Archive for September, 2014

Digitally partnering with spearfishers to survey fish communities

Cameras mounted on spearfishing guns are a viable source of scientific data, which could lead to new citizen science partnerships

Chemical healing: how coral larvae and juvenile reef fish are using chemistry to choose a good neighborhood

A recent study suggests that coral reef restoration may require a nuanced understanding of chemical cues that clue in coral and fish recruits to ecosystem health.

Are coastal waters receiving drugs? Are the rivers distributing them?

Pollution is not new news. It is common to hear discussion about air pollution and trash pollution, and more recently you may have heard about microbeads from facial cleansers and other products showing up in measurable concentrations in the ocean. Well to get even more micro, scientists measured the concentrations of drugs in Taiwan’s coastal waters and the findings are disturbing.

How is the tropical Pacific causing the Arctic to warm?

The Arctic is warming at an unprecedented rate. New research shows that 50% of regional Arctic warming is due to natural climate variations, while the other 50% is due to human-induced climate change.

What factors influence Lionfish success in the Bahamas?

Lionfish are recent invaders of the Caribbean Basin and are reproducing at a rapid rate, their population continuing to grow and out compete native fish species. A recent study provides a new conservation strategy against these predators, involving what potentially might be a safe refuge for lionfish prey.

Determining viral controls of phytoplankton blooms

Article: Lehahn, Y. et al. Decoupling Physical from Biological Processes to Assess the Impact of Viruses on a Mesoscale Algal Bloom.Current Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.07.046 Background Despite their small size, phytoplankton play an incredibly large role in maintaining ocean food webs and can even contribute to global climate. As plants, phytoplankton consume carbon dioxide and fix it […]

Daredevil: Chilean devil rays dive to extreme depths and escape without brain freeze

Chilean devil rays were previously thought to live near the surface, however, this research reveals they are among the deepest divers!

Using nitrogen isotopes to start from the bottom…of the marine food web!

Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are an important nitrogen source in the ocean and the δ15N of amino acids is helpful in figuring out where you stand on the food web. The amino acid δ15N of the bacteria Vibrio harveyi changed depending on the food (C:N ratio and type of nitrogen) used to grow the bacteria. This information could be helpful in assessing the trophic transfer of nitrogen and what happens to organic matter at the bottom on the food web.

Deep Blue Reads: Blue Urbanism, by Timothy Beatley

I lived in Seattle for about a year before I started to really notice the water. It’s an impressive feat, when you think about it – Seattle is a city surrounded on almost all sides by water: Lake Washington to the east, Puget Sound to the west, and Lake Union and the ship canal cutting […]

Moonrise Ecosystem: how intertidal seaweeds are influenced by celestial cycles

The moon does not sit still while orbiting the earth. Rather, it is constantly changing its position and angle relative to the equator. With the moon playing a large role influencing tides, this celestial cycle impacts the world’s intertidal ecosystems and the species that inhabit them. Researchers have found that these cycles are linked to changes in seaweed cover in rocky intertidal zones, which has cascading effects through the rest of the ecosystem.

The turtle skylight: looks great and helps with time management.

Leatherback turtles have a built-in skull skylight that registers light and helps tell them when to migrate.

The first day after an oil spill

Crude oil is mostly composed of n-alkanes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs) which are toxic to organisms. After an oil spill, it is crucial to investigate the fractionation of compounds partitioning into the air and water to aid in predicting their threat to downwind population and the marine community.

Seven steps to better science communication, journalist-tested and -approved

Scientists are often called upon to present their research in a variety of formats, whether that be in a journal article, oral presentation, or outreach activity. For graduate students, learning how to communicate science effectively in each of these formats is a vital part of their training. I went undercover at the SEJ 2014 Annual […]

Suck It!: Why Octopus Arms Don’t Stick To Each Other

Many students have wondered why the sticky, sucker-covered arms of the octopus don’t stick to one another as the animal goes about its daily business. Finally, four researchers have given us the answer: something in the octopus’ skin keeps the suckers from sticking there.

Marine Biologist in an Ocean of Journalists

Journalists are an interesting group of people. As a scientist and specifically, one who studies animal behaviour, I cannot help but study human behaviour as well. We are half-way through this year’s Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Annual Conference in New Orleans. As a writer and a scientist, this conference is a great fit for […]

A “Jaw-dropping” Cambrian Fish!

A 500 million year old primitive fish sheds light on vertebrate evolution and the emergence of jawed fish.

Measuring “Roundup” in the Great Barrier Reef

Scientists estimated the degradation time for glyphosate, an herbicide in “Roundup”, in the Great Barrrier Reef. This is the first study of the persistence of glyphosate in seawater.

Live from New Orleans, graduate students’ forays into environmental journalism!

Scientists are accustomed to a certain flow of work in daily life. We use logic and reasoning to formulate hypotheses, develop experiments, and analyze endlessly complex data sets. There is often a dichotomy between scientists and the general public. While we can sometimes rely on journalists and reporters to translate and communicate for us, it […]

Cartilaginous Conundrum: Are Sharks and Skates Safe to Eat?

While smooth dogfish may not be on your list of favorite seafood, cartilaginous fish (mainly sharks and skates) may increasingly find their way onto your dinner plate due to the decline of more traditional fisheries. While increased demand for these species as a food item could help struggling seafood industries, recent proposals to use dogfish in federal food programs beg the question: Is it safe to eat shark?

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