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Conservation

This tag is associated with 40 posts
Fig. 4: Ringed seal pup. Author: Shawn Dahle, NOAA, Polar Ecosystems Program research cruise. Source: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pusa_hispida_pup.jpg

Throwing Babies out with the Sea Ice: Ringed Seals Response to Ice Decline

As the Earth warms, sea ice declines. What happens to those animals who rely on the ice? Today’s oceanbites looks at one animal, the ringed seal, and how it may be affected by climate change!

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 forces the young penguins to eat less nutritious fish so fewer of them survive to adulthood. This threatens the African penguin’s future. Conservation efforts are needed to ensure this important (and adorable!) species survives.

Red Crown-of-Thorns Starfish eating coral. Author Matt Kieffer, Flickr. No modifications made. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/3016449061 Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

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!

Soft coral dominated reef. Author: Matt Kieffer. Source: Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/15439205306)

Hard Coral or Macroalgae? Coral Reefs May Have Another Option

Most of the time coral reef communities are discussed, it seems the focus is whether they’re dominated by hard coral or algae. It turns out there may be other possible outcomes for reefs in the future. Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

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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?

Fig. 1. Encroaching Mangrove in Homestead, FL
Source: G. Gardner, National Park Service, via Wikimedia Commons

Mangrove Takeover Impacting Salt Marshes

Mangroves are encroaching on salt marsh habitats worldwide, but what does this change in plant community mean for the plants, ecosystem processes, and other inhabitants of these areas? Find out a bit of the answer to that question in today’s oceanbites!

Fig. 3. Entangled Sea Turtle. Source: NOAA.

Let’s Ghost Fishing for Halloween!

Ghost fishing is ghastly because it creates underwater graveyards for wildlife. The authors covered here wrote a new review of gear entanglement among mammals, reptiles, and sharks. Find out what they discovered by reading today’s post!

One of the suspects, the member of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia, produce the neurotoxin domoic acid [Wikimedia Commons]

Do algal blooms kill whales?

Since 2005, southern right whale calves have been found dead in historic numbers off the Patagonian coast in Argentina. Scientists investigate whether harmful algal blooms may be to blame.

Fig 6: Alepes djedaba, one of the invasive species studied.  (Source: Public Commons)

When Aliens Invade: Disturbed Food Webs in the Mediterranean

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.

Fig. 1. Polar Bear (climate change refugee). Source: Wikimedia Commons, Author Arturo de Frias Marques.

If You Must, Adjust? Polar Bears Leaving Sea Ice in the Arctic

Everyone knows that polar bears have become the poster children for species threatened by climate change. And it’s for good reason that they are. Polar bears rely on sea ice for access to prey, finding mates, and creating dens. The persistence of the species depends on the state of sea-ice and more generally a healthy marine ecosystem in the Arctic. Unfortunately, the volume and extent of sea ice have been decreasing by 28% and 14% per decade. Is there a way for polar bears to adapt to the changing sea ice coverage in this sensitive habitat?

A lot of interesting work has been doing on sea turtle nests, some of which has been covered on Oceanbites. Did you know warm nests produce more females?  Or that rising sea levels hinder hatching success?  [Flickr - Jeroen Looye]

With a little help from my friends: sea turtles hatch together to save energy

Sea turtle hatchlings face long odds when they emerge from their buried nests. But at least they don’t have to dig themselves out alone.

Figure 1: Sawfishes may look like sharks but they are actually just close relatives and are technically a type of ray (don’t worry, no stinging barb though!)

Shark (and fish, reptiles, and amphibians) Week for Scientists II: Notes from the Joint Meeting of Ichthyology and Herpetology 2016

As Shark Week drew to an end, the scientist that study sharks, fish, amphibians and reptiles joined together to discuss their scientific research with one another at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Here are some of the highlights!

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Analyzing supply and demand of overharvested manta and devil rays

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.

Happy Shark Week! Today we examine a persistent and interesting biogeographical puzzle: why are there so few deep sea sharks?

Why don’t sharks go deep?

Happy Shark Week! Today we examine a persistent and interesting biogeographical puzzle: why are there so few deep sea sharks?

Pregnant “Jamin” Tiger Shark at Tiger Beach, Bahamas (photo by Jamin Martinelli, Shark Researcher, Dive Master, and Field Contributor to this research project)

Guest Post: Tiger Beach, Bahamas: A Safe Haven for Female Tiger Sharks

Over the past few decades, the plight of sharks has been overshadowed by greed for shark fin soup and fears spurred on by movies like Jaws. However, the Bahamas have worked hard to create a safe haven for all shark species through policies and practices. Researchers have recently found that the exciting, cage-free, ecotourism dive spot of Tiger Beach is a very important site for Tiger Shark conservation — Please read on to learn more!

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Sea Lions and goose chases – a day at the Marine Mammal Center

I spent a morning learning about the Marine Mammal Center at Moss Landing in California, helped with the intake of a sea lion, and went out on a call with the team.

Fig 1: Marine debris on the beach at Green Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Author: Keeley Belva, NOAA. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kure_debris_440.jpg

To I.D. Debris: LIDAR as a tool to identify trash on the beach

Scientists may have a new option for figuring out how much debris litters our beaches and what it all is! Find out more in today’s World Oceans Day post on marine debris!

A horseshoe crab pair (female in the front, male clinging on in the back--note the higher arch of the male's shell--this allows him to 'fit' tightly onto the female's back).  Image Credit: Megan Chen

Green Eggs & Sand: A Horseshoe Crab Workshop

This month, a whole post about horseshoe crabs! How do they grow? How have they saved lives? The answer to those questions and to many more!

Pretty, isn't it? "The Blue Marble" photograph of Earth, taken when the Apollo 17 mission travelled to the moon in 1972. This picture is featured on the official Earth Day Flag. [Wikimedia]

Go Green for Earth Day!

Do Mother Nature a solid with these helpful tips & tricks to go green today!

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The importance of sea urchins

A look into Valeska’s graduate research. Why coral reefs depend on the long spined black sea urchin for survival.

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