They are about 1
meter in diameter, and many of them have a dark streak through the
center. We are
investigating these spheres, and have received around 50 observations,
mostly from divers. The first observation is from Croatia in 1999. The
first observation from the Norwegian coast is from 2001.
So far we can only speculate which species make them. One suggestion is Todarodes sagittatus (Lamarck, 1798), but without a tissue sample for DNA analysis, we can not conclude.
If you see such a sphere in the ocean, we would very much like a tissue
sample. Could you please cut out a small tissue sample of the sphere
wall, put it in a clean plastic bag in the freezer - before contacting
us! Also, if you are able to take a picture or video of the sphere,
that would be great! If you can provide us with an OK tissue sample,
and we find the right species, you will be invited to join in on a scientific article!
are used to high and low tide twice daily, but that is not the case
everywhere on the planet. Mont-Saint-Michel is an Island
situated in a large bay in Normandy in France, and the Island with its monastry, picturesque from every possible angle (!), is one of the most
visited tourist attractions in France. The
large Mont-Saint-Michel Bay is part of the the English Channel, known
for strong tidal currents, and the castle lies at the innermost
part of the bay. Here, the tide only
comes in every second week (at spring tides, not neap tides), and is
then visible from the castle! This is not all, because since the
Island is surrounded by mud flats, the tidal currents, or
high tides, are only
strong enough to surround the whole Island about 10 days a year! The
phenomenon is called "Les Grandes Marées". It creates a tidal
is even more visible as it enters the long, narrow inlet at the mouth
of the river close to the monastry.
|Legend has it that the tide comes
in "as fast as galloping horses", but that is an overstatement. The
tide comes in quite fast, but not that fast. Walks around the castle at low tide
is possible, BUT always walk with a certified guide. There is both quicksand
and tidal currents to look out for!
and salt marshes, also the once of Mont-Saint-Michel Bay, play an important nursery role for many fish species, and at
least 100 fish species are known in these intertidal areas. They bay also hosts many
birds and seals (Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
may have found bristle worms crawling around on the sea floor
(børstemark in Norwegian, and polychaetes in Latin), but some
species also swim. This is Tomopteris sp., and is about 4,5 cm long with long antennae. It
spends it's entire life as plankton, free swimming in the water
mass. It can swim very fast, both forwards and backwards. If disturbed,
it may play dead for a while, hoping the predator or
danger will go away. Tomopteris is know for bioluminescens, which means that it can make it's own light to e.g. scare predatores. Tomopteris emits blue light, but e.g. T. helgolandica also emits yellow light which is more rare in the ocean. (Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Cnidaria phylum contains all the jelly like organisms, of which
many that stings. There are several classes, and one of them
is represented here - Hydrozoa ("småmaneter" in
The two upper pictures show two common hydrozoans in Norwegian waters: upper left, Sarsia tubulosa described by M. Sars in 1835 and Tima bairdii (Johnston, 1833). Notice the small crustacean, or amphipod, attached to the umbrella. It is a parasitic hyperiid.
two lower species are also hydrozoans, but belong to a special group or
order, the siphonophores. Siphonophores may look like one animal, but
is in fact a colony of small individual animals, each with special
tasks such as attack or defence.
They pray upon e.g. small crustaceans, fish and larvae. The most
famous siphonophore is perhaps the Blue bottle, or Portuguese
siphonophores moves quite quickly through the water mass, and may
be difficult to photograph. Two common species for Norwegian
waters are: lower left, the long "thread", cf. Nanomia cara described by Agassiz in 1865 and (right) cf. Physophora hydrostatica described by Forsskål in 1775. (Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
is squid eggs (In Norwegian: blekksprutegg), washed ashore after a
storm in France. They look
like eggs from a 10-armed species, and might
be from Loligo vulgaris. L. vulgaris
spend the winter
months in deep waters outside Portugal, swims past
France to the North Sea in the spring/ summer - and back again.
are all cuttlebones (In Norwegian: blekksprutskall), the
internal shell of 10-armed cuttlefish. When washed ashore they
are collected and actually used in caged birds giving extra
(calcium) and possibilities for smoothening down their
growing beak. (Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
you ever encountered loads of foam at the beach? These pictures show
the same bay, only a few weeks apart
(in the middle of the day, and at
sunset). Salt water contains dissolved salts, proteins and fat. If you
add dead algae
and strong wind and waves, thick foam usually forms
ashore. Sea foam
is usually harmless, and only indicates a
productive ocean ecosystem.
However, occations with unpleasent outcome have been reported. Large
of dead sea birds were found in California, and soap-like foam
on their feathers from decaying algae made it difficult
for them to
fly, also causing hypothermia and death. If the foam contains certain
decaying toxic algae, the foam may
cause skin irritations and
respiratory discomfort to humans. (Photo credit: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Sea hare (In Norwegian: sjøhare), Aplysia punctata.
Color of sea hares may vary depending on what type of food/ algae they eat.
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).
Sea hare, Aplysia punctata.
They usually occur single but large amounts may be observed when
mating. This species also occurs in Norwegian waters.
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).
hares (In Norwegian: sjøhare) are funny looking creatures, and in
frontal view this dead specimen may look like a tiny hippopotamus. It belongs
within the Mollusca phylum. This is Aplysia depilans,
a specimen collected at a beach in France. It is common in French
waters, but has not been recorded from Norway. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.) |
a National Park like the Wadden sea (In Norwegian: vadehavet) requires
caution and respect for nature. The Wadden sea
southern Denmark, via Germany, to the Netherlands.
Join a guided tour and learn more about this fascinating flat,
muddy, but animal rich area! (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.) In a National Park - "Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing
but footprints. Kill nothing but time". A motto of the Baltimore Grotto.
you ever seen such "spiky balls" in the ocean (two left pictures)?
These "balls" are holdfasts (In Norw.: festeorganet)
furbelows, a brown algae. In Norwegian the kelp is called
"draugtare". Legend has it that "draugen" are whicked ghosts
dead fishermen who died at sea, doomed to haunt
waves. Furbelows is not too common in Norway, and
likes it rough, at wave
exposed coasts. For other species (right
picture) the kelp holdfast may give good shelter for all kinds of small creatures, and is
a good place
to look for animals! (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Diving gives you unique opportunitites in discovering interesting phenomena below the water surface.
Here are some huge whale knockles from SW Norway, Bergen, possibly seen by humans for the first time.
(Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
you ever studied a starfish (In Norwegian: sjøstjerne) under the
microscope? Try it, and you'll discover some fascinating
structures. Here are three different shaped spines from
three species. The spines are very small and fragile,
all measuring under 0,5 mm in length. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).
This fish is called Shanny, or Blenny (In Norwegian: tangkvabbe). In latin it is called Lipophrys pholis,
and was named by Carl von Linné
in 1758. This species is found in shallow waters
of rocky coasts, and may also remain out of water, breathing air.
One of it's favourite food is barnacles. After spawning in the
spring, the male may guard eggs from several females. They are not too
long, but may reach around 20 cm in length. This species is actually on
the Red List (list of threatened species) due to it's homebound
behaviour. Also, due to it's inability to move away, it can be
used as an indicator species for pollution monitoring. This specimen
was found at Sotra/ Bergen, on the SW coast of Norway. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
1000 species of sea mites (In Norwegian: sjømidd) have been described
worldwide. They are also called Halacaridae in latin, and are very
small creatures. We're talking about less than 0,5 mm long (!).
They are so small that on a head of a pin you may place 15-20
mites! Look at the claws which are "hook-shaped". Some feed
on algae, others are predators or parasites. (Photo: HR/
Sea Snack Norway.)
is a mite you also may encounter in the ocean, in the littoral
zone, were it is build for clinging to rocks and algae even
if rough weather. Look at the claws. It belongs to
a group called Hyadesia. About 40 species of Hyadesia and Amhyadesia have been described worldwide. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
| Photo shoot of a juvenile garfish (6,5 cm long).|
Have you ever seen a juvenile garfish (in Norw.: horngjel)? I don't think too many people have! As
you can see on the closeup picture, the upper beak (or jaw) is still
much shorter than the lower beak but it will grow longer as the
fish matures. Adults can be seen in large schools in the open
ocean but move into shallow water during springtime, when
spawning. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
This live specimen was only 6,5 cm long, but adults become about 1 m long.
In latin they are called Belone belone, described by Linnaeus in 1761.
In several countries it is a popular seafood with green bones.
This may look like a plant, but it is a sponge (In Norw.: svamp) - the simplest
of multi-celled animals. It can filtrate seawater for algae, bacteria,
and even small crustaceans. All sponges may be placed in only four
classes, of which mostly saltwater species. Most sponges are actually both females
and males. Sponges are found to accumulate specific metals, so
they might become promising biomonitors of metal contamination. Metals
may be hazardous to humans since they are accumulated in
aquatic animals, transported through the food web, and posing a
risk to us through sea food consumption.
Identifying sponges is difficult. The sponge on the picture is probably Polymastia boletiformis, which was described by Lamarck in 1815. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.).
juvenile flatfish (In Norw.: en juvenil flatfisk fra "varfamilien")
caught at the surface in June. It is only 25 mm long, and around that
time they settle on the bottom. Both eyes are tilted to the
left side, and this could possibly be a juvenile of turbot, brill or
topknot (piggvar, slettvar eller hårvar). (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.). |
Common Ctenophora from Norwegian waters (In Norw.: ribbemaneter). (From left to right) Pleurobrachia pileus,
cf. Beroe cucumis, Beroe gracilis, Bolinopsis infundibulum, and Mnemiopsis leidyi. The ctenophore
is invasive to Norwegian waters, and was discovered here for the
first time in 2005.
It is a zooplankton predator, and can
eat as much as it's own weight 15 times each day. The ctenophors are
to photograph. They are fragile, look like a "sack of water", and
move all the time. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
(in Norw. rognkjeks) enter shallow waters in late
winter/ spring to spawn. The males watches the eggs for 6-10
weeks before hatching. Usually the females spawn subtidally but
sometimes just above low water spring tide level. Males then have
to spout water from their mouth over egg masses exposed to
air by low tides!
juvenile lumpsucker from shallow waters (approx. 1,5 cm long). Not
too much is known about lumpsucker biology but when reaching about
1 year they appear to be moving into deeper water. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
biology of the monkfish (in Norw. breiflabb) is not too well known.
During summer it can be found in shallow waters, |
wintertime and when spawning, it can be found below 2000 m depth.
Picture 1 (left) shows the sharp teeth of a
juvenile monkfish (20
cm long), 2) the otholites,
and 3) a specimen hunting for food with it's own fishing rod on it's
(one of the dorsal fins). In latin, monkfish are called Lophius piscatorius after Carl von Linné who described and named
the fish in 1758. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).
The Aquarium "Sea Life" in Helsinki is great fun showing many kinds of living sea animals.
On the wall you may also encounter the extinct "Helicoprion", a shark-like fish with a "tooth-whirl" in the lower jaw. It looks a bit like a circular saw. Helicoprion lived around 280 million years ago. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Australian Great Barrier Reef animals (left to right): sea feather, turtle, sea cucumber
(Thelenota ananas Jaeger, 1883) and brain coral. (Photos: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
A boiled great scallop (Pecten maximus (Linnaeus, 1758))
(In Norw.: kamskjell) shows the eatable parts which are the muscle
and the gonad. The male part of the gonad is white, and the female orange.
(Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway).
A spider crab (Hyas
sp.) (in Norw.: pyntekrabbe) is using
algae as camouflage.
Some of these species are thought
to have antibiotic properties. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Ghost fishing (In Norw.: spøkelsesfiske). Fishing gear that
is lost or abandoned are killing thousands of fish each year.
Surveys and clean-up programmes should be undertaken
in order to establish how widespread this problem really is! (Photo: HR/
Sea Snack Norway.)
The hermit crab (In Norw.: eremittkreps) Pagurus prideuax was
described by Leach in 1815. It is living in symbiosis with the sea anemone
(Fabricius, 1779), and carries it on it's back. The sea anemone (which is the
"dotted layer" on the crab's shell) feeds on leftovers from
and the crab is protected from other animals by the
anemones sticky tentackles. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
The bush-shaped nudibranch, Dendronotus frondosus (Ascanius, 1774)
photographed in the Bergen area (In Norw.: busksnegl, en type
nakensnegl). It can reach a size up to about 10 cm in length. (Photo:
HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Another, but smaller nudibranch species (Onchidoris sp.), reaches only about 2 cm in length. (Photo: HR/ Sea Snack Norway.)
Dead man's fingers... It's a soft coral called Alcyonium
digitatum and was described by Linnaeus in 1758.
(In Norwegian: dødningehånd, en bløtkorall.)
Edible crab (Cancer pagurus Linnaeus, 1758) (in
Norw.: taskekrabbe) "hiding" in the sand.
Seaweed, including kelp, from Norway (from left to right): oarweed, thongweed, Devil's apron, and green ribbon/ green nori
Tang og tare fra norskekysten (fra venstre til høyre): fingertare, remtang, sukkertare og tarmgrønske.
Latin (from left to right): Laminaria digitata, Himanthalia elongata, Laminaria saccharina, and Enteromorpha sp.
Huge amounts of sea squirts (Ciona intestinalis) (In Norw.:
sjøpung) is common several places along the Norwegian
coast. Research now looks into farming possibilities.
The starfish Asterias rubens eats "almost anything", and here it's on top of a sea squirt (Ciona intestinalis).
The Havrå farm (Havråtunet) at
Osterøy (near Bergen), a heritage site,
listed in litterature as far
back as year 1303. Archaeological discoveries
settlement as far back as the Stone Age.
Masters (NM) in sailing was arranged in Bergen in August 2015.
The boat type, "Oselver, spritsail", resembles old
boats constructed in year 300, and has been
typical in the South-Western Norway for several hundred
years. The boats are between 5-10 m long, and are built of pine- or oak
European flounder (In Norw.: skrubbe) (Platichthys flesus Linnaeus, 1758)
was observed during diving at just a few meters depth.
The starfish Luidia ciliaris (Philippi, 1837) observed in the Bergen area. In Norwegian it's called the "seven-armed starfish".
(from top left to right):
Amphilochus manudens Bate, 1862, Boroecia
borealis (Sars, 1866), Laetmatophilus
1899, Platysympus typicus (Sars, 1870), Gastropoda juv indet, Themisto
which usually have five arms can sometimes be deformed;
1805) from Iceland (Bioice-material). For additional image please
click on image.
trip on the Nærøyfjord, Gudvangen, Norway.
|Water. The element that won’t
majestically across two thirds of our world.
the surface in a swirling pattern of lakes, rivers,
seas, and oceans.
moving and mysterious.
vast fluid theatre challenging the adventurer within us.
yours to accept. Don’t disappoint it.
it your respect and enjoy the experience.
you out there !
By Dan Trotter
Common Dog Whelk, Nucella lapillus (Linnaeus,
littoral zone (in Norwegian: purpursnegl).
Eggs from Nucella lapillus.
spiral by a nudibranch (possibly
bilammelata (Linnaeus, 1767)).
Seaweed pipefish (Syngnathus sp.) (In Norwegian: nålefisk) in the littoral zone, observed while catching small Crustacea.
to the Lysebotn fjord and "Kjeragbolten", a boulder (glacial
deposit) suspended above a 1000 m abyss.
|For more pictures from Norway
( Norge, Norwegen, Noorwegen, Norvège,
挪威 ) please visit www.visitnorway.com.