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Archive for August, 2015

Feeling the heat: how do plankton respond to glacial melting?

The current, and sometimes rapid melting of glaciers and ice sheets is a direct consequence of climate change. Glacial melting on land can leave behind newly formed ice-contact lakes, which are prevalent around the world. These lakes contain high levels of mineral particles, as well as previously trapped inorganic and organic nutrients carried by glacial meltwater. What are the chances of survival for plankton in this type of environment?

Science at Sea

There are many steps in the scientific process before a paper is actually published and results are shared with the public. One of the first steps in this process is collecting samples. For a lot of the research discussed here at oceanbites.org, scientists must go out to sea on a research cruise to conduct their science and get those precious samples. Read on for an inside look into how some of this science is actually done at sea!

Highlights from the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America

Happy 100th Birthday to the Ecological Society of America! We celebrated your history and the promise of your future during the ESA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD from August 9-14. We took over the Baltimore Convention Center and got lots of exercise moving from room to room in our attempts to absorb as much as we could! Check out the marine highlights!

Small ocean currents can make a big difference in population connectivity

Marine population connectivity studies that reveal unexpected dispersal limitation have in the past attributed this pattern to “chaotic genetic patchiness”. In other words: “we don’t know exactly why it’s like this!” This study discusses how understanding ocean currents in detail can help explain dispersal limitation, clarifying metapopulation characteristics for both scientists and managers.

Philosopher cephalopod: the octopus genome reveals the origin of its intellect

The octopus genome sheds light on the strange intelligence of a mysterious creature.

Climate Transgressions and Barrier Islands

Barrier Islands support local economies, residents, tourism, fragile environments, and sometimes valuable resources. Yet, they are extremely susceptible to storms and sea level change. A new study examines the past 12,000 years in sediments to try to understand how these coastal landforms may be affected in the future.

What is the source of organic molecules in Von Damm vent fluids?

The origin of life is with out a doubt a fascinating topic of discussion and debate, intensified by the fact that there is no definitive answer (yet). A group of WHOI scientists present a mechanism and environment where organic compounds can be formed from inorganic ones via abiotic production. The plausibility of their suggestion is strengthened by the present day occurrence of said mechanisms in hot spreading centers where ocean plates are formed at the bottom of the ocean.

Science Says Fish Should Stay in School!

Is it cool for fish to stay in a school? Many do, but why? Avoiding predators is one reason, but scientists debate on whether fish gain an energetic advantage of easier swimming when in a group. New research published in Fish and Fisheries uses advanced technology to test old and new theories of hydrodynamics and fish schooling, with some surprising results.

Corals better learn to keep up or they may drown!

The coral reefs protecting many islands in the Pacific need to grow quickly in order to keep up with the rising sea levels and increasing ocean temperatures. As of now, researchers are optimistic that some species of corals are up to this challenge, but that relies on the rate of sea level rise.

The Science Behind the Male Sea Sapphire’s Flash Dance & Disappearing Act

Male sea sapphires have the ability to flash brilliant colours, then seem to disappear. Read more about the science behind this incredible adaptation!

CSI Holocene: Who started the fire?

Sediment and ice cores suggest that peaks in fire activity that happened 2,500 years ago in Europe was likely caused by early humans applying the slash and burn technique to clear away forests. This demonstrates that the anthropogenic carbon footprint dates back further than the Industrial Revolution.

Fear and Floating in the Atlantic

Does fear of predation alter sea turtle behavior? Researchers put an ecological model to the test by using large-scale movement patterns of sharks and sea turtles and found something unexpected.

Beyond the shell: What are hermit crabs really after?

A favorite activity for beachgoers is to comb the sand and tide pools for marine life, and one of the most familiar tide pool animals is the hermit crab. Kids and parents alike love to find them out on the rocks, but how much do we really know about them? This article explores the important ecological role that hermit crabs play in tide pool ecosystems.

Sex and parasitism on the open sea and in a fish’s mouth.

Parisites live in fish mouths and undergo opportunistic sex changes.

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