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Biology

This category contains 299 posts

Rainwater floods an ecosystem of productivity

Phytoplankton fuel the productivity of the marine ecosystem. They need nutrients to carry out their cellular functions and, in most estuaries, nutrients can come from riverine outflow. However, how do phytoplankton receive nutrients in regions where freshwater river inflow does not exist? Scientists observed the influence of rainfall on phytoplankton community composition in Sydney Harbor, […]

The Dynamic Duo: Application of Complementary BRUVs and eDNA to Marine Fish Assemblages

Innovations in waterproofing cameras and DNA analysis have led marine scientists to apply these methods in unique ways in recent decades. Through the use of BRUVs and eDNA this article looks at fish assemblages in Jurien Bay Marine Park in Western Australia to compare these methods individually and combined. When BRUVs and eDNA were both […]

How Jaws Could Cure Cancer: The White Shark Genome and Its Influence on Human Health

When you hear the words “great white shark” what thoughts come to mind?  Awe, reverence, maybe even fear? I’m sure you don’t think of how great white sharks can impact the future of human medicine. However, a new study by the Save Our Seas Shark Research Center recently found links between great white sharks and […]

Far-Flung Relatives: A seabird’s story of population fragmentation

The Peruvian diving petrel was once abundant along the Pacific coast of South America. These days, though, only seven breeding colonies dot the coastline, separated by dozens of miles. Conservation efforts were initially aimed at the species as a whole, but a recent study has uncovered evidence that calls into question how effective those efforts […]

Winter Cruisin’ on the North Atlantic

Do you wonder what it is like to do oceanographic research aboard a sea-going vessel? What types of research are conducted out at sea? Where do the scientists set up their labs? Read this article to find out more about research at sea! Diana FontaineI am a first year PhD student in the Rynearson Lab […]

You Light Up My World: Using Genetics to Understand How Velvet Belly Lanternsharks Produce Light

The velvet belly lanternshark, a deep sea shark species, can create its own light to attract prey and evade predators. How is it able to do this? A recent study uses cutting edge genetics technology to find out the genes involved in this process. Sydney HarnedI received my BS in marine biology from the University […]

The Evidence of Things Not Seen: eDNA and Fisheries Stocks

Unlike fields of corn or herds of cattle whose yields are easily counted, wild fish stocks are more difficult to count. The ocean is a huge place, so finding and estimating populations to set future catch limits is really hard! There may be a new way of gathering this information though—one with less impact to […]

Citizen Science, Oh My!

To understand ecosystem level changes, it is important to monitor an ecosystem over a long period of time. However, long-term funding can be limited, especially during times of economic hardships. How do researchers carry out long-term ecological studies in place where sustained funding is unavailable? Read this article to get a glimpse into citizen science, […]

Slime, baby, slime!

Hagfish might look like disgusting little slime eels, but there is so much more to these jawless fishes. Read on to learn about hagfish and what scientists are uncovering about their slime! Ashley MarranzinoI received my Master’s degree from the University of Rhode Island where I studied the sensory biology of deep-sea fishes. I am […]

Hawksbills in hot water? Temperature and Precipitation Impacts on Hawksbill Sea Turtle Nests

Climate change is already having effects on sea turtles. All seven species of sea turtle are dependent on temperature for habitat selection and physiology. The impacts of temperature and moisture on hatchling development have real long-term impacts on marine turtle populations. Matthew LarsenI am a second year master’s student at Coastal Carolina University in the […]

What’s next for Air Jaws? Research Priorities for The Great White Shark

Since the beginning of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, viewers have been mesmerized by the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). The great white shark coverage outshines the rest with television specials like the Air Jaws series filling many of the week’s time slots. There are numerous unanswered questions about its ecology, physiology, and relationship with humans. To […]

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 PhD candidate 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 […]

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