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Archive for August, 2019

Lights, Camera, Action! Photography as a tool for observing environmental change

Observing long-term trends in the environment can be a daunting task. Here, scientists used settlement panels to observe community compositional changes in San Francisco Bay (SF Bay). Over a 5-year period, they deployed 500 panels across ten sites in the SF Bay region. An exciting part about this project was the use of citizen scientists […]

Does ocean circulation provide prey for a top ocean predator?

Ocean circulation patterns are generally thought to move water from one area to another in the world’s oceans. One example of this includes eddies, swirling water masses that spin off from major ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream off the coast of the eastern U.S. Some of these eddies can bring more productive waters […]

Feces as Food

Urchins and bacteria, working together to link pelagic and benthic ecosystems.

Are you jelly? Citizen scientists find jellyfish to help sea turtles

The largest leatherback ever recorded weighed 2,019 pounds, and yet this behemoth lives on a diet composed almost entirely of jelly – gelatinous zooplankton that is. These endangered sea turtles travel up to the Atlantic Canadian coast during the summer in search of a tasty treat. In order to better understand the link between jellyfish […]

Sex Change 101: it Starts in the Brain

With human puberty seemingly beginning earlier and earlier, have you ever wondered what triggered sexual development? Dodd et al., studied just that by examining development in clownfish. Brandy BiggarI am a 2nd year Master’s student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I am researching the highly invasive species the European green crab, and the impact […]

Antarctic phytoplankton blooms linked to seafloor topography

A recent study uses observations from robotic floats to examine phytoplankton blooms in the Southern Ocean. The data show that biological productivity is closely linked to seafloor topography. This is because currents flowing over seamounts cause enhanced mixing that delivers nutrients to the sunlit upper ocean where phytoplankton grow. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD […]

Are dolphins losing their minds in blooming ocean waters?

Polluted water is a great source of food for harmful algal blooms, which release even more toxins into the water. And now scientists say that algal blooms may give dolphins Alzheimer’s disease-like brain damage. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders […]

Same-Sex Squid Sex

Same-sex sexual behavior exists across a wide range of animals, but the behavior has long puzzled scientists because of the apparent paradox of mating behavior that does not produce offspring. What is the adaptive value of same-sex mating and what are the different reasons it has evolved in so many species? A recent paper describes […]

Skin that Sees: Evolution and Mechanism of Phototaxis in Sea Snake Tails

Researchers have discovered light sensing abilities in the tails of sea snakes. This unique adaptation in one genus of snakes may allow them to sense and respond to impending danger. Crowe-Riddell, J. M., Simões, B. F., Partridge, J. C., Hunt, D. M., Delean, S., Schwerdt, J. G., … Sanders, K. L. (2019). Phototactic tails: Evolution and […]

The HyperDiver: A New, (Hyper-) Intelligent Way to Map the Ocean

Coral reefs are facing unprecedented change. A new high-tech, diver-operated imaging system promises to be the future of coral reef monitoring. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some engineering), and […]

On the case: Scientists use many sources to find the culprit in kelp disappearance

The extensive decline of the Great Barrier Reef has received a lot of press attention in recent years, yet reefs aren’t the only down-under ecosystem struggling. In a recent paper in Estuaries and Coasts, researchers Carnell and Keough from the University of Melbourne and Deakin University have reported an equally alarming decline in kelp forests […]

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