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Archive for July, 2015

Figure 2: Concentrations of toxic pollutants per gram of dried phytoplankton at each sampling location. Higher bars indicate greater total concentrations of POPs in plankton.

Tiny ocean creatures play a big role in the global fate of toxic pollutants

Scientists on the “biggest ever expedition on global change” studied the tiniest creatures in the ocean to learn about their role in accumulating and distributing toxic pollutants in the world’s oceans.

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Carbon sinks: Diatoms in the deep sea

Fast-sinking phytoplankton particles deliver carbon from the surface to the deep ocean. Are plankton cells still able to survive when they sink to the deep ocean? If so, how long may they survive without any sunlight?

Figure 1: Despite their bad reputation, sharks are less likely to injure you than you might think.

Shark Week for Scientists

Shark, fish, and reptile scientists joined together to share their research at the 2015 Joint Meeting for Ichthyologists and Herpetologists last week. Here are some of the interesting talks I was able to see.

Figure 1: The three-spot damselfish (Stegastes planifrons). 
Photo Credit: Rebecca Flynn (yours truly!), British Virgin Islands August 2014. Please request permission before copying or otherwise distributing this photo.

Switching it up: When do predation and habitat control damselfish abundance?

Another tale of how the loss of predators due to overfishing might impact coral reefs, but this one has a twist! Instead of the emphasis being on who’s eating whom, prey fish behavior is the key to what happens to the corals! Learn more in today’s oceanbites!

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Profiling developing countries to improve marine resource management

This study quantifies the higher quality of life found in coastal communities in developing countries. It also highlights the need for marine resource management to reach beyond cities to improve the wellbeing of rural communities, which are more impoverished than their urban counterparts.

Changes in Temperature and CO2 over the past 422,000 years. Data obtained from Vostok ice cores in Antarctica. Credit: NOAA.

Balancing Act: Marine Sediments Reveal Past Carbon Cycle Fluxes

Researchers conducted a study that looks at marine sediment records to investigate sediment weathering patterns over long-term climate cycles. Somewhat surprisingly, it appears the Earth may have a mechanism for balancing variations in weathering during these glacial-interglacial cycles and mediating carbon cycle fluxes.

Junior takes after his mother.

The benefits of warmer parents, and who’s your mama … when you’re a coral

Why some coral can take the heat better than others is in their DNA.

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Notes from the Undergrads: Summer Research Projects in Oceanography (Part II)

Undergraduates from all over the US have come to the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography this summer to pursue research projects in oceanography as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Oceanography (SURFO) program. Learn more about what they’ve been up to in the second part of a two-day series of short […]

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Notes from the Undergrads: Summer Research Projects in Oceanography! (Part I)

Undergraduates from all over the US have come to the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography this summer to pursue research projects in oceanography as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships in Oceanography (SURFO) program. Learn more about what they’ve been up to in their series of short blog posts. We’ll be hearing more about what they’ve learned during the summer in upcoming posts!

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Our Saving Grazers

Think critical ecosystems are threatened by an algal take over? Not so fast, grazers may have something to say about that.

Figure 5 – A loggerhead sea turtle escaping a fishing trawl via a turtle exclusion device

Using Robots to Track Sea Turtles

A new technique using underwater robots may be able to teach us about sea turtle behaviors in the wild.

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What can sea level tell us about long-term climate variability in the Atlantic?

Ocean circulation plays a major role in delivering heat to the subpolar North Atlantic and influence long-term changes in sea surface temperatures. A cleaver use of tidal gauge data shows that we are in for a natural transition to cooler temperatures in the North Atlantic with unfavorable consequences for coastal sea level rise along the US northeastern seaboard.

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An exact replica of a coral reef right in the office!

In order to better understand coral reef complexity and structure researchers developed a cost effective way to 3D print coral reefs. Using these 3D models, researchers were able to dissect the complexity of coral reefs and better understand their intricate growth patterns.

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The ‘Eyes’ Have It: Co-option of organelles led to the evolution of dinoflagellate eyes

The evolution of eyes has been the subject of debate for many years. Recent studies on a group of rare plankton from the northeastern Pacific Ocean propose an evolutionary origin for some of the smallest eyes in the world. In the case of these dinoflagellates, organelles were key in the development of their eyes.

Red Rock Shrimp (Lysmata Californica).  Credit: D.D.Deheyn and M.C.Allen.

Ocean acidification may make “peekaboo” harder for shrimp

What happens to a shrimp’s shell when exposed to more acidic conditions? Read more to find out!

Capitol Hill, the home of Congress.

Lessons Learned during a Congressional Visit Day

In an effort to connect scientists with policy-makers, the American Meteorological Society hosts Congressional Visit Days. This post highlights six “lessons” learned during these unique and important meetings with our local and national policy-makers.

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Marine invertebrates- no backbone just makes them easier to eat.

Invertebrate fisheries are on the rise, invertebrate fishery management needs to rise along with it. This study examines the the impact of fishing invertebrate species on population numbers of animals in the ecosystem.

Figure 1 - Giant Clam

Giant Clams Catch a Giant Break

Most of today’s research into the effects of climate change and ocean acidification is all doom and gloom: this animal and that ecosystem are developmentally challenged as a result of warming temperatures and lowered pH. This new study out of Australia is a rare bit of good news in the field, finding that giant clams (important economically for food and tourism) might escape the worst effects of ocean acidification thanks to their symbiotic bacteria.

Figure 2. The influence of individual oceans on the frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones.  The North Atlantic contributes most strongly to the global trade-off of frequency for intensity of tropical cyclones.

Global Warming Means Mixed News for Hurricanes

Less frequent hurricanes can be expected due to climate change, a surprising finding considering the long list of challenges. Sound too good to be true? Unfortunately, the trade-off can be filed under that list of challenges.

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Tiny plastic pieces accumulate in a huge marine filter-feeder

Scientists find microplastic pieces in the intestines of a baleen whale for the first time.

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