Archive for February, 2014

There’s no place like home

Lemon sharks travel many miles in their lifetime, but once a female becomes sexually mature she will be found right back at her place of birth to reproduce.

Can’t we all just get along! Bridging the gap between climate scientists and decision-makers to help prevent precipitation-related catastrophes

Climate scientists and humanitarian organizations are implementing a plan to help predict major precipitation-related disasters, such as floods, by focusing on developing an early warning system for extreme events, rather than seasonal averages, in a reader-friendly language for decision-makers.

Picky Eaters: how the feeding preference of lobsters may be slowing the return of California kelp forests.

There is a well-documented link between increased sea urchin abundance and the overall decline of kelp forest ecosystems. Too many urchins create what are called urchin barrens, devoid of the habitat forming kelps and lacking overall community diversity. Controlling the sea urchin population is vital to kelp recovery and this can happen through natural predation. However, researchers have recently found that lobsters, a common sea urchin predator, opt not to eat urchins living in barrens and would actively feed on urchins from healthy kelp forests. As a result, kelp forest recovery is hindered. You can lead a lobster to sea urchins but can’t make them eat!

Using satellites to find underwater volcanic eruptions

The purpose of this study was to create a new metric for detecting submarine volcanic eruptions using satellite data. The new metric the authors created has the potential to allow scientists to know about eruptions in remote parts of the world’s oceans. These places could then be prioritized as regions for more in depth investigation in order to gain a better understanding of how volcanism works underwater, in different tectonic environments.

Reevaluating of Hydrate-Controlled Methane Seepage from Study off Svalbard

Methane, which is an even more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, has been a great concern as climate change may lead to large quantities of emissions of methane. Due to the temperature-dependent stability of methane, it is claimed that a fraction of methane would be released from the warming up ocean water.

A Cool Breeze Amidst Global Warming

Climate scientists have affirmed that we are currently in a warming hiatus, similar to the 1940s – 1970s, where global warming has stalled or is occurring at an unusually slow rate. The cause of these warming hiatuses are under investigation, though it is well understood that they are temporary deviations from the normal warming trend.

Abundant bacterial vesicles found in seawater

An abundant species of photosynthetic bacteria is found to release numerous membrane-bound packets. This is the first evidence of vesicle release by photosynthetic organisms. These tiny vesicles could have big impacts on prior knowledge of marine microbial systems.

Worm food: Whale bones found in Antarctica are teeming with life

Marine biologists have discovered a whale skeleton nearly a mile below the surface in an undersea crater near Antarctica. At least nine new species of deep-sea organisms were discovered, including a new species of Osedax, the ‘bone eating’ worm.

Big Fish Eats Little Fish: Biomagnification of Natural Toxins

Naturally occurring poisons produced by some microorganisms can concentrate to dangerous levels in carnivorous fish, just like man-made pollutants do. In this study, researchers travelled to the Republic of Kiribati to investigate how ciguatoxins, responsible for ciguatera fish poisoning, are transferred between species in a complex reef ecosystem.

The Grit in the Oyster – Pearl Farming in French Polynesia

French Polynesia produces a large majority of the world’s Tahitian cultured pearls and is at the center of the multi-million dollar pearl oyster farming industry. Take a look into this study that looked at the effects of pearl oyster farming on reef fish abundance and diversity. It presents some good news and demonstrates that if sustainable farming practices are followed, pearl oyster farming might actually have positive effects on reef fish abundance.

Not so alike after all: European hake populations might be locally adapted

Recent evidence that European hake populations might be adapted to local conditions (e.g. temperature and salinity at the surface) suggests the need to review current management strategies of their stocks.

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