Archive for the ‘Ecosystems’ Tag

IceWolfie’s Dietary Delights   23 comments

Splishy~Splashy~Salmon Snacks!


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Although the wolf has traditionally been viewed as a ferocious pack animal that hunts and kills deer; and indeed wolf food usually does consist of big game such as: deer, caribou, and moose; researchers are finding that Alaskan wolves actually prefer to eat salmon. As do the Ice Wolves of Europa 😉 as any good ET Research will show~”Timid one”/”(Ice)Wolfie”/”AF EIW” being no exception 😉  In late summer, even though deer are still available, when “pink and chum” salmon are running, wolves actively go fishing rather than hunting – catching, killing and eating salmon.Although they’re not as skilful as bears at fishing the wolves target fish in shallow water and isolated tidal pools. If they are already well fed they will simply bite the salmon heads off to eat and leave the rest.  If at home on Europa Ice wolves will have to dig through 10-50 km solid ice to catch fish ;(( so will gannet the lot and leave nothing whether hungry or not!!!…;)) On a good day this will be followed by Ice cream and Fishtails…!! :)))  


Fishing makes sense from a safety point of view and involves less energy. Hunting deer often incurs serious and frequently fatal injuries. Not good news for “AF EIW”/”(Ice)Wolfie”/”Timid one” if that happens to be the Alpha Male! 😉 Fish also provide better nutrition in terms of fat and energy. Salmon is also especially important for the pups. The chance to fatten up on the late summertime fish can be the difference between life and death in the winter.

Wolves’ fishing for salmon has been happening for centuries, but it will not be around forever. Salmon systems are under threat as fisheries overexploit them and spawning habitats are destroyed, whilst the exotic salmon aquaculture is introducing disease. Collectively this has led to coastal-wide declines of up to 90 per cent over the last 100 years.None-the-less salmon continue to surprise us, showing us new ways in which their oceanic migrations eventually provide food and nutrients to entire terrestrial ecosystems. clip_image004

Where Life Begins –Earth and Beyond   10 comments


Hydrothermal Origins of Life Theory


hydrothermal_ventUntil 1977 scientists believed that all forms of life ultimately depended on the Sun for energy. With the 1977 discovery of the first hydrothermal vent, (Geysers that billow out from the sea floor.) and the teeming, diverse arrays of life surrounding its base Astrobiologists are now believe that life on Earth might have originated in the sulphurous base of hydrothermal vents.

Vent ecosystems are the only system on Earth that we know of where life can thrive in the complete absence of sunlight offering an alternative way for life to meet its fundamental need for energy. They depend on microbes that tap into the geyser water’s chemical energy – energy originating from within the Earth itself.

hydrothermal vent Amino acids, the building blocks of life from which many of the primitive molecules required to jump-start life form from, could have occurred within these hydrothermal vents. Vent environments minimize oxygen and radiation, which can damage primitive molecules. Along with geothermally-heated mineral-rich water these molecules could have been thrown up into cooler waters where life may have originated

Astrobiologists have struggled for years to define the range of conditions in which “life as we know it” could exist. The discovery of hydrothermal vent ecosystems expanded that range. They were the first discovery of life as we don’t know it and suggest this is a realistic and possible scenario.

The ability of life to tap such geothermal energy raises interesting possibilities for other worlds like Jupiter’s moon Europa, and ancient Red planet Mars.

                                                 Europa (Thera and Thrace Macula (2dark features)   Mars

BlackSmokerGeysereuropa Europa is squeezed and stretched by gravitational forces from Jupiter and neighbouring Galilean satellites. Its icy surface has, gradually, broken up and reformed into icebergs, but the core is considered molten. Tidal friction heats Europa’s interior possibly enough to maintain beneath the icy surface, the solar system’s biggest ocean where active hydrothermal vents are believed to exist. Astrobiologists theorize that much like the hydrothermal vents at the bottom of Earth’s oceans the ones in Europa’s dark seas be similar enough to provide all of the ingredients needed to support life.


NASANASA is planning to send a probe to Europa within the next 20 years, which will penetrate the ice  layer in search of water and vent debris. Work carried out on Earth suggests that if basic ingredients for the origins of life are there, there is a chance of discovering vent-based life forms,