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Archive for February, 2015

Lobster Title

Crustaceans are smarter than you think

Ever wondered how your lobster behaves before it reaches your dinner plate? Caribbean spiny lobsters take advantage of a unique sensory system to survive in the wild. Recently, the spiny lobster has been hit by a deadly virus that is threatening population size. How do healthy spiny lobsters avoid other individuals with the disease?

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There are plenty of fish in the sea! ….or are there?

Tigers, pandas, and orangutans are the poster children of endangered species, but marine animals have started to join their ranks. Scientists compared the terrestrial extinction events to more recent marine animal depletions to try and predict potential threats to marine ecosystems. What they found may help us to prevent large scale extinctions from occurring in the oceans.

Emerald Parrotfish, used with permission from Jim Garin

The Northward Expansion: Tropical Fish Settling the Temperate Seagrass Prairie

How will northward shifting tropical species interact with the temperate habitats they encounter? An example from seagrass habitat in the northern GOM

Heat input from Atlantic Ocean to the Arctic Basin circumpolar currents. Source: Canada's Aquatic Environments.

Stirring the Pot: Energy and Heat Flow of the Arctic Ocean

Although we perceive the Arctic Ocean as being cold, it is a complicated system of temperatures, salinities, currents, and tides. The mixing of different ocean layers is key in warming the sea surface and providing a heat flux to the sea ice and atmosphere. A successful model of this system can help us better understand climate change in the Arctic. (Photo source: Canada’s Aquatic Environments)

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One billion and one anaerobic nights: on the journey to atmospheric oxidation

Take a breather, and learn how cyanobacteria struggled to bring the world oxygen.

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Macrobioerosion rates and what they mean for reefs

Today macrobioerosion is a good thing that provides cement for the foundation of reef systems. So more macrobioerosion could mean more reefs, right? No! Perhaps too much of a good thing could have dire consequences for the future of the calcium carbonate budget.

Phyllosoma riding moon jelly.  Image taken by Kei Nomiyama.

Yee-haw! This jellyfish-riding lobster has special appendages to keep clean and be carried on

By riding jellyfish, this lobster larvae can travel the high seas, and have easy access to a convenient snack. But how do they deal with living in marine environments with constant exposure to bacteria, fungi, parasites and debris including smothering jellyfish mucus? Read more to find out!

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Extreme La Niña driven by big El Niño under future warming

The succession of ENSO events is projected to become more frequent and intense in a warming climate.

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Is a coral’s color all for show?

Two of the exact same corals, sitting right next to each other, often appear to be different based on their colors. Why is this? Scientists have shown that the answer involves intriguing genetics. The more genes a coral activates, the greater their strength of color.

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Baleen whales have a bone to pick with noise pollution

CT scans of the skull of a beached whale has helped a pair of researchers figure out how baleen whales hear. Through computer modeling, they found that baleen whales, in addition to using soft tissue in their head like antennas, also use the bones in their skull to pick up sounds from their environment.

Figure 1 - A sponge attached to the base of turtle grass

Complex Relationships in a Changing World: Sponges and Seagrass

Different species within an ecosystem interact with each other. However, their interactions are often more complex than we may realize. Here, we learn how the interaction between sub-tropical seagrass and sponges can be different in different environments, with implications to climate change.

Figure 1: Magnified culture of Vibrio vulnificus. Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibrio_vulnificus

Wash your hands after a beach day!

This study demonstrates a direct relationship between the potentially dangerous bacteria Vibrio in beach water with what is on your skin after a day swimming. The good news, washing your hands helps!

Fig 2. Coelastrea aspera, formerly Goniastrea aspera  (coral.aims.gov.au).

A Coral Never Forgets

A good memory may help corals cope with bleaching events.

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Are bigger moms better moms?

We know that larger female fish produce more eggs, but does this really mean they produce more young that grow into the next generation?

Photo by John Øystein Berg in Snillfjord, Middle Norway, shows wounds due to sea lice parasitism.  www.atlanticsalmontrust.org

Sunday brunch: Lox with… lice?

Lox and lice. Not a combination of critters you envision when planning your Sunday brunch. Unfortunately, an increase in drug resistant sea lice is threatening both wild and farmed salmonid populations.

Figure 1. A time line of the 5 most pressing problems affecting the global ocean.

Global change and the future ocean

The Growing number of environmental changes, such as contamination of seafood, shortage of water and increased frequency of extreme weather (floods, drought, hurricanes, etc), has raised people’s concerns about the Earth’s ability to sustain human populations.

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What do diabetics and cone snails have in common? The need for insulin

Cone snails are a family of organisms that use venom injected into the water to help them capture their prey. A new study suggests that one of the components of their venom cocktail is insulin, the same hormone that diabetics use to lower their blood pressure. How does that work? Read on to find out! 

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The Not So Stable Holocene

Here at Oceanbites, we hope you have been enjoying your stay in the Holocene Epoch, a span of time ranging from present day to 11.7 thousand years ago. The Holocene has been praised for its warm and stable climate compared to the past glacial period. But more and more evidence suggests that the early Holocene was a bit more variable, with notable changes in the North Atlantic Ocean’s surface and deep water circulation.

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