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Archive for June, 2015

Untangling the issues with longline fishing

Longline fishing has been used for decades as a way to catch large amounts of commercial fish. Though effective in capturing target fish, longlines unintentionally snag and kill millions of other marine species. Aside from being caught themselves, marine mammals (i.e. dolphins and killer whales) may eat target fish off the hooks and destroy fishing equipment. Are there ways to reduce incidental bycatch and make longline fishing more sustainable?

Prokaryotes are prokaryotes: a sneak peak at the microbial oceans courtesy DNA  

Scientists have sequenced the microbial diversity of the world’s oceans unlocking the secrets of the microbes that run our planet.

Seeing with skin: the secret to octopus camouflage

Capable of blending into the environment in a matter of seconds, the octopus in no normal sea creature. But just how is the octopus able to disguise itself so flawlessly? Researchers reveal that these cephalopods may be able to “see” with their skin!

Sponges Out of Control: Another Effect of Overfishing

When you think about threats to coral reefs, you don’t think “Sponges!”, do you? But you might come up with “overfishing.” While the overfishing of herbivorous (algae-eating) species has grabbed attention, we may need to consider the loss of sponge-eating fish too. Check out some new research that shows an increase in sponge-coral interactions where fishing activity is intense!

Stop, collaborate and listen: decision-oriented data collection improves marine conservation

Managers often need specific information in order to best preserve a particular marine resource. This paper details a step-wise approach that decision-makers and other stakeholders can use to prioritize scientific and conservation efforts that promote sustainability. Using this triage approach will result in a more transparent decision-making process and focus scientific assessments, providing better information for crafting management plans.

Path of Corrosion: How Scientists Modeled Ancient Sea-Floor Acidity

Today, we see a rapid release of CO2 to the atmosphere associated with climate change. The same was true 55 million years ago during the PETM, a time when – sediment records show – there was pervasive carbonate dissolution along the sea floor. But it was not the same pattern everywhere. Scientists attempt to model these spatial varieties and explain what occurred.

Capitol Hill Ocean Week 2015 Highlights

Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) is an annual event in Washington, D.C. that brings together a wide range of leaders a to discuss ocean science, policy and management. In case you missed it, read this for highlights!

The True Value of Fish Nurseries

Estuaries (where freshwater and seawater mix) are used as nursery grounds to raise many species of young fish around the world. The authors of a new paper in Estuaries and Coasts describe how our currently oversimplified way of determining the value of these ecosystems is inadequate.

Indian Ocean keeps the Pacific cool

Inter-ocean heat transport through Indonesia’s archipelago offloads excess heat from the tropical Pacific to the Indian Ocean. Findings emphasize the importance of ocean heat transport in solving Earth’s energy imbalance.

Do fish communities need natural shorelines, or are artificial structures ok?

Due to coastal development and natural erosion, shoreline fish communities are stressed. Several versions of artificial structures have been built to help mimic natural shoreline habitats, but are they all equally helping to conserve the fish species, or are some better than others?

Marine microbial activity poses restrictions on cloud formation

Researchers from Scripps Institute of Oceanography have found that humble heterotrophic bacteria in the surface waters of the ocean can have far reaching impacts – extending beyond the typical marine microbial system and into the atmosphere to affect how clouds are formed.

There is a need for healthy parrotfish to maintain the reef islands

When you think of sediment erosion and island building physical processes and volcanism may come to mind. Well, you may be pleased to learn that fish build islands too, and get this- they do it with material they erode! However, the eco-geological relationship of island formation and sustainability with biology is not well quantified. This paper discusses research from the Maldives that is directed at quantifying the amount of sediment produced by parrotfish and Halimeda, and how it influences the maintenance of reef islands.

It’s getting warm, should I migrate now?

Leatherback turtles are nesting later due to warming sea surface temperatures at their foraging grounds, raising questions on how climate change will affect turtle migrations in the future.

Consummate Corals: resilience in an acidifying ocean

Gloom and doom has been the dominant message associated with climate change. However, it is important to remember that when faced with change, not all species and ecosystems are created equal. Recently, researchers have found that several species of cold-water corals are quite resilient to ocean acidification.

Seeing in the dark: zooplankton in Arctic winter.

Winter nights are very long and dark near the poles. How well can krill and other zooplankton see to get around?

Gulls in Argentina bully whales into changing their behavior

Whales are a lot like people: if something’s annoying or hurting you, you’ll go out of your way to avoid it, and whales do the same thing. This study out of Argentina focuses on how gull attacks have changed the way southern right whales breathe. Read on to find out what they do differently!

Satellites Agree: Sea Level Rise Accelerated Over Last Decade

Satellite altimetry: talk about a game-changer! Measurement of the oceans’ sea surface height by satellite altimetry has revolutionized the study of sea level rise. But even the most precise measurements are prone to error, which can drastically impair our understanding of sea level rise.

North Sea fish stick to warming shallows rather than cooling off at depth

Models based on historical survey data indicate that with long term warming trends, fish distributions in the North Sea will remain at nearly the same depths while abundances across species may change considerably.

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