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.
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 a spill. This short term oil cycle sustains a first line of defense against catastrophic ecological damage from spills.
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. […]
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!
Following the guts of fish species is sometimes the best way to track small, mobile crustacean prey.
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.
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.
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 some really tricky ways.
Rapid acidification of the Southern Ocean could occur in the next 30 years with potentially huge impacts to local ecosystems.
Can a new way of looking at ocean temperatures help determine where fish like to hang out?
Takeaways and notes from Sacramento and a jam-packed Western Society of Naturalists meeting!
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 GSA. The conference provided me with so much more than just a platform to speak to a wide audience.
Carbon dioxide emissions are bad for marine ecosystems, and maybe even worse than we think.
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.
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.
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.
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 of extreme climate events in the United States.
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!
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 academic science.