Anne M. Hartwell

Anne M. Hartwell has written 38 posts for oceanbites
photo credit: Anne Hartwell

Glaciers have big league role in silica budget.

Glaciers get a lot of attention because they’re expansive sheets of ice. They’re important to understand because they can impact sea level, circulation, climate, albedo, and they are homes to microbial organisms and large animals. A new reason they are getting attention is their recently realized importance to the global silica budget. Researchers found that melting glaciers deliver enough silica to the surface ocean that their contribution should not be ignored.


Working with the coast

The coast is very dynamic and at the constant mercy of wind and water energy. Often times, humans will try to control the coast by constructing seawalls and groins. Such projects have major impacts on sediment transport that can affect natural ecosystems and recreational beaches. Read here about a group of scientists who sought to quantify just how much of an impact seawall and groin development had on a section of coast in southeast India.

Figure 2: Kavachi Eruption: Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2002: Explorer Ridge. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0a/May_14_Kavachi_eruption.jpg

Sharkcano, a melting pot for biology

No, a Sharkcano is not a volcano that erupts sharks. IT IS WAY COOLER THAN THAT! It is a submarine volcano that hosts a diverse macro community in water that is much warmer and more acidic that the surrounding seawater. Read more to find out about this alien-esc ecosystem in the South Pacific Ocean.

Figure 2: 3D-image of a coral reef in HI presented in a detailed presentation about monitoring the change of a reef area via SfM. The video is  available to watch for free on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/140017194

Ocean mapping on a budget

The seafloor is complex and mapping it is difficult because direct observations are hindered because it is underwater. Scientists have developed field methods and remote sensing methods to model the geomorphology of the seafloor but they are either limited spatially or by resolution. A newer method being applied to seafloor mapping is called Structure from Motion, and its low cost and high resolution may play a big role in future projects regarding ocean exploration. Read more to find out how scientists used it to increase the accuracy of rugosity measurements on a Hawaiian coral reef.

Figure 1: H. trimaculatus (source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hippocampus_trimaculatus,_Osezaki.jpg)

From Wastewater to Seahorses to the Medicine Cabinet

Pollution of metals could be getting into the tissue of seahorses–the very tissues that are used to make a special Chinese medicine. Now scientists fear that the metal pollutants could harm the patients who take the medicine. Read more to find out what they learned about the accumulation of metals in seahorse tissues.


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.

Figure 1: Octopus is a common fishery catch. https://www.flickr.com/photos/azchael/16622957352

Unsuccessful Octo-cultures

Have you ever tried to farm something and had it not work? That is a definite trend for famers trying to culture octopuses. In this study scientists used wild Octopus vulgaris paralarvae as a blue print for what they should expect in farm cultures. Their findings are helpful for determining better ways for successful octopus aquacultures.

Orca (Killer) Whales breaching the surface source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale

Killer whale pods: hunting dynamics

Killer whale pods spend almost all of their time together, with the exception of when they hunt. Why are they not social when they hunt? Could it be to ensure the survival of the newest and weakest pod members? Is it related to food availability? It is related to food preference? It is just a factor of physical abilities? Read more to find out what scientist have learned so far!

Figure 2: Octopus maya. (Photo: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México) http://fis.com/fis/worldnews/worldnews.asp?l=e&id=63647&ndb=1

Cool Fact! Octopuses spawn with ease when temperatures are lower

Octopuses in the YP may experience temperature changes that do not bode well for reproduction. At what point will the influence of temperature be enough to inhibit the octopus population from growing? Consequences could be tough for octopus fisheries in the area. Read about how temperature stress that a mother experiences can influence her offsprings ability to cope.


Why Mom Cares.

Does mom care? If you are a skink from the wrong neighborhood she might, otherwise, you are on your own kid. Read about the evolution of paternal care traits in one skink population that is not observed in the others!

Figure 2: intricate root system https-//pixabay.com/en/mangrove-philippines-trees-nature-1227352/

Room to Grow

When natural ecosystems are destroyed from anthropogenic development there exists a common notion that a replacement can be replanted somewhere else. One has to wonder though; what if the ecosystem destroyed cannot be replaced into the same role it once had. Scientists investigate if planted mangroves in the Philippines change the natural mangrove areas surrounding the restoration area, and to determine if there are differences in species diversity between planted and natural systems.

Walrus whiskers

What’s up with Whiskers?

Whiskers are like finger tips for flipper-footed marine mammals, like seals, sea lions, and walruses. Learn more about how pinnipeds use their whiskers to track prey, and discriminate between different objects by size, shape, and surface structure.

from google images

Fueling Science with Science (& hydrothermal fluid)

Wouldn’t it be wicked cool if scientists could overcome the obstacle of power limitation by plugging their instruments directly into the sea floor? Now they can by using thermoelectric converters to take advantage of the Seebeck effect at hydrothermal vent fields!


Online Ocean Exploration

Anybody can explore the ocean as long as they can access the internet. Just because you can not be at sea does not mean you can not explore it! Learn more on how to explore the ocean through resources available at your fingertips!

Mono Lake Tufa, a carbonate deposit; 
source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tufa#/media/File:Mono_Lake_Tufa.JPGsource:

Evaporating History

More is better, especially when it comes to dissecting the past. A single proxy may be sensitive to various factors that make it difficult to distinguish their history. However, when multiple proxies are paired it enables scientists to constrain their interpretations to be more accurate. For example, the co-variation of oxygen and carbon isotopic signatures due to evaporation has proven to be important when interpreting paleo-hydrologic cycles.

borrowed from: https://dotmsrstaging.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/uploads/uploads/1264031072408387500.jpg

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.


Making potable water safe for the seafloor

SWRO desalinization is a great way to get potable water. Unfortunately its production results in a high salinity low nutrient discharge that impacts the benthic communities. This study shows how a simple mitigation effort can reverse damage from discharge in just months!


How a whole reef community’s response to OA is impacted by the individual responses of different players

Researchers from California used a unique ex situ experiment to monitor two near identical reef communities in different concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide to observe the unique responses of community members and their roles in the whole community response.


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.

Parrotfish produce sediment for island reefs as a by-product of grazing

There is a need for healthy parrotfish to maintain the reef islands

When you think of sediment erosion and island building physical processes and volcanism may come to mind. Well, you may be pleased to learn that fish build islands too, and get this- they do it with material they erode! However, the eco-geological relationship of island formation and sustainability with biology is not well quantified. This paper discusses research from the Maldives that is directed at quantifying the amount of sediment produced by parrotfish and Halimeda, and how it influences the maintenance of reef islands.

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