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animal behavior

This tag is associated with 28 posts

No nerves lost: Octopuses can regenerate their nervous system.

Octopuses have complex behaviors, like communicating with other octopuses by changing color patterns of their skin. Damage to the nerve that controls this behavior takes away the skin patterning abilities. As it turns out, this nerve can repair itself after an injury – and colorful patterns come back too. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate […]

Mazes aren’t just for mice: European shore crabs exhibit spatial learning

Mazes aren’t just for mice, although a scientific literature search for maze learning might lead you to think so. In a recent study, scientists investigate crab performance in a complex maze and propose that European shore crabs exhibit spatial learning and memory, potentially tied to their need to find food along the complicated, three-dimensional seafloor. […]

The story behind the story: Understanding how mother whales communicate and the challenges of studying an endangered species

How do North Atlantic right whale moms talk to their calves? A recent paper describes new quiet calls which have only been recorded from mother/calf pairs. But there’s more to the story than just what makes it into the journal article, namely the logistical as well as emotional challenges of studying an endangered species. Julia […]

From Animal Tracking to Conservation

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride on the back of a whale? Scientists now use a variety of tag technologies and tracking methods to understand the movement of marine animals from whales to sharks to birds to turtles. But how can tracking data be effectively translated into conservation policy that […]

Does ocean circulation provide prey for a top ocean predator?

Ocean circulation patterns are generally thought to move water from one area to another in the world’s oceans. One example of this includes eddies, swirling water masses that spin off from major ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream off the coast of the eastern U.S. Some of these eddies can bring more productive waters […]

Are dolphins losing their minds in blooming ocean waters?

Polluted water is a great source of food for harmful algal blooms, which release even more toxins into the water. And now scientists say that algal blooms may give dolphins Alzheimer’s disease-like brain damage. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders […]

Same-Sex Squid Sex

Same-sex sexual behavior exists across a wide range of animals, but the behavior has long puzzled scientists because of the apparent paradox of mating behavior that does not produce offspring. What is the adaptive value of same-sex mating and what are the different reasons it has evolved in so many species? A recent paper describes […]

Bold Fish, Shy Fish: What’s in Their Brains?

Much like people, some fish individuals are adventurous, while others are more cautious. Do differences in the brain function hold the secret to fish personality types? Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders called axolotls. In my free time, I like […]

Ecology of Fear: Current Implications of Orca Presence on Narwhal Behavior and Future Trends

The ecology of fear is a hypothesis that predators drive habitat use and behavior in prey species. In the Arctic, the orca drives behavioral changes in a variety of species including narwhals. Analyzing a narwhal population in a Fjord in Greenland researchers were able to look at how fear drives narwhal behavior. Article Breed, Greg […]

Lost in the sound: coral planulae habitat selection affected by boat noise

It can be hard to cut through the noises that surround us and focus on the task in front of us, right? This may not just be a human problem. Noise pollution may be another way human activity is negatively affecting corals. Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and […]

Citizen Science and Undersea Stars: The Value of Photographs to Global Megafauna Biology

Check out this article about how tourist pictures of whale sharks are helping scientists learn about whale shark populations around the globe! Matthew LarsenI am a second year master’s student at Coastal Carolina University in the Abel Lab. My interests focus on the ecology and life history of large marine megafauna with a central focus […]

Summertime skincare: bowhead whales use rocks to help peel off molting skin

Whale summer skin care? Yes, it really is a thing. Read on to learn how bowhead whales in the eastern Canadian Arctic replace their skin over the summer with the help of undersea boulders. Anna RobuckI am a third year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in the Lohmann […]

Wandering copepods can’t find their way home in acidic oceans

Journal source: Smith, J. N., C. Richter, K. Fabricius, and A. Cornils. 2017. Pontellid copepods affected by ocean acidification: A field study at natural CO2 seeps. PLoS ONE 12 doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175663. Introduction Ocean acidification (OA for short) is a topic that seems to be receiving increased attention, and if you’ve scrolled through some recent Oceanbites posts, […]

Using seabirds to study squid

How do scientists track fast swimming squid in the remote and vast open waters of the Southern Ocean? Probably not in any way you’d expect. They use squid predators, specifically a seabird—the wandering albatross—to find the squid for them. These albatrosses are outfitted with some very cool technology to bring the researchers information on their […]

Candidate compass genes in fish

A team of American researchers use next-generation sequencing to ask: “magnetoreception, how does it work?” Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, and joined Oceanbites in September 2015. Her research focuses on the physiological mechanisms and evolution of the respiratory and metabolic responses of Fundulus killifish to intermittent […]

So cute!

It’s a trap! African penguins impacted by climate change

Young penguins living along the southwestern coast of Africa typically follow cool, nutrient rich water to find food as they grow up. This used to lead them to ‘delicious’ fish such as anchovies and sardines. However, in this ecosystem – the Benguela Upwelling Zone – climate change and overfishing have reduced these fish populations. This […]

Small MPAs: the new all-you-can-eat buffets?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation tool and are in many situations very effective. Unfortunately, as with many plans, there may be some unintended consequences, as seen in the case of small MPAs in Fiji, where they appear to have attracted corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acanthaster spp.). Find out more in today’s oceanbites! […]

What killer whales tell us about menopause

Killer whales, or orcas (Orcinus orca), are amazingly intelligent and social animals. What can they tell us about the evolution of menopause? Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, and joined Oceanbites in September 2015. Her research focuses on the physiological mechanisms and evolution of the respiratory and […]

The whirling world of starfish larvae whorls

A close look at starfish larvae reveals the beautiful patterns they create while moving through the water. These tiny vortex machines can create lots of swirls around themselves to trap food, or they can let the water flow by them smoothly when they want to swim fast. Nicole CoutoI’m interested in how physical processes occurring […]

Warm water curtails sea snakes’ dives

Like frogs, sea snakes can uptake oxygen through both their lungs and their skin. How will these “bimodal breathers” cope with warm ocean temperatures? Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, and joined Oceanbites in September 2015. Her research focuses on the physiological mechanisms and evolution of the […]

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