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Behavior

This category contains 97 posts

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 didn’t take the typical marine biologist path. I started my career as a nurse working from […]

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 didn’t take the typical marine biologist […]

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 […]

Sounds, Stress, and Stingrays

Have you ever wondered if stingrays can hear noise? Sharks, skates, and rays have multiple sensory organs to help then navigate their environment and hunt for food; for example, jelly-filled pores on their body allow them to sense electric fields in the water. However, less is known about how well these animals can hear. The […]

Fat Burning Mode: How one fish survives out of water

Water and air are very different environments. How can a fish with a body built for the water spend time on land when it can’t effectively eat or use its gills? The answer lies with the fish’s ability to alter its metabolism. Francesca GiammonaI am a PhD candidate at Wake Forest University, and I received […]

A game of shark and ray: Rays act differently when sharks are around

As our oceans change, we don’t really know what the current decline of sharks means for stingrays, or for the coral reefs where they both live. Scientists at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science want to find out. Kristin HuizengaI am a PhD student studying Biological Oceanography at the University of […]

Minke Boings: A 50-year mystery and the science of listening in the ocean

Whale sounds are weird and fascinating, but for a long time scientists weren’t even sure that whales made sounds. The history of the study of sounds made by marine animals starts with naval submarine recordings, World War II, and mysterious sounds like the minke boing. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying […]

Changing Oceans May Confuse Critically Endangered European Eels

As humanity’s carbon emissions continue to heat and acidify the world’s oceans, many marine species and ecosystems face daunting new challenges for survival. Sierra GarciaSierra is a master’s student in Stanford University’s Earth Systems department studying science and environmental communication. Her bachelors degree was also in Earth Systems, with an emphasis on oceans and climate, […]

Octopuses can learn from an iPad too

As many universities are moving this semester’s coursework online, some may be wondering if learning from a screen is really that efficient. It turns out that it works pretty well – at least for octopuses. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water […]

A round of underwater applause: Scientists record gray seals clapping underwater

How do you get someone else’s attention underwater? It turns out some seals may clap their flippers together the same way humans clap their hands. Marine animals make incredible sounds underwater, from the songs of humpback whales to the pops of snapping shrimp and the grunts of fish, and now we may hear the sounds […]

Deadly neurotoxin may help de-stress pufferfish

The flesh of many pufferfish is laced with a deadly neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin. This toxin successfully wards off pufferfish predators, but tetrodotoxin may also serve a more innocuous purpose: relieving stress. Do not try this at home. Ashley MarranzinoI received my Master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island where I studied the sensory biology […]

Mazes aren’t just for mice: European shore crabs exhibit spatial learning

Mazes aren’t just for mice, although a scientific literature search for maze learning might lead you to think so. In a recent study, scientists investigate crab performance in a complex maze and propose that European shore crabs exhibit spatial learning and memory, potentially tied to their need to find food along the complicated, three-dimensional seafloor. […]

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