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Behavior

This category contains 106 posts
A grey, striped shark rests on the seafloor.

One Fish, Two Fish, Climate Change, Who Lives?

There is variation within species, and this variation can lead to some individuals surviving better in the face of environmental change. But it is difficult to predict how animals will respond to an environment that is changing faster than they can evolve. Luckily, some scientists found a clever way to study how individuals might respond […]

Cuttlefish Cognition: are these oceanic invertebrates capable of learning?

The science of animal behavior has become more focused on figuring out the intellectual capacity of non-human, and particularly non-mammalian, animals in recent years. Cuttlefish have now taken the spotlight, and in a recent study, scientists ask the question: can these small marine animals learn, and make decisions based on past experiences? Francesca GiammonaI am […]

Whistle While you Work (for Lunch): Dolphin Communication Techniques During Foraging

Dolphin groups, or pods, need every member working together to communicate and find food. To do this, dolphins whistle to each other. But when humans, and their boats, are in a pods’ natural territory, do dolphins have to change their whistling and feeding behavior in order to successfully chow down? Francesca GiammonaI am a PhD […]

Surprising fin whale songs in Hawaii

After sifting through thousands of hours of recordings, a team of naval researchers is bringing the previously hidden complexities of fin whale song to light. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying marine mammal communication. My research focuses on analyzing underwater recordings of whale calls in order to better understand whale behavior. […]

Surf’s Up: Suckerfish Have a Whale of a Time

Remoras use the powerful suctioning organ on their heads to attach to different animals. For the first time scientists reveal how remoras surf blue whales, which could inspire new technology. Elena GadoutsisI have always been happiest in nature – exploring forests, traveling to the ocean, or working with wildlife. After obtaining my MSc in Marine Environmental […]

An up-close view of a great white shark's head.

Peek-a-Boo, I See You and My Food Too

Imagine yourself floating in a metal cage off the side of a boat. You are waiting to see something rare, exciting, and in all reality dangerous if proper precautions are not used. Then you see it, a dark gray dorsal fin breaking the surface of the water. One of the ocean’s apex predators, a great […]

Crash Compilation #1: A review of vessel collisions with marine animals

As more people take to the seas, either for recreation or trade, sea life encounters have also increased. These encounters can be awe-inspiring, but they can also be dangerous—both for the animals in the water and the people aboard the ships. Click here to read more about the challenges of assessing and preventing boat strikes, […]

Is Noise Pollution Causing Marine Mammals to Starve?

Noise surrounds our daily lives, and the oceans are no exception. Sonar is used by the Navy and oil industry, and the waves travel under the ocean’s surface. How does sonar impact marine mammals? Read on to find out how scientists are studying the consequences of sonar testing on the swimming behavior of dolphins and […]

Red Light, Green Light… Squid Light?

It’s spooky season! And what better way to celebrate than learning about the creatures of the deep? This recent paper illuminates the way the Humboldt squid communicate in the deep sea darkness. Ashley MickensI recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Earth Science and Sustainability from Miami University of Ohio, and I’m currently working as […]

Bowhead Whales Threatened by a ‘Killer’

The Arctic is experiencing dramatic changes in sea ice. How will this warming affect the marine life? Scientists find there may be an increasing threat to the already endangered bowhead whale. What it is may surprise you. Elena GadoutsisI have always been happiest in nature – exploring forests, traveling to the ocean, or working with […]

Homing in on a hammerhead’s range

Over the decades, many shark species have become endangered. In an effort to save these fishes, humans have set up “safe zones” where the sharks are less likely caught by fishing vessels. But do we know if these zones match with the sharks’ natural stomping grounds? Andrea SchlunkI am a former PhD student from the […]

Where’s that accent from? Dolphins from different seas talk in different whistles

Dolphins talk to each other by whistling, but whistle sounds vary between seas. What causes those differences in dolphin accents? Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders called axolotls. In my free time, I like to read science fiction, bake, go […]

Whisk-y Business: How Insights from Whisker Anatomy Can Expand Our Knowledge of Seal Behavior (Guest Post by Aubree Jones)

This is a guest post by Aubree Jones. Aubree is working towards her PhD at the University of Rhode Island. She studies how animals use their sensory systems to interact with their environment. She grew up in Oklahoma, where she learned to love the aquatic environment fishing with her dad. It’s no wonder that even […]

A boat pulled out f the water and standing on land exposing the propellers and hull which are covered in various fouling organisms.

Too Slick to Stick

Have you ever walked down a dock to look at the boats? How about under the boat? The sides? Chances are you’ve probably seen a few things growing on the boat wherever it is submerged underwater such as barnacles or algae. This is known as biofouling, the unwanted accumulation of plants and animals on a […]

Shark Smarts: Can associative learning change shark behavior?

We all know that sharks are excellent hunters, but can the instinctual predatory mind of one of the ocean’s apex predators be influenced by the fishing actions of humans? Can sharks learn to feed differently based on human presence? Francesca GiammonaI am a PhD candidate at Wake Forest University, and I received a B.S. in […]

The view from a sperm whale’s nose

What happens if you place a microphone on the tip of a sperm whale’s nose? Putting anything on the nose of a 50-foot (15-meter) giant is no easy task, but the reward is a glimpse of how the world’s largest toothed predator sees the world. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying […]

How does an octopus decide what to eat?

Under the sea, octopuses spend a lot of time hunting their dinner. Their choice of prey ranges from clams to crabs to fish. When picking from this extensive menu, do octopuses care more what the food looks like or what it smells like? Scientists now have an answer. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at […]

Chuffing is an explosive exhalation that is the equivalent to when a person sneezes or coughs.

Sneeze, Cough, Chuff: Respiratory Irritation in Dolphins

We all know what it’s like to get sick and have that irritating cough that just doesn’t seem to go away. Well, what about when you’re a marine mammal that doesn’t breathe through a mouth? Dolphins breathe air through their blowhole which is located on the top of their head. What is interesting though is […]

Life of the Party: Dolphin Personalities and Social Structures

Are you more of a life of the party type person or a wallflower reserved type? Did you ever think that non-human animals, like dolphins, might have similar personality differences? This scientist takes a look at wild bottlenose dolphin populations and why their personality characteristics are important. Elena GadoutsisI have always been happiest in nature […]

Making Animals Comfortable In Their (Marine) Skin

The future of marine animal tracking could be a new flexible, stretchable, and ultra-lightweight technology called the “Marine Skin”. 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 my academic […]

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