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R J Parker

R J Parker has written 23 posts for oceanbites

Do you have to understand marine science to care about marine conservation? Wetland research says No.

  Ware J, Callaway R (2019) Public perception of coastal habitat loss and habitat creation using artificial floating islands in the UK. PLoS ONE 14(10): e0224424. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224424 In places where coastal ecosystems have been dramatically altered by human activity, green infrastructure projects like artificial wetlands, eelgrass plantings, and artificial floating islands provide novel opportunities to […]

Caught in the Storm: Tropical Bird Sightings in Nova Scotia after Hurricane Dorian

Dorian was one of the biggest storms to hit Nova Scotia in recorded history, bringing with it Category 2 force winds and heavy precipitation that took roofs off buildings and flooded coastal areas throughout the province. It was also among the top 10 strongest hurricanes by barometric pressure at landfall and top 5 by sustained […]

Telling the complicated story of Atlantic Salmon with the help of genetic technology

  Plamu Salmo salar (or “Atlantic Salmon”, “Black Salmon”, or “Plamu” as it’s known in my neck of the woods) is a culturally, ecologically, and economically vital fish species that has experienced widespread declines over the last century. Damming, habitat degradation, climate change, and aquaculture are all thought to pose significant threats to salmon health, […]

What’s Killing Seabirds in the Bering Sea?

Jones T, Divine LM, Renner H, Knowles S, Lefebvre KA, Burgess HK, et al. (2019) Unusual mortality of Tufted puffins (Fratercula cirrhata) in the eastern Bering Sea. PLoS ONE 14(5): e0216532. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216532 Mass mortality events (or MMEs) are incidents that kill a vast number of individuals in a short period of time. They’re often caused […]

A boon to ocean conservation? Certain fungi can degrade marine plastics

Brunner I, Fischer M, Ru ̈thi J, Stierli B, Frey B (2018) Ability of fungi isolated from plastic debris floating in the shoreline of a lake to degrade plastics. PLoS ONE 13(8): e0202047. About a year ago, I decided to make a move towards reducing my plastic consumption. Working in environmental conservation leaves you with […]

There’s plastic in your tap water, beer, and table salt

Kosuth M, Mason SA, Wattenberg EV (2018) Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt. PLoS ONE 13(4): e0194970. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194970 You’ve seen it; plastic bottles discarded on the beach, photos of marine life starved on a diet of plastic straws, shopping bags adrift in a flotilla of single-use refuse. Plastic changed the world when […]

Turtles of the North – Canadian Fishermen Help Scientists Study the Cryptic Leatherback

  For most people, sea turtles evoke visions of white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and boozy fruity drinks, the embodiment of a tropical vacation. They don’t usually bring to mind the rocky coasts of Cape Breton or the cold waters of the North Atlantic. In the fishing grounds of Atlantic Canada, June to October […]

Turtles unbothered by close drone monitoring, while birds and crocodiles flee

Bevan E, Whiting S, Tucker T, Guinea M, Raith A, Douglas R (2018) Measuring behavioral responses of sea turtles, saltwater crocodiles, and crested terns to drone disturbance to define ethical operating thresholds. PLoS ONE 13(3): e0194460. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0194460 Unmanned aerial vehicles, more commonly known as drones, are quickly gaining popularity as cost effective tools for conservation […]

Important oyster-producing region of British Columbia swamped with microplastics

  If you grew up in the developed world, chances are you have an intimate relationship with plastic. Your lunch container, your childhood toys, your coffee press, that sweater you just bought, and the packaging it came in – they’re all made of low-cost petrochemical derivatives. And they’re swamping our oceans in a pollutant the […]

Old Bay of Fundy dykelands could sequester massive amounts of carbon if restored to saltmarsh

  Blue Carbon Blue carbon is a term scientists use to describe the organic material contained within all the living organisms and soil found in coastal ecosystems. Together, this organic matter, combined with the carbon contained in land-based systems, makes up the stored portion of the Earth’s carbon budget. Climate change scientists hope to protect […]

Agricultural Stewardship Could Prevent Invasive Species Takeover Downstream

  Phragmites australis, or Common Reed, is a marine grass likely introduced to North America from Eurasia in the late 1800s through the garden trade. It has since become one of the most aggressive invaders in history, replacing native grasses in wetlands and disrupting native ecosystem function. Wetlands are interesting study systems for invasive plants. […]

Just Put on the Market: Ideal for Coral Reef Development

Scientists Identify Best Spots for Reef Restoration Coral reefs have been front and center in the news lately, as rising temperatures, increased acidity, and nutrient pollution cause mass bleaching events and scientists lament losses they say mark the “death” of coral reefs around the world. Conservation superstars have even weighed in on the issue; Suzuki, […]

Facts not enough to stop whale watching vessels from disturbing killer whales

  Marine-based eco tourism is a fast-growing industry for many countries and vital part of coastal economies. In many places, it can also be a boon to the conservation of charismatic species that draw in the tourists. The Soundwatch Boater Education Program at the Whale Museum in Washington has been monitoring the behaviour of tourists […]

Invasive seagrass changes fish community in the US Virgin Islands

Seagrass meadows provide food and habitat for a variety of fish species. Juvenile fish are particularly dependent on the meadows, for the shelter they provide from predators. In the Caribbean, several native seagrasses might be found in the same shallow estuary or coastline, forming a patchwork of meadows that support a variety of different fish […]

Fantastic Invaders and Where to Find Them (Galapagos Edition)

Alien species are a commonly known and growing global concern. Increasingly transported to new locations and often following significant and increasingly widespread environmental degradation in their new homes, it seems more and more aliens are making the transition from visitor to invasive species. Some invaders, usually predators, can become particularly competitive and contribute directly or […]

Local disturbance and global warming unite to make seagrasses taste better to predators

Seagrasses form some of the most important habitats in the marine world. Under threat from global climate change as well as local disturbances, they’re also the subject of wide-spread investigation. Field and laboratory studies have shown that nutrient pollution, temperature changes, acidification, and other disturbances will negatively affect seagrass health, at the individual and community […]

Aliens in the kelp forests – community ecology and Miso soup

In the plant world, competition between species is almost always over space. Space dictates how much sunlight, nutrients, and potential mates you have access to. In community ecology, it’s thought that ecosystems only have so much space to offer different species, with some ecosystems containing more space than others. Most systems are also thought to be saturated so that, […]

Builders or Opportunistic Squatters? Invasive Species Drives Ecosystem Change on Georges Bank

See article here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-017-1517-y Tunicates are underappreciated seafloor animals. Living sedentary lives and resembling some kind of marine slime, they don’t usually make it into headlines or flashy ocean documentaries. They are, however, important components of marine ecosystems (super cute ones too, like these bright blue ones), building bottom habitats and providing food for a […]

Size Matters: Big Eelgrass Beds Hold More Carbon

Oreska MPJ, McGlathery KJ, Porter JH (2017) Seagrass blue carbon spatial patterns at the meadow-scale. PLoS ONE 12(4): e0176630. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176630 Plants take in carbon dioxide as part of their normal functioning, to create carbon-based sugars for food. When they die, that carbon is decomposed in the soils or sediment and, eventually, released back to the […]

Spotlight on Constructed Wetlands

Wetlands are one of the world’s powerhouses for ecosystem services, filtering our water, controlling coastal erosion, and providing feeding and nursery habitat for a huge variety of wildlife. They are super productive, containing plant species that grow fast and therefore contribute a huge influx of organic material to the system when they die and start […]

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