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Biology

This category contains 291 posts

Ecology of Fear: Current Implications of Orca Presence on Narwhal Behavior and Future Trends

The ecology of fear is a hypothesis that predators drive habitat use and behavior in prey species. In the Arctic, the orca drives behavioral changes in a variety of species including narwhals. Analyzing a narwhal population in a Fjord in Greenland researchers were able to look at how fear drives narwhal behavior. Article Breed, Greg […]

Saving the Blue Bloods: Horseshoe Crab Edition

We use horseshoe crab blood to test every FDA approved drug given to humans. Yet with horseshoe crab populations dropping and a feasible replacement test already developed, why haven’t we made the switch? Kristin HuizengaI am a masters student studying Biological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. My interests are in […]

Can you smell that? Oil spills change stingray’s sense of smell

It may have occurred 8 years ago, but scientists are still talking about the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. This epic oil spill made scientists recognize gaps in our knowledge about how oil impacts the environment. To explore the question of how crude oil impacts organisms, a team of scientists at Florida Atlantic University investigate […]

The Biological Big Bang: Testing the hypothesis that sperm whales use auditory bursts to stun prey and other proposed feeding strategies.

Article Fais, A., Johnson, M., Wilson, M., Soto, N. A., & Madsen, P. T. (2016). Sperm whale predator-prey interactions involve chasing and buzzing, but no acoustic stunning. Scientific reports, 6, 28562. Background Sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) are big. To put it in perspective, an adult or bull sperm whale is longer on average (52 ft.) […]

New technology inspired from ancient art

When scientists find new applications for old ideas, they can open up a world of possibilities. A group of researches from around the USA teamed up to design a catch-and-release sampling device inspired by origami that will help them explore the diversity across mid-ocean depths. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, […]

When having babies, is quantity or quality better?

Evolution is riddled with trade-offs. One of the classic examples is how to spread maternal resources – is it better for an individual to have a lot of babies or invest more into only one or two? Researchers examined how this trade-off plays out in the marine world by comparing the competing reproductive strategies of […]

Seabird tagging 101

How do we know where seabirds live and eat? Not such an easy question without special technology! Check out this article to learn how researchers tag seabirds in the Gulf of Maine to learn about their habitat use. Anna RobuckI am a third year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of […]

Octopus Mama Drama: Research Expedition Bonus Science

Dorado Outcrop is a small underwater mountain that first received attention from a few scientists because the seafloor that it sits upon is colder than what is expected. It ended up in the media spot-light because of the hundreds of octopuses that call it home. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, […]

Sleeping with one eye open: fur seals may help us understand sleep patterns

Most mammals need to catch their zzz’s to function properly. Fur seals appear to naturally go through prolonged periods of sleep deprivation without suffering obvious side effects. Researchers are studying these semi-aquatic mammals to uncover some mysteries about sleep. Ashley MarranzinoI received my Master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island where I studied the […]

Fixin’ to lose: Trichodesmium reacts to climate change

Nitrogen is vital for all life on the planet. One of the main global sources for nitrogen, the bacteria Trichodesmium, may stop providing nitrogen to the global cycle in an ocean affected by climate change. LeAundra JeffsI am a Master’s Candidate at University of Delaware where I study the evolution of microbes in the sediments […]

The Efficiency of Nautili

Imagine if you could function just as well at the top of Mt. Everest (where the air is super thin) as you do at sea level; you’d probably be considered pretty special. Well, nautiluses can do that, and these researchers wanted to know why. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m […]

Biofilms are a prominent first step in the colonization of wood-falls

A profound yet never-before-appreciated first step in the colonization of sulfur oxidizing bacteria on the surface of wood-debris in the deep-sea is attributed to sugars and other labile components of wood. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a marine research scientist who has been lucky to have had many roles […]

Incubation station: are hydrothermal vents speeding up skate-egg development?

Are skates using warm vent water to incubate their eggs? Researchers claim that they have found a direct relationship between temperature and incubation time for skate eggs at hydrothermal vents sites in the Galapagos. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a marine research scientist who has been lucky to have […]

3 Courtship Tips From the Ocean: Valentine’s Day Edition

Long before we celebrated V-Day, animals in the ocean have evolved courtship strategies to help them score mates.  Might there be something we can learn from them?  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 […]

Baby come back: capture-induced premature birthing in elasmobranchs

Capturing pregnant elasmobranchs can induce stress-related abortions. Read more to understand why and what can be done to prevent this! Aditi TripathyHello! I am an undergraduate student majoring in Marine Biology with a minor in Acoustics at the University of Rhode Island. I am a science geek to the core, and my research interests lie […]

Summertime skincare: bowhead whales use rocks to help peel off molting skin

Whale summer skin care? Yes, it really is a thing. Read on to learn how bowhead whales in the eastern Canadian Arctic replace their skin over the summer with the help of undersea boulders. Anna RobuckI am a third year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in the Lohmann […]

The backbone of an ecosystem: bone-eating zombie worms control biodiversity at deep-sea whale falls

Zombies are real – but they are nothing like the ones from The Walking Dead. No, these zombies are worms that live in the ocean. And instead of brains, they eat and break down bones. In fact, these zombie worms are quite important to food webs. Click here to find out more about zombie worms […]

Autonomous Under-ICE Vehicles

Seafloor exploration in areas of thick ice coverage has many obstacles. With careful planning and modifaction of AUV design and recovery methods, explorers are able to map and study the Gakkel Spreading Ridge 4000 meters below the thick Arctic Ice Pack. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, I’m a marine research […]

Toxins in turds: learning about algal toxins with sea lion poop

What do you, a penguin, and an amoeba have in common? You all have to go #2! These researchers from Washington found a special purpose for sea lions and this basic bodily function. Read on to learn about how this team examined sea lion scat to learn about yearly exposure to harmful algal toxins along […]

Marine Halloween: Crabs Dress Up To Trick-or-Treat

Dressing up is a Halloween tradition. In the ocean, some animals ‘dress up’ to trick their predators or go unnoticed by their treats (prey).  Read more about how these creeping crabs get into the Halloween spirit year round. Megan ChenI graduated with a Masters of Coastal & Marine Management from the University of Akureyri in […]

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