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Archive for January, 2015

Copepod

Deadly Dino’s

Copepods dominate the world’s oceans. They are important in the marine food web and help to regulate the global carbon cycle. Being abundant in the ocean is not always fun. Copepods attract attention from infectious parasites, especially from a certain species of dinoflagellate. What potential effects can this parasite have on copepods and what other large-scale implications may arise?

Figure 1: Rattail fish Coryphaenoides acrolepis. Image taken by MBARI (http://deepseanews.com/2009/08/simple-summer-recipes-for-dead-seafloor-carrion/)

Deep-sea Lights

Many different animals in the ocean produce light to communicate, especially in the darkness of the deep-sea. But how exactly do these animals produce their own light? Researchers studied the structure of a bioluminescent organ in rattail fishes to see how these fish begin to produce light.

Lionfish (Pterois volitans)
Photo Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pterois_volitans.001_-_Aquarium_Finisterrae.JPG

Risking It All For Love: Courtship behavior by a reef fish makes it vulnerable to lionfish predation

Paper: Black, A.N., S.R. Weimann, V.E. Imhoff, M.L. Richter, and M. Itzkowitz. 2014. A differential prey response to invasive lionfish, Pterois volitans: Prey naiveté and risk-sensitive courtship. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 460: 1-7. DOI:10.1016/j.jembe.2014.06.002 This story sounds a lot like a bad high school romance. You see your crush across the hall! […]

Schutte 1.26

Analyzing bycatch to better understand natural fish communities

Commercial shrimp trawlers haul in 3 to 15 times more of anything else than they do shrimp. Most of these extra animals are dumped back into the ocean after they die, but analyzing this bycatch before it’s discarded could tell us how non-shrimp species are doing.

Image courtesy nytimes.com

Smoked: how global warming might spell impending doom for Pacific salmon

Climate change is smoking salmon.

The water used to irrigate rice fields will become saltier the more sea levels rise. (Photo: Pacific Agroecology & Economics)

Salty Rice: Tasty Treat, or Damaging Effect of Sea Level Rise?

The Mekong Delta in Vietnam is subject to groundwater salt intrusions due to sea level rise, damaging vital crops. Agricultural production will continue to take a hit unless something can be done to either fight or adapt to this phenomenon. Researchers are using modeling to try and find cost-effective and long-lasting solutions.

ComSci15 Logo

Attention Grad Students: Apply to Attend ComSciCon15!

Applications are now open for the Communicating Science 2015 workshop, to be held in Cambridge, MA on June 18-20th, 2015! Graduate students at US institutions in all fields of science and engineering are encouraged to apply.

http://people.clarkson.edu/~pyapa/Thermovent/smoker.jpg

Happy Samples

How frustrating it must be to spend a bunch of money to get to the field, only to find out the samples collected were contaminated. This piece reviews the effort of a group of science engineers from China to eliminate sample contamination when collecting hydrothermal vent fluids in shallow waters.

SealandDiver

Are Fisheries Scientists Ringing the Dinner Bell for Marine Mammals?

Acoustic telemetry is a valuable technique used by fisheries scientists to track fish movements. However, a new study suggests that these anthropogenic signals may make tagged fish an easy target for marine mammal predators like dolphins and seals.

antarctic

We’re In Deep Heat: trouble boils over in West Antarctica

An international team of researchers shows that rising ocean temperatures along West Antarctic ice shelves are linked to rising warm water from the deep ocean, and that the rate of warming is larger than previously thought. With no indication of a slow down in warming, these findings illuminate on new realities of sea level challenges likely to be faced in coming decades.

9781617230141M

Deep Blue Reads: Octopus!: The Most Mysterious Creature in the Sea, by Katherine Harmon Courage

I will be honest: I almost chucked this book clear across the room while reading it. It’s not that Katherine Harmon Courage’s Octopus! is at its root a bad book. It’s not poorly written—though at times Courage relies on cutesy prose, referring to octopus digestive tracts as “poopers,” for example, or discussing neuroscientists who endeavor […]

whale shark

Watch out guys, pregnant whale sharks are on the loose!

Whale sharks have become an increasingly popular tourist attraction, but much of their life history remains largely unknown. This study sets off to observe whale sharks around Darwin Island to help understand more about their habitat use, population size, and seasonal appearances. And what they find is a whole lot of pregnant whale sharks.

deepwater-horizon-well-oil-spill-lg

Years later, Gulf of Mexico sediment chemistry still feeling the effects of Deepwater Horizon

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the largest accidental oil spill in US waters. Many scientists are working hard to monitor the Gulf for signs of lasting impact and a study recently accepted into Deep-Sea Research Part II has shown unexpected changes in sediment chemistry that has persisted for many years after the event.

Clownfish in bubble-tip anenome (Image credit: Dave Harrison)

Anemones can do the ‘symbiont shuffle’ in the face of climate change

The bubble-tip anemone can harbour several types of algae or ‘endosymbionts’ simultaneously. This raises the question: are there advantages to hosting different types of symbionts? Read more to find out!

Figure 2: An example of light pollution in the Tamar, as viewed from Cremyll, UK.

Shine on…..or should we?

The consequences artificial light pollution has on marine ecosystems is unclear. This work compiles many of the known and expected threats light pollution poses to marine critters in order to emphasize why more research is needed.

Space is a valuable resource in coral reefs.

The Rumble in the Coral Jungle? How reef degradation is impacting damselfish competition

Two fish enter. One fish leaves…but, according to new research, that may no longer be the case in degraded habitats.

Hungry, big blue crabs.

Two Crabs and an Alga- a story of protection and evolution.

Tiny mud crabs try to escape big blue crab predators but without the help of evolution to guide shelter choices what will they do?

Trawling cartoon, courtesy of NOAA

Bottom trawling changes bodies: the new seafloor diet

Seafloor trawling inevitably captures more than the species it is targeting. This means that when the remaining fishes line up at the buffet table, the options they have to choose from may be different than what they like to eat. In this article, Johnson et al., investigate whether two fish species in the Irish Sea are going hungry under different trawling conditions.

Figure 4. Cycling of MMHg and DMHg in the Arctic Marine Boundary Layer.

Methylated Mercury Cycling in the Canadian Arctic Marine Boundary Layer

Monomethylmercury (MMHg) is the most toxic form of mercury (Hg) to humans and wildlife. In the environment it concentrates (or “bioaccumulates”) in fish and shellfish. This increase in methylmercury concentration is further amplified up the food chain when, for example, people consume seafood. Mercury (Hg) found in Arctic marine mammals and fish are on the rise, raising concerns over the potential impacts on the environment and human health. However, our understanding of Arctic Hg biogeochemistry remains incomplete.

Microplastics

Microplastics Rolling in the Deep

Everyone knows that there’s a lot of plastic floating around in our oceans – we see it on our beaches and in the news. But, did you know that there’s also a lot of plastic sinking in our oceans? This study looked at microplastics and found that they’re everywhere in the deep sea sediment. Plastic is not just a floating problem anymore.

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