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Archive for August, 2014

fishies

Damselfish in distress: on ocean acidification and suicidal reef fish

Fish are rebelling. What’s the cause?

arthur et al - traps as habitat

The Ghastly Impacts of Ghost Fishing Gear

Derelict fishing traps, or DFTs, are abandoned traps that may still be actively capturing marine organisms, in a phenomenon known as “ghost fishing.” In this study, a group of scientists put together a qualitative assessment on the ecological and economic impacts these traps may be having on coastal ecosystems throughout the United States.

Photo taken by NASA

Cyclones move poleward as tropics expand

Tropical cyclones are escaping the hot tropics and intensifying closer towards the poles. The apparent expansion of the tropics helps us to understand why.

Hippocampus whitei at Camp Cove. 3m DSC_1558

Are MPA’s the best way to conserve the seahorse population?

While Marine Protected Areas do a great job of preserving essential marine habitats, and decreasing fishing pressure, they may not be the best solution for the seahorse population.

European Eel - Anguilla anguilla

Keep it Down!: Eels Having Problems Avoiding Predators in Noisy Waters

We don’t traditionally think of our ships making noise that will disrupt animal behavior, but this study, looking at eels antipredation behavior under noisy and quiet conditions – shows that animals can be negatively affected by noise pollution.

Plastics from Arctic Sea Ice. Credit: Y.-Q. Wong and A. Khitun, Dartmouth College

An accidental find: Large quantities of microplastics are in Arctic sea ice!

Multiyear sea ice formation in the Arctic Sea uptakes microplastics from seawater, effectively acting as a sink for these man-made particles. Melting sea ice, as a result of climate change, threatens to release these microplastics back into the ocean with unknown implications for the environment.

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Understanding nitrogen loss from the ocean: Is it anammox or denitrification? It’s both!

Recent findings from the north east Pacific may have solved a major controversy in scientists’ understanding of nitrogen loss from the ocean. Researchers developed a model to predict the contributions of denitrification and anammox to total nitrogen loss and confirmed the model predictions using laboratory studies.

Fig 1: California grunion (Leuresthes tenuis).

Sunlight and Sex Determination: how environmental cues help shape sex ratios in larval fish

If you are a fish like the California grunion, environmental cues are going to play a role in determining whether you are a male or female fish. If the environment is colder, you are more likely to be female; if the environment is warmer, odds are you’ll be male. But it seems that temperature isn’t the only environmental cue influencing sex. Researchers have found that photoperiod, or the duration of sunlight during the day, influences sex ratios in some fish.

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Making the best of a bad situation: the upside of squid injury.

Injured squid are more vulnerable to attack from predators but stepping up their defensive behaviors gives them a fighting chance. Long term pain sensitivity makes this possible.

Fig 1. Detection frequencies  of compounds with df > 10% in all samples (n = 153). Only the compounds analyzed in all samples were considered in the calculation.

Fish don’t need to lineup at Starbucks to get their morning coffee – they’re swimming in it!

Pharmaceuticals, corrosion inhibitors, biocides and stimulants are some of the most frequently detected micropollutants in the aquatic environment. They are toxic, bioaccumulative and hard to degrade. They can pose risks to the local ecosystem or even human health.

Credit: Gail Schofield.  A Loggerhead sea turtle, just one of many species that may benefit establishing marine corridors that link MPAs

How sea turtles with backpacks can help establish highways for ocean health

It is a big scary world out there if you are a migrating ocean animal. However, data-generating backpacks worn by sea turtles can help delineate corridors linking MPAs for added protection!

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Global Warming Hiatus? Blame the Atlantic!

From the early 1990s on, the Earth has been experiencing a global warming hiatus, where the post-industrial warming trend has effectively come to a stop. Recent research has implicated strengthening Pacific trade winds as the cause of the warming hiatus. New evidence suggests the mechanism triggering the unprecedented acceleration of Pacific trade winds has its origins in the Atlantic Ocean.

chileanseabass

Impostor! How mislabeled seafood affects the amount of mercury you ingest

Seafood mislabeling is a big problem for both consumers and fisheries management. Using genetic data and mercury concentrations, scientists figured out how frequently store-bought Chilean sea bass was swapped. Results indicate seafood substitutions can mean very different concentrations of mercury in your meal.

Photo Courtesy of www.aqua.org Copyright: Eric Baccega

The Hairy Truth: Using Grizzly Bear hair to study mercury levels

A large portion of the North American Grizzly Bear population call Western Canada home. The diet of these bears ranges from berries to mammals, and every year in the fall, coastal bears consume copious amount of Pacific salmon. This study investigates hair samples from Grizzly Bears and how they can be used to reflect dietary changes in mercury consumption.

TheSixthExtinction

Deep Blue Reads: The Sixth Extinction, by Elizabeth Kolbert

As a novelist writing about oceanography, I spend a decent amount of time parsing scientific studies. Over the past several years my vocabulary has expanded to include terms like band saturation, turbidity currents, and foraminifera—phrases and words that had not existed in my wildest dreams when I first started writing. I’ve relied on studies and […]

Figure 1: Octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica) observed by ROPOS during cable route surveys between Endeavour Node and the north Regional Circulation Mooring (RCM) instrument platform at Endeavour Ridge, 20 September 2010, at depth 2327m. Credit: neptunecanada

Supermom of the depths: octopus guards its eggs for the longest period ever observed

Scientists found an octopus that guards its eggs for the longest period ever recorded. The super mother was filmed for 53 months and has produced the largest and most developed hatchlings known to date.

oceanbites photostream

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