Archive for September, 2016

Caption: The graph above shows signals (peaks) produced when PAHs are related compounds are detected using a gas-chromatograph/mass spectrometer (GC/MS). The red line shows the peaks found when researchers only looked for 64 known PAHs, and the blue line also includes all of the related compounds in the sample that the researchers didn’t specifically target. Source: Gonzalez-Gaya et al., Nature Geoscience 2016.

Beyond CO2: Chemical Consequences of Our Love Affair with Fossil Fuels

Our world relies heavily on the burning of biological materials such as wood or fossil fuels to harness energy. While we all know that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a harmful byproduct of burning fuel, it’s not the only chemical formed during this process. These chemical byproducts may play a bigger and more complex role in the chemistry of our world than we had previously thought. In this study, researchers traveled the world collecting air and water samples from three different ocean basins to learn more about the unknown chemical consequences of burning fossil fuels on a massive scale.

Microplastics in combination with an antibiotic can significantly impact some species of fish, according to new research from Portuguese researchers. Credit: Sea Education Association

Finding Nemo was right: what you flush down the drain can impact ocean creatures

Microplastics + pharmaceuticals in your pee + increased temperatures = trouble for some fish

Figure 1: Manta rays are gentle giants that filter feed on tiny zooplankton. Image from strangebehaviors.wordpress.com

The Manta in the Mirror: Are Manta Rays Self-Aware?

Fish are not typically thought of as the most intelligent animals. Yet, new research on manta rays may revolutionize the way we think about how some fish grasp difficult concepts like self-awareness. Read on to see how.

Figure 2: Picture of French Grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum) originally by Albert Kok. Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons

Grunts and Gnathiids: One Fish’s Daily Migration to Escape Parasites?

Animals move for a number of reasons. The French grunt leaves the coral reefs at night for seagrass. A group of scientists proposes and provides good evidence for why they might do that! Read on to discover whether they’re leaving to avoid being parasitized?

Cuttlefish (Source: Zak Kerrigan)

Count On It: Cuttlefish Risk Management

As any gambler will tell you, the higher the financial risk, the larger the potential reward. As it turns out, the hungrier we get, the higher risks we’re willing to take, and this characteristic transfers over to other members of the animal kingdom. In this study, we look at how cuttlefish make decisions about attacking prey based on their level of hunger and the risk they are willing to accept when the reward is that much sweeter.

Figure 1: These larval lobsters (phyllosomas) hitch a ride on these jellies, taking nutrients and protection as they go. © Marty Snyderman. Source: http://www.alertdiver.com/Shooter_Snyderman

Lobster Poop: Way More Interesting Than You’ve Ever Imagined

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never ever given any thought to lobsters and their poop. In contrast, the researchers who wrote this study have thought way too much about lobster poop; read on to find out what they discovered!

Figure 1: The Pacific geoduck (Panopea generosa) is a popular bivalve beloved by many seafood connoisseurs. Its edible popularity has spawned a huge aquaculture business in the Pacific coast. Credit: Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/viucsr/6926921010

Cascading Effects From Geoduck Expansions

An ecosystem model predicts how the Puget Sound ecosystem could be affected as the popular geoduck aquaculture industry increases. Including mediating affects, such as changes in predator refuges, allowed ecosystem-wide changes to be uncovered. For example, a decrease in seabirds was predicted due to shifts in prey populations resulting from the anti-predation guards for geoducks.


Dangerous Toxins Threaten Aquaculture on a Global Scale

Mycotoxins in fish feed threaten the health of fish, consumers, and the aquaculture market. The more we learn and understand about these toxins, the more effective regulations can be. Read more to find out how complicated mycotoxin science can be, and how its complexity plays into setting safety standards.


How is the changing diet of farmed Atlantic salmon affecting their nutritional value?

We eat oily fish to get the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. However, the level of omega-3s in farmed salmon is changing. How does this stack up to wild-caught salmon? Read more to find out!

First-generation hatchery-reared fish have been released since 1992 to boost the threatened Hood River, OR steelhead population. Photo modified from Oregon State University @ Flickr.

Pet trout: domestication rapidly alters gene expression

The impact of domestication can be detected within one generation in steelhead trout, and may involve adaptation to highly crowded conditions.

Nile tilapia (nwtilapia.com)

What to feed a fish

Stocks of small ocean-caught fish that are used to make fish feed for aquaculture are at risk of overexploitation. New research shows that farmed tilapia thrive on a diet where 100% of the fish oil in their feed is replaced with microalgae. This is an important step on the road to more sustainable aquaculture practices.

Los dialectos de delfines: ¿La primera evidencia de lenguaje hablado en los cetáceos?

Translated by Sandra Schleier, Original Post by GORDON OBER ⋅ Articulo: Ryabov, Vyacheslav A. “The study of acoustic signals and the supposed spoken language of the dolphins.” St. Petersburg Polytechnical University Journal: Physics and Mathematics (2016). Trasfondo: Los delfines son animales muy inteligentes, de eso no hay duda. Ellos pueden resolver problemas, usan herramientas (Fig. 1), desarrollan nuevos […]

#globalwarming #itsbettertogether

Speed dating: how finding that special symbiosis saved some coral from climate change

Choosing the right symbiont might be a coral’s ticket to cheating global warming.

Fig. 3: Dolphins are highly social animals. Do they use language like humans do?

Dolphin Dialects: first evidence of spoken language in cetaceans?

We all know dolphins are intelligent creatures that communicate with one another, but a recent study has analyzed dolphin sounds finding evidence of actual human-like, structured conversation. Their chats are full of complex sounds and frequencies, akin to words and sentences. In addition, dolphins appear to have a politeness edge on humans as they were observed to pause and hear out others, rather than interrupting with their own sounds!


Survey! October Theme Week

We, the Oceanbites writers, want to write for you! Let us know what you’re interested in reading about for a whole month in October! If you have any other suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments below! Thank you!


Ancient swimmers: Greenland sharks live for centuries

Using radiocarbon dating, scientists have discovered that the Greenland shark can live longer than any other known vertebrate. How long have some of these individuals been alive?

Figure 1(a): Plate tectonic reconstruction of the Tethys realm at 249 Ma. A rift forms off the north coast of South Pangea (Gondwana) and piece of continental shelf (Cimmera) moves north, pushing up the Paleo-Tethys ocean and creating the Neo-Tethys. (b) Plate tectonic reconstruction of the Tethys realm at 100 Ma. The Neo-Tethys is present where the Paleo-Tethys once was, and Gondwana has started to break apart into recognizable continents.

Mediterranean Magnetism shows Ancient Oceanic Crust

Compared to the continents, oceanic crust is relatively young, less than 200 million years. But in a corner of the Mediterranean Sea, a remnant of the ancient Neo-Tethys Ocean lurks from the time of Pangaea.


Why the Southern Ocean is getting less salty

The Southern Ocean has been getting less salty for decades, and scientists have finally proved that sea-ice is responsible for the extra fresh water in the ocean.


The physics of tiny jellyfish hunting

Tiny jellyfish live, swim, and eat in a viscous environment. How they capture their food is something of a mystery. A University of Oregon group took advantage of several fancy imaging techniques to shed some light on the matter.

Fig. 3 Photos showing D. perlucidum  growing on seagrass, a navigational marker and substrate. Source: Simpson et al. 2016.

Seagrass Invasion! Tunicates colonizing seagrass beds impact plant and animal community

Seagrass habitats worldwide are in decline due to a number of factors. What happens when an invasive species comes on the scene to add to the stressors affecting seagrasses?

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