Sunday, January 8, 2012

Top 10 marine animals continued

Part two of the  quiz on the top 10 marine animals for 2011

Like the first quiz, this post is contextualized for individuals in the Greater Santa Barbara Ecosystem (GSBE), from Point Concepcion to the north, south past Ventura, inland past Santa Ynez, and seaward just past the California currentThe individuals imaged below are all marine organisms that reside or migrate through this area.

 Whose gender caters most to the needs of the fish community?  Individuals are born female, can become an alpha male, changing sex, when a leader is needed.
Who has the most upscale feet?

Answers to the second part of the January 2012 quiz about the top 10 marine organisms in the GSBE
  Sheepshead , a highly prized gamefish tasting rather like lobster, since that is one of their preferred foods, are all born female. If the leader disappears, then the most alpha female becomes the leader of the community: the alpha male.She changes sex to suit her leadership role, which is over evolutionary time, categorized as male in most species. If the former leader were to swim back to the group, the most recent alpha male could revert back to female.
This species is amazing for numerous reasons, to be featured in later posts, but among sheepshead qualities are its delicate, superb taste, and remarkable teeth, many of which look very human.  Santa Barbara Channels sheepshead populations are diminishing primarily due to overfishing.

The swordfish is also a disappearing species from our waters, though harvesting methods of harpooning and hand lines are considered environmentally friendly.
Periodically consumption advisories have been issued by the Environmental Defense Fund because of high levels of mercury.
Read more about how mercury bioaccumulates in fish high on the food chain...
Whelk have complex sexuality and reproductive systems, including separate sexes to sequential as well as simultaneous hermaphroditism (Coe1943; Heller 1993). Their gender changes do not, however, seem to cater to community needs for alpha males.Whelks are increasingly pressured by commercial fishing: in 2006 over 191, 177 pounds of whelk were harvested, over 40 percent in the Santa Barbara area. Most whelk are taken as bycatch from lobster and crab traps, which whelk enter to prey on bait. This fishery is not carefully managed.
The muscular foot of the abalone is actually the prized part for this mollusc. Prices for abalone steaks usually run from $35 to $40 a pound. Since the commercial abalone fishery was closed in California in 1997, most abalone in the market is farm raised, with farms in Santa Barbara and numerous places up the coast. The abalone fishery is considered well managed. Wild populations are still in varying degrees of recovery.

  The feet of the mole crab have no commercial or cultural values.
The spot prawn is prized not for its leg, feet, or claws (lacking), which are  almost meatless, but for its meaty torso.
Little is as yet known about local populations, though the MBA (Monterey Bay Aquarium) does recommend wild-caught spot prawns from British Columbia, considered a well-managed fishery.
Shrimp are the biggest selling seafood on the US market. Most are aquacultured, since wild fisheries tend to be either fully fished or overfished.

How to clean abalone

Download a pocket seafood watch guide from the Monterey Bay Aquarium designed for West Coast consumers.

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