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Archive for November, 2015

Plankton are eating plastic!

Zooplankton, the tiny animals that make up the base of marine food webs, are ingesting microplastics. Given the widespread abundance of microplastics in the ocean, this finding could have serious ramifications for zooplankton and their predators. Sean AndersonI am a first year MS candidate at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography. I […]

Oil spill first responders: how tiny algae cultivate oil-degrading bacteria

After an oil spill, millions of oil-degrading bacteria are on the scene almost immediately. But how do they survive in regions with no oil pollution? A new study shows that tiny cyanobacteria produce enough oil to maintain a small population of oil-degraders, capable of rapidly multiplying in response to the sudden influx of oil from […]

KaBLOOM! How do volcanic eruptions stimulate plankton growth and fish production?

Article: Kearney, K.A., D. Tommasi, and C. Stock. 2015. Simulated ecosystem response to volcanic iron fertilization in the subarctic Pacific ocean. Fisheries Oceanography 24(5): 395-413. doi:10.1111/fog.12118. Background Phytoplankton are the base of many marine food webs, and thus their success can often dictate that of higher food chain organisms, such as zooplankton and fish populations. […]

Small boats drowning out natural reef noise?

Don’t you hate when noises interfere with your daily activities and conversations? We create lots of noise in the environment and need to know more about it. Today’s oceanbites focuses on a study of man-made noise on coral reefs. Check it out! Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and […]

Always follow your gut, or in this case, follow the fish guts

Following the guts of fish species is sometimes the best way to track small, mobile crustacean prey. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science PhD I am working on how to tank raise urchins and transplant them onto reefs across the Florida Keys in order to help reverse the phase shift from algae dominated back […]

If it you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kelp forest!

Kelp is a kind of algae that supports diverse ecosystems in the nearshore ocean. As the climate and ocean warms, however, these kelp could begin to die off. How, when, and why the kelp die has important consequences for species diversity that will affect ecosystem and fisheries management. Eric OrensteinEric is a PhD student at […]

Stressed-Out Oysters: Molecular Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety

Oysters live a life of constant stress in the ever-changing intertidal habitat. In order to deal with extreme variation in temperature, salinity, water availability, and pollution, these animals have greatly expanded their stress response system, including heat shock proteins and antioxidant enzymes. Dina NavonI am a doctoral candidate in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology program […]

Oil spills leave a deadly legacy

This study shows that after several days of exposure to oil-contaminated water, coral larvae survival isn’t reduced very much (hooray!). Unfortunately, this study also shows that this is hardly the whole story (oh, boo…). Post-exposure effects were much more severe than those exhibited during exposure, reminding us that the environment responds to human disturbances in […]

Comparing all the ecosystems ever reveals cool patterns about their structure

Who’d guess that if you took the data from >2000 ecosystem studies and smashed them all together there’d be some interesting information in there somewhere? It turns out general relationships between individuals’ size and metabolism are reflected on the ecosystem level as well, across a huge span of marine and terrestrial life. caelCael was once […]

Rapid changes in the Southern Ocean threaten ecosystems

Rapid acidification of the Southern Ocean could occur in the next 30 years with potentially huge impacts to local ecosystems. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla California. My research is focused on the Southern Ocean circulation and it’s role in climate. For my research I sometimes spend months […]

Some Like it Hot: Ocean Heat Content and Fish Migrations

Can a new way of looking at ocean temperatures help determine where fish like to hang out? Austen BlairAusten Blair is a MS candidate at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. While his current research focuses on the influences of wave fields in a hurricane-wave-ocean model, he enjoys the many interdisciplinary opportunities […]

Wanderings through the Western Society of Naturalists

Takeaways and notes from Sacramento and a jam-packed Western Society of Naturalists meeting! Gordon OberPostdoctoral Researcher, Claremont McKenna College I am currently a postdoc at Keck Sciences, Claremont McKenna College. I work with Dr. Sarah Gilman, measuring and modeling energy budgets in intertidal species. I am a climate scientist and marine community ecologist and my […]

Beyond the Science (Part 2): Sci-Com, Media, and Policy at GSA

I attended the annual meeting for the Geological Society of America as a first-timer, joining scientists, educators, policy-makers, industry buffs, and students from the international community at the second-largest geology conference in the United States. I had attended a geology conference before, but I had not been involved to the extent that I was at […]

More bad news for marine ecosystems (courtesy carbon dioxide)

Carbon dioxide emissions are bad for marine ecosystems, and maybe even worse than we think. Abrahim El GamalAbrahim is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he studies marine chemical biology.

Mercury at elevated levels observed in only some elephant seals, but why?

Mercury: we know it from old-school thermometers and we know if from sushi; and now we know that the distribution in the ocean is reflected in the blood of northern elephant seals. N.B. No elephant seals were harmed during this research. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a marine research […]

Young sharks might assess habitats differently than first assumed

What if prey abundance and fewer predators are not the only things driving young sharks to seek out coastal areas as they grow older? What if it is something in the water itself? Click here to find out how abiotic factors could aid in sharks’ habitat selection choice. Andrea SchlunkI am a former PhD student […]

Cohos in Dirty Water: Salmon and Pollution

Coho salmon are one of the six species of Pacific salmon. They can be found from California to Alaska, but from California to Oregon their populations are in bad shape. A new study in Applied Ecology tries to determine if pollution from urban runoff may be partly to blame. Derrick AlcottDerrick is pursuing a Ph.D. […]

Get ready for some “extremely” wet and warm days! (Maybe)

Recently, a lot of research has been focused on predicting average winter temperature and rainfall in the U.S. during El Niño years, but it’s the extreme events that are the biggest risks to our society and economy. This work presents the first look at how the geographic center of an El Niño influences the likelihood […]

Northern Atlantic cod make an epic comeback

The collapse of Northern Atlantic cod was the textbook example of how overfishing can lead to a population crash. Decades after a moratorium was established, the cod are finally making a recovery. Find out why! Megan ChenI graduated with a Masters of Coastal & Marine Management from the University of Akureyri in Iceland, and am […]

Beyond the Science: Networking at the Geological Society of America Conference

Most scientists go to conferences to present their work and to share and learn about new scientific findings and methods, but there is so much more to conferences! This post will highlight a small handful of activities, networking events, and presentations from the first day of the Geological Society of America meeting that go beyond […]

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