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Zak Kerrigan

Zak Kerrigan has written 9 posts for oceanbites

Marine Protected Areas need more than just a name

It is no secret that the Earth’s oceans are in trouble. Every day there is a new article on rising temperatures, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and species extinction, to name just a few. Luckily, governments are taking notice and policies are being enacted to curb the loss of this delicate, and essential ecosystem. However, deciding to take action does not always guarantee that the necessary measures will follow. Continue reading to see how one team of researchers have quantified the effectiveness of some of these policies, and what needs to happen to ensure they are moving forward.

Hunter-Chiller: Multiple feeding strategies for some of the world’s smallest organisms

Because of their ability to conduct photosynthesis, most of our planet’s oxygen comes from microscopic organisms in the ocean called algae. In addition to photosynthesis, some of these algae can also hunt and consume prey to supplement their energy needs. In this study a group of scientists has set out to determine just how their hunting strategy works, and why each strategy has its own set benefits and drawbacks.

Clamate Change: How clams may be able to cope with a warming world

Global temperatures are increasing at a rate never before seen in Earth’s history. Although efforts to mitigate this are still very important, it is also important to study and understand what is going to happen to the plants and animals that live here. Evidence of climate change already surrounds us, and the more we know, the better prepared we will be to cope with our new environment. In this study, a group of researchers have studied how two species of clams react to a warmer environment to understand the coping mechanisms they use for survival.

Paradise Loss: How humans are impacting coastal reef communities

Humans are drawn to beautiful beaches and warm water, and with us come the conveniences of modern day civilization. While life may be flourishing in the shops, restaurants and luxury hotels, this development is taking its toll on the fragile reef community just off shore. Although reefs may appear healthy to the naked eye, researchers have discovered coastal development impacts their biological diversity, and this may be an indication of more serious, long-term damage.

Polarized: What makes the North Pole the ideal location for Santa and his crew?

Location, location, location. He may not need to be in the best school district, or have an easy commute to work, but Santa still decided to live at the North Pole over the South. While it may seem that both locations are cold, barren, and isolated, there are some fundamental differences that may have affected his decision. Read on to learn some of those differences and wow your friends with science at your holiday party this year!

Microbes: The original organic cleaning agents

Natural and human caused leakage of oil into the environment is commonplace throughout the world. Scientists are learning how microbes (microscopic organisms) can break down this oil and use it for energy. By understanding these processes, we will be able to determine the short and long-term environmental impacts, as well as use these organisms to help us clean up after a major spill.

Germ Stowaways: How Plastic Waste Has Become an Environment for Harmful Bacteria

For over 100 years, plastic has been integrated into our everyday lives. It has been used to make life better for humans in many ways (medical research, food preservation, sterile laboratory devices, etc.). But, as we accumulate more, disposal has become a problem. While plastic waste is a problem in its own right, new research is finding that this waste is capable of harboring harmful bacteria and transporting it over great distances.

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.

Coral Microbiome Health: There’s no probiotic yogurt for that

Coral reefs are essential to the overall health of the planet. Comprised of tiny, individual animals, these massive ecosystems contain as much biological activity as that of human crop production. By studying the microscopic organisms living within these corals, scientists can predict when a reef may be under threat from serious diseases before it is too late, preventing loss of vast stretches of this incredibly important ecosystem.

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