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Genetics

This category contains 37 posts

Rock your Antibodies: Understanding an Ancient Immune System Protein in Brownbanded Bamboo Sharks

Sharks evolved into the top predators we know and love today millions of years ago. Because of their success at the top of the food chain, sharks have remained, in an evolutionary sense, relatively constant, meaning they haven’t evolved or changed much. This consistency provides shark scientists a window into the past, as some characteristics […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Growing a Scientist: Undergraduate Research 2017

Each summer, the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) hosts undergraduate students from all over the country to participate in oceanographic research. These Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURFOs) have not only been working with GSO scientists, but they have spent part of their time learning how to communicate this science to the […]

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 […]

The Molecular Industrial Complex: What shrimp exoskeleton formation can tell us about life’s building strategy

Have you ever wondered just how our bodies know to repair damaged skin or build muscle after an intense workout? Without even thinking about it, these processes are carried out behind the scenes while we go about our lives. Read further to see how a team of scientists have used the lifecycle of the mighty […]

A long history of tool use in marine mammals? You otter believe it!

The use of tools by animals has been documented in a wide range of species, from birds to invertebrates, encompassing land animals and marine animals. Animals use tools to help shelter themselves as well as find their next meal. By investigating animals on a genetic level it’s possible to determine whether tool use is specific […]

Brains only for you

Brain size might dictate the laws of attraction in guppies. Abrahim El GamalAbrahim is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he studies marine chemical biology.

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, […]

Ain’t no killing the killifish (for now): on the virtues of genetic diversity

Atlantic killifish are spared extinction in the face of pollution thanks to their remarkable genetic diversity. Abrahim El GamalAbrahim is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he studies marine chemical biology.

Exciting strides for eDNA: Insights into whale shark population genetics

In the past few decades scientists have found new and exciting ways to use DNA to answer scientific questions. There is now a new technique that could further revolutionize DNA analysis by using tiny pieces of tissue floating around in the ocean. Read more about how scientists are using this technique to answer questions about […]

Sharkcano, a melting pot for biology

No, a Sharkcano is not a volcano that erupts sharks. IT IS WAY COOLER THAN THAT! It is a submarine volcano that hosts a diverse macro community in water that is much warmer and more acidic that the surrounding seawater. Read more to find out about this alien-esc ecosystem in the South Pacific Ocean. Anne […]

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!

It’s been an incredible year and a half, but this will be my final regular post with Oceanbites. Thanks for reading! For my final post here, I wanted to tell you a little more about what I do as a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dina NavonI am a doctoral candidate in […]

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 […]

Cool Fact! Octopuses spawn with ease when temperatures are lower

Octopuses in the YP may experience temperature changes that do not bode well for reproduction. At what point will the influence of temperature be enough to inhibit the octopus population from growing? Consequences could be tough for octopus fisheries in the area. Read about how temperature stress that a mother experiences can influence her offsprings […]

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