Courtesy National Oceanography Centre
Courtesy National Oceanography Centre

Watch 'Sea Lice' Devour an Entire Pig in Just Days

Courtesy National Oceanography Centre
Courtesy National Oceanography Centre

The shrimp-like ocean scavengers sometimes referred to as “sea lice” are a sight to behold. Generally less than 10 millimeters long, they cleanse the ocean by scavenging the remains of dead whales, fish, and seabirds—and they do it very effectively. 

In the name of science, researchers from Simon Fraser University in Canada lowered two dead pigs into the ocean off the coast of Vancouver to see how long it would take the tiny scavengers to devour them. One was placed in a cage because the area sees a lot of shark activity. It's this pig you see in the video.   

The researchers write that “the carcass was colonized within minutes by small arthropods called amphipods, or 'sea lice'. These rapidly became several centimeters thick on the body and entered the carcass via the orifices, eating it from the inside out. The amphipods became so numerous that they covered the entire cage and bars.”

The sea lice stripped the stocky pigs down to bare bones in just days. After they had their fill, a troupe of three spot shrimp finished the job by removing the remaining cartilage. Even a curious octopus investigated the remains, but by then the scattered bones were virtually bare.   

Eek! Cool! Watch it happen! 

Warning: You are about to watch a dense swarm of creatures devour a dead mammal. It is not for the faint of stomach. 

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Eater, YouTube
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Food
Watch How Ocean Water Gets Turned Into Table-Ready Salt
Eater, YouTube
Eater, YouTube

Turning the sea into edible salt is more time-consuming and laborious than you might think, as this video from Eater's series How to Make It taught us.

Eater's video team and chef Katie Pickens learned all about salt from Amagansett Sea Salt, a company that hand-harvests salt from the coast of Long Island. Pickens and Steve Judelson, her salt guide from Amagansett, collected 100 gallons of ocean water, using buckets to haul it in from the shallows.

Then, they drove it to the Amangansett facilities to filter and dry it. The salty water must be filtered several times to rid it of sediment and other floating objects and organisms you might not want to add to your food. But not all of the algae and plankton in the water get eliminated—some of that stuff actually improves the salt's taste. “That’s where a lot of the flavor comes from,” Judelson says.

Next, the filtered salt water is laid out to dry on long, covered beds in a field. In the summer, it takes about three weeks for the salt to crystalize and be ready to harvest, while in the winter, it might take as long as three months.

Watch the magic in the video below.

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Art
Take a Virtual Tour of Europe’s Only Underwater Museum
iStock
iStock

To take a tour of the recently opened Museo Atlantico, you’ll want to bring a swimsuit. Launched in January 2018 by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor, it’s Europe’s only underwater museum. You no longer have to travel all the way to the Canary Islands to check it out, though, nor do you necessarily need to don a pair of flippers. A new 360° video will let you explore it virtually.

The Museo Atlantico is a sculpture park located some 40 feet underwater off the southern coast of the island of Lanzarote that can only be accessed by scuba divers and snorkelers, containing several hundred cement sculptures that are designed to form an artificial reef at the bottom of the sea. The virtual reality tour below comes courtesy of the Barceló Hotel Group, which operates several hotels in Lanzarote.

The life-sized sculptures, spread out over almost 27,000 square feet, include statues of children sitting in boats, a man lying on a funeral pyre, a couple taking a selfie, and artificial sculptures of vegetation native to Lanzarote. The works are designed to tackle environmental and social topics and are made with sea life in mind, with small compartments and other structural features that are meant to attract creatures like urchins and octopuses.

The film’s description on the Barceló site helpfully includes time stamps where notable artworks appear so that you can know what you’re looking at. The tour is eerie and feels like exploring a sunken society. The water is murky, and the sculptures are already covered in marine life that makes them look like they’ve been at the bottom of the sea for ages, frozen in time. Take a look for yourself in the video below.

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