Ominous music in shark videos makes people more negative about the fish

A new study suggests that the ominous background music often heard in shark documentaries correlates with viewers' fearful and negative opinions of sharks. (For the source of this musical cliche, see the 1975 trailer for Jaws above.) From the Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers paper in the scientific journal PLOS One:

Using three experiments, we show that participants rated sharks more negatively and less positively after viewing a 60-second video clip of swimming sharks set to ominous background music, compared to participants who watched the same video clip set to uplifting background music, or silence. This finding was not an artifact of soundtrack alone because attitudes toward sharks did not differ among participants assigned to audio-only control treatments. This is the first study to demonstrate empirically that the connotative attributes of background music accompanying shark footage affect viewers’ attitudes toward sharks. Given that nature documentaries are often regarded as objective and authoritative sources of information, it is critical that documentary filmmakers and viewers are aware of how the soundtrack can affect the interpretation of the educational content.

"The Effect of Background Music in Shark Documentaries on Viewers' Perceptions of Sharks" (PLOS One via Dangerous Minds)

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Fishing trip surprise: Tiger Shark vs. Hammerhead!

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College student Ryan Willsea captured this video a few weeks ago while on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tiger sharks are "expert at taking advantage of situations when a potential prey item is compromised," Florida Museum of Natural History shark researcher George Burgess told National Geographic. "And nothing makes an animal more compromised than having a hook in its mouth and being pulled to a boat."

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"Earthquake" off Daytona Beach, Florida was really military test

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On a Saturday, a 3.7 magnitude "earthquake" was detected about 168 miles off Florida's Daytona Beach Shores. It now appears that the quake was actually a "shock trial," an explosive test conducted by the US Navy to test the fortitude of the USS Jackson, a new combat ship. From the Daytona Beach News-Journal:

Asked about the reported earthquake on Monday, Dale Eng, a public information officer for the Navy’s Sea Systems Command in Washington, said the Navy is working on a statement it expects to release this week.

Seismographs as far away as Minnesota, Texas and Oklahoma, as well as along the coast of Florida, Georgia and North Carolina, registered the event on Saturday, said Bruce Presgrave, a geophysicist and shift supervisor at the Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in California.

(After being shown the above photo of a shock trial conducted last month) Presgrave said, "That's a smoking gun, isn't it?"

Presgrave planned to contact the Navy to learn more about the charges used in the shock trials as part of the agency's ongoing investigation.

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See the first footage of a Great White Shark taking a nap

"She appears to be in an almost catatonic state," says the narrator. I wonder what she's dreaming about.

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Amazing photo of fish inside a jellyfish

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Ocean photographer Tim Samuel captured these startling photos of a fish swallowed by a jellyfish off Byron Bay, Australia's Pass Beach.

"(The fish) seemed to be struggling a little bit, as it would swim around, it would try to swim in a straight line but the jellyfish would knock it off course, would send it in little circles or loops," Samuel told CNN. "It was a tough decision, I definitely thought about setting it free, but in the end decided to just let nature run its course."

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Watch sharks in a frenzied whale feast

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Impressive drone footage of more than 70 tiger sharks chowing on a whale near Shark Bay in Gascoyne, Western Australia. Eco Abrolhos Cruises posted the video to the company's Facebook page:

Passengers on our 14-day Geraldton to Broome and everywhere in between were treated to an unexpected phenomena while cruising inside Dirk Hartog Island. Something to show and tell the grandchildren.

(The Australian)

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Texas oil firm indicted in massive 2015 oil spill off coast of Santa Barbara, CA

A brown pelican being cleaned of oil by a bird rescue volunteer on May 22, 2015, after thousands of gallons of oil leaked on to San Refugio State Beach and into the Pacific. REUTERS

In California today, a grand jury indicted the Plains All-American Pipeline and one of the oil company's employees on criminal charges over the massive 2015 oil spill in Santa Barbara County.

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Scientists view never-before-seen glowing jellyfish in Mariana Trench ocean depths

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Marine biologists with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expedition in the Mariana Trench encountered a luminous red-and-yellow jellyfish in April, Scientific American reports.

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Giant wave sends people sliding across parking lot

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I don't know anything about this giant wave that crashed over a barrier. If you do, please post about it in the comments. Read the rest

Stunning video of whales swimming under the Aurora Borealis

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Harald Albrigtsen shot this beautiful footage off the coast of Norway. (YouTube)

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Ocean life or acid trip? Photos of psychedelic jellyfish

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No, you're not tripping. And these aren't CG. You're looking at Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish captured by Florida-based photographer Aaron Ansavor who finds them on a local beach.

"It's an opportunity to explore a new world," he told National Geographic.

More images at his site Ansarov.com. (via Jux)

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Watch an octopus disappear into "quicksand" on the sea bottom

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The southern sand octopus (Octopus kaurna) whips up some seafloor "quicksand" lined with mucus and burrows into it to rest during the daytime. From New Scientist:

(University of Melbourne researcher Jasper) Montana and his team first caught the octopus in the act of burrowing in 2008 when they were scuba diving at night in Port Philip Bay, south of Melbourne, Australia. When they shone a light on the octopus, the startled animal spread out its arms and repeatedly injected high-powered jets of water into the sediment using its funnel. This caused grains of sand to be temporarily suspended in water, making it like sandy water.

“The sediment became fluid like quicksand,” Montana says. The octopus put its arms into the sand while still pumping out water and eventually dived down into the sediment. The liquefied sand is likely to reduce drag and so allow the animal to burrow more quickly, using less energy, Montana’s team speculates....

They (later) found that the animal used its arms and mantle to push the sand away and form a burrow. It also extended two arms to the surface to create a narrow chimney to breathe through. Finally, it secured the walls of its new home with a layer of mucus that kept the grains of sand together so the entire thing maintained its shape.

"Zoologger: Octopus makes own quicksand to build burrow on seabed" (New Scientist via Laughing Squid)

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Seal surfs on whale's back

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Robyn Malcolm captured this wonderful photo of a fur seal surfing on a humpback whale off Eden, Australia.

"We'd seen some amazing whales coming out of the water, everything was happening so quickly," Malcolm told the Sydney Morning Herald. "And it was when I went back through the photos that I realised I had actually captured the seal on top of the whale."

Geoff Ross, a whale expert at New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service said the only other time he'd heard of this happening is when a seal was attempting to escape an orca. Read the rest

Watch a breaching whale almost land right on kayakers

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Humpback whales doing what they do, off Moss Landing, California. They kayakers were fine. From the YouTube post:

On our 08:00 am Sanctuary Cruises whale tour, just outside the harbor in Moss Landing, two kayakers on a tandam kayak were almost crushed to death by a massive, near full-size humpback whale. We stopped to see a large aggregation of humpbacks feeding and carrying on with random acts of hijinks. There were also a lot of kayakers right in the middle of it all. Humpbacks were coming up next to and in the middle of many kayakers. It was amusing. It's all fun and games until someone gets jumped on. The next thing we knew, this thing launched right on top of these two kayakers. That was heavy. The video was shot by Sanctuary Cruises passenger Larry Plants.

More: "Humpback whale breaches on top of kayakers in Moss Landing" (KSBW)

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Underwater robot seeks out starfish and kills them with poison injection

Infestations of crown-of-thorns sea stars destroy coral reefs, so researchers at Queensland University of Technology developed an autonomous robot sub that recognizes starfish and then kills them with a poison injection. Read the rest

Pregnant woman to have dolphin as midwife

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Dorina Rosin, a "spiritual healer," plans to give birth in the sea with the aid of dolphins. Among other benefits, Rosin and partner Maika Suneagle believe that their baby will speak dolphin. Read the rest

Up to 90 percent of seabirds have plastic in their guts

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Researchers calculate that as many as 9 out of 10 seabirds have plastic garbage in their intestines. So sad. Read the rest

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