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Zak Kerrigan

Zak Kerrigan has written 14 posts for oceanbites

Pteropods are Ptough: How one of the ocean’s most fragile creatures may cope with climate change

Climate change, due to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning, is arguably the most important issue facing our planet. One of the most detrimental changes already in progress is the shifting pH of the world’s oceans, known as ocean acidification. Although the speed with which the planet is changing does not […]

Snowmageddon: A lighthearted start to Marine Snow theme week

While the term “marine snow” may conjure images of an aquatic winter wonderland, some aspects of this phenomenon may not inspire a Bing Crosby song. Marine snow is responsible for transporting many of the nutrients found in the surface, sunlit waters of the ocean to depths where it becomes a significant food and nutrient source […]

Solstice Strategies for Survival: Yule be amazed!

Winter blues got ya down? For some organisms on our planet, the shortened days may influence their very survival. On this, the shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere, read on to find out how one type of tiny marine algae cope with the low-light conditions, and may even thrive compared to their […]

Growing a Scientist: Undergraduate Research 2017

Each summer, the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) hosts undergraduate students from all over the country to participate in oceanographic research. These Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURFOs) have not only been working with GSO scientists, but they have spent part of their time learning how to communicate this science to the […]

The Molecular Industrial Complex: What shrimp exoskeleton formation can tell us about life’s building strategy

Have you ever wondered just how our bodies know to repair damaged skin or build muscle after an intense workout? Without even thinking about it, these processes are carried out behind the scenes while we go about our lives. Read further to see how a team of scientists have used the lifecycle of the mighty […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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