It’s been an incredible year and a half, but this will be my final regular post with Oceanbites. Thanks for reading! For my final post here, I wanted to tell you a little more about what I do as a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and gratitude. This month, I want to talk about my own journey with the oceans.
In honor of our Marine Halloween theme, this month I’ll be presenting my picks for the creepiest looking marine critters, à la Buzzfeed. Counting down from 5:
Invasive species can wreak havoc on an ecosystem. Learn about the fishy invasion currently underway in the Mediterranean Sea and what impacts these invaders may be having on the region.
The shift from marine to freshwater habitat is a drastic one, and many evolutionary changes accompany it. This article focuses on the evolution of the opercle, a bony outer structure that protects the gills in most fish species.
Manta and devil rays, closely related to sharks, are at serious risk of extinction due to overfishing. They are primarily being harvested for their gill rakers, which are a key ingredient in a new health tonic marketed by Traditional Chinese Medicine suppliers in China and South-east Asia.
We’ve heard a lot about ocean acidification and how it negatively impacts calcified organisms like corals or shellfish. But did you know that acidification also has wide-ranging impacts on other marine species? Researchers recently found lethal and sublethal effects of acidification on yellowfin tuna.
When we think of parental care, fish aren’t usually the animals that jump to mind. But some fish do take care of their young – some species build and protect nests while others incubate their babies for extended periods of time. Learn all about these caring fish parents!
Abalone are an economically and culturally important group of edible sea snails, and a new study demonstrates that they’re at serious risk of decline due to ocean acidification.
Seafood is a staple of the American diet, particularly on the coasts. Distributors frequently mislabel seafood, accidentally or fraudulently, because seafood species may be difficult to tell apart after chemical and physical processing. We need a fast, reliable, and cost-effective way to accurately identify seafood species in order to reduce fraud. This paper presents a simplified procedure for seafood DNA extraction that yields sufficient DNA for genetic analyses.
When most people think about evolution, they see it as an extremely slow, gradual process that occurs over almost unthinkably vast timescales. Darwin certainly believed that evolution progressed slowly. While it’s true that evolutionary change requires a span of generations, for many reasons, it is actually possible to watch evolution occur in real-time, within a single human lifespan, and even a single researcher’s career. Here we see rapid evolution in threespine stickleback, a common evolutionary model.
The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) hosts an annual meeting in the United States. With over two thousand attendees, many of them presenting cutting-edge research that encompasses aspects of genetics, development, ecology, evolution, physiology, systematics, and biomechanics (to name just a few of the represented fields), this conference hosts a large number of interesting and relevant talks or posters. Two Oceanbites members traveled to SICB this year and decided to write summaries of some of their favorite presentations.
Eyespots and eye stripes are common markings on fish bodies. It is thought that they divert predator attacks away from the vulnerable and important head region. This paper shows that threespine stickleback, a predatory fish, prefers to strike at the region of the prey with an eyespot.
Oysters live a life of constant stress in the ever-changing intertidal habitat. In order to deal with extreme variation in temperature, salinity, water availability, and pollution, these animals have greatly expanded their stress response system, including heat shock proteins and antioxidant enzymes.
Scientists study the genetic underpinnings of blubber formation in whales and dolphins, highlighting genes that may play a key role in human obesity.
The American lobster is an iconic and economically significant species found all along the New England coast. Due to temperature sensitivity during the vulnerable larval stage, lobsters will likely be shifting their habitat north in the face of ocean warming caused by global climate change. This study shows that lobsters are also shifting into deeper (and therefore cooler) water, making them even more difficult and dangerous to catch.