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Biochemistry

This category contains 22 posts

Antarctic Eddies Suck Carbon from the Atmosphere

A recent study from researchers at the University of Tasmania investigates the relationship between ocean eddies and phytoplankton growth in the Southern Ocean using satellite data. The results can help us understand and predict how the ocean’s ability to regulate climate might change in the future. Channing PrendI’m a physical oceanography PhD student at Scripps […]

Venomous sea anemones “pick their poison” depending on their life stage

Many scientists are interested in studying venom for medicinal properties. A fascinating finding from a new study involving the starlet sea anemone (Nematostella vectensis) shows that we can’t just look in the right place, we also have to look at the right time. Megan ChenI graduated with a Masters of Coastal & Marine Management from […]

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 […]

Metal fingerprints enhance recycling

The bioaccumulation of bioactive metals in top predators plays a key role in the recycling of nutrients in HNLC zones of the Southern Ocean. Furthermore, the concentration of bioactive metals can be used as a ‘fingerprint’ to identify the appropriate trophic level of a species. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, […]

The Entire Ocean in a Drop

Article: Stoeckle MY, Soboleva L, Charlop- Powers Z (2017) Aquatic environmental DNA detects seasonal fish abundance and habitat preference in an urban estuary. PLoS ONE 12(4): e0175186 Effectively managing fish populations requires accurate and timely monitoring data. Scientists and environmental managers need to know when (presence/absence data), where (location data), and how many fish (abundance […]

Pollutants produced by poriferans: using genetics to fill in blanks about sponge chemical production

Although its easy to mistake a sponge for a furry looking rock, these invertebrates and the microbes that inhabit them have some surprising chemical abilities. Anna RobuckI am a third year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in the Lohmann Lab. My current research interests include environmental chemistry, water […]

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 […]

Eat Organic at Your Local Gyre Margin

Paper: Letscher, Robert T., et al. 2016. Nutrient budgets in the subtropical ocean gyres dominated by lateral transport. Nature Geoscience, v.9: 815–819 If you were a marine organism looking for some grub, where could you find something nutritious? Nutrients in the ocean accumulate in the bodies of living things, which tend to sink to deeper waters […]

Light on the Tree of Life: Evolution of Bioluminescence

The darkness can be scary sometimes–but that’s when evolution can get pretty crazy in its adaptations. Meet some of the fishes that can glow in the dark and learn about how many times this special ability evolved–it’s certainly surprised many scientists in the community! Andrea SchlunkI am a former PhD student from the University of […]

Marine life: Coming to a PharmaSea near you!

The PharmaSea program is looking to expand our library of marine-derived compounds for use in drug discovery. Want to know what marine organisms are already used in medicine, and where this program is looking to find new medicines? Read on to find out! Erin McLeanHi and welcome to oceanbites! I recently finished my master’s degree […]

Iceberg Buffet: How giant icebergs bring food to plankton

While icebergs are calving from Antarctic glaciers at alarming rates, they may provide a negative feedback for the carbon cycle. Giant icebergs bring large amounts of iron to iron-poor areas of the Southern Ocean, stimulating primary productivity and boosting carbon sequestration. Zoe GentesZoe has an M.S. in Oceanography and a B.S. in Geologic Oceanography from […]

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. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a marine research […]

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. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a marine research scientist who […]

Carbon sinks: Diatoms in the deep sea

Fast-sinking phytoplankton particles deliver carbon from the surface to the deep ocean. Are plankton cells still able to survive when they sink to the deep ocean? If so, how long may they survive without any sunlight? Sean AndersonI am a first year MS candidate at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography. I […]

Ocean acidification may make “peekaboo” harder for shrimp

What happens to a shrimp’s shell when exposed to more acidic conditions? Read more to find out! Megan ChenI graduated with a Masters of Coastal & Marine Management from the University of Akureyri in Iceland, and am currently working at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Ocean Education. I am interested in […]

Toxic meal: Chemical cues from copepods increase red-tide toxicity

Yes, you can purchase a fuzzy red tide-forming algal cell. Aside from being much smaller and lacking any type of eye, these organisms can produce massive, toxin-rich blooms in the ocean. Nasty toxins can be harmful to other organisms in the water and even reach humans via the consumption of shellfish and fish. Through the […]

Protecting Hometown Herring

River herring are anadromous fish, which means they live most of their life in the ocean but spawn in freshwater streams and rivers. Recent decades have seen a massive decline in river herring populations caused primarily by over-harvesting and decreased access to spawning habitat. These fish are now largely protected in freshwater systems during their […]

Macrobioerosion rates and what they mean for reefs

Today macrobioerosion is a good thing that provides cement for the foundation of reef systems. So more macrobioerosion could mean more reefs, right? No! Perhaps too much of a good thing could have dire consequences for the future of the calcium carbonate budget. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a […]

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