Archive for November, 2014

On the natural history of sex: which came first, internal or external fertilization?

Fish fossils have something surprising to tell us about last night.

Glacial crevasses: how deep do they go? What does it mean?

The techniques applied here provide a much needed coastal view of the Greenland ice sheets. Work done in previous studies have successfully provided insight to glacial geometry inland, however, the information yielded about ice on the edge is weak. The results of this study agree with previous work inland while also significantly refining what is known about the coast.

Whale skin samples track changes in ocean biogeochemistry

Article: Ruiz-Cooley RI, Koch PL, Fiedler PC, McCarthy MD (2014) Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes from Top Predator Amino Acids Reveal Rapidly Shifting OceanBiochemistry in the Outer California Current. PLoS ONE 9(10): e110355. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110355   Introduction Scientists have devised alternative ways to study ocean food webs using stable isotope analysis – particularly for carbon and nitrogen. […]

The results are in: Ecosystems attune to natural temperature changes

Understanding both physics and biology is crucial in identifying the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. This meta-analysis on the ecological responses to natural temperature swings provides an overview of the Atlantic biophysical marine system.

Can a complex model hold the fate of the crown-of-thorns starfish?

Not all starfish are cute! The crown-of-thorns starfish has been eating all the coral on the Great Barrier Reef! Researchers set out to build a model in hopes of demonstrating the trophic interactions between this dangerous starfish and its prey, the coral.

Penguins can rock their bodies without eating high trophic level prey

Prey of a higher trophic level does not necessarily translate to a higher body mass in rockhopper penguins. Read more to find out why!

Turtle manure and eelgrass seeds make for an aquatic garden!

The accidental ingestion of eelgrass seeds by diamondback terrapins may help disperse eelgrass in Chesapeake Bay, demonstrating a new mutualistic relationship.

Deep Blue Reads: Blue Mind, by Wallace J. Nichols

Oceanographers, take note: you’re probably happier than the rest of us. That, at least, seems likely given the central thesis of Wallace J. Nichols’ Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do—a title that handily […]

The Community Conundrum: using models to challenge classic ecological theory

Science is not just about new discoveries and novel research questions; it’s often about challenging the past using new tools, techniques, and perspectives. Here, researchers used new modeling techniques to sharpen the focus on how marine communities are structured, attempting to resolve a century-old dispute.

New housing options in unlikely places: Animals and oil platforms.

Real estate in the open ocean is a hot commodity. This research shows how enthusiastically fish and invertebrates take advantage of new habitat.

The Great Barrier Reef is worth $15 billion – $20 billion AUS a year: A quick lesson in ecosystem economics

When discussing the value of an ecosystem, tensions run high. Some people evaluate ecosystems with heavy emphasis on non-use values, like aesthetics and spiritual appreciation. Other people value ecosystems based on things like natural resource availability and the potential for direct monetary revenue. It is difficult to assess the relative importance (or value) of these differing goals because the economic benefits of one are easily quantified while the other is more difficult to assess.

Passive Sampling for Antiparasitics near a Chile Salmon Farm

An increase in the number of positive cages and cage-level abundance of sea lice in southern Chile was shown since 2004. The prevalence of sea lice in the fish farms was 53.4%, and the average sea lice abundance was 11.8 per fish (poor salmon)! In order to gain control over parasites, synthetic pyrethoid has been invented and put into use. However, pyrethoid is released to the ocean after treatment and has the potential to harm non-target organism, such as copepods, benthonic crustaceans and mussels. Passive sampling is a promising way for monitoring these compounds in the water. It is much cheaper and simpler than actively collecting liters of water!

Fatal attraction: Under climate change, fish swimming towards predators, not away from them

There are all kinds of ways that climate change can directly affect marine life – habitat loss, changes in the food web, and decreased oxygen levels all come to mind – but there are also more insidious ways that climate change can harm fish. This study explores how elevated CO2 in the water makes fish across generations unable to recognize a chemical alarm cue that signals a predator.

The Antarctic minke whale foraging strategy

Filter feeding whales face a body size and feeding strategy trade-off in foraging efficiency. Researchers from the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University studied the foraging strategy of one of the smallest filter feeding whales, the Antarctic minke whale.

On the Verge: Sea Level to Emerge

What is natural and what is human induced climate change? A controversial topic indeed, determining when a natural process has been drastically altered by human activities is best left to the scientists! In this study, scientists use climate model simulations and sea level projections to estimate when human induced climate change emerges from natural variability.

One, two, skip which few? Biodiversity doesn’t always mean ecosystem stability

Promised benefits from tropical biodiversity may not be as strong as previously thought when it comes to buffering reef ecosystems from collapse due to species loss.

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