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Conservation

This category contains 78 posts
Fig. 4: Ringed seal pup. Author: Shawn Dahle, NOAA, Polar Ecosystems Program research cruise. Source: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pusa_hispida_pup.jpg

Throwing Babies out with the Sea Ice: Ringed Seals Response to Ice Decline

As the Earth warms, sea ice declines. What happens to those animals who rely on the ice? Today’s oceanbites looks at one animal, the ringed seal, and how it may be affected by climate change!

Conservationists are scrambling to save the species of the world, but where should they start

‘The conservationist is ready to see you’: triaging marine ecosystems in times of climate change

Climate change affects ecosystems worldwide, but how do conservationists decide which of planet earth’s ecosystems are most in need?

Red Crown-of-Thorns Starfish eating coral. Author Matt Kieffer, Flickr. No modifications made. https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/3016449061 Link to license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Small MPAs: the new all-you-can-eat buffets?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation tool and are in many situations very effective. Unfortunately, as with many plans, there may be some unintended consequences, as seen in the case of small MPAs in Fiji, where they appear to have attracted corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acanthaster spp.). Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

All the places you can mate! After an epic migration from Souther America to the Arctic Rim, male pectoral sandpiper's a rearing to visit all the breeding grounds. (Bird and Map adapted from Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Like a champion Casanova in the sky

After migrating thousands of miles from their southern wintering grounds, males of a certain species of shorebird log thousands more miles scouring the summer territories for fertile females. It’s pretty nuts.

Trawlers_overfishing_cod

Fisheries and Food Security

Fish have provided sustenance for millions of people, but in a world where stocks are rapidly depleting, what are the consequences of trying to save and rehabilitate their populations?

Soft coral dominated reef. Author: Matt Kieffer. Source: Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/15439205306)

Hard Coral or Macroalgae? Coral Reefs May Have Another Option

Most of the time coral reef communities are discussed, it seems the focus is whether they’re dominated by hard coral or algae. It turns out there may be other possible outcomes for reefs in the future. Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

(source: culture.oasiscollections.com)

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 have discovered coastal development impacts their biological diversity, and this may be an indication of more serious, long-term damage.

Ladies and gentleman, the death defying killifish!

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.

Fig. 1. Encroaching Mangrove in Homestead, FL
Source: G. Gardner, National Park Service, via Wikimedia Commons

Mangrove Takeover Impacting Salt Marshes

Mangroves are encroaching on salt marsh habitats worldwide, but what does this change in plant community mean for the plants, ecosystem processes, and other inhabitants of these areas? Find out a bit of the answer to that question in today’s oceanbites!

Where is all the methyl mercury coming from?! 
(Creative Commons photo by Patrick Kelley)

A mercurial tug o’ war in Antarctic sea ice

DNA from bacteria living in Antarctic sea ice provides a clue to the mysterious origins of methyl mercury in seawater in the Southern Ocean.

Fig 5: Sunset over the Gulf of Mexico from Bunche Beach, Fort Myers, FL. Source: Rebecca Flynn. Please do not use this photo without permission of the author.

Giving Thanks for the Ocean: The gratitude of the writers

Today is the day after Thanksgiving, but I think the spirit of gratitude should live on. Many of the other writers wanted to share their gratitude for the ocean. Some waxed poetic, some pragmatic, but all spoke from a personal place. Yet the gratitude we feel for the ocean unifies all of us—not just the writers here at oceanbites but also the larger us, aka humans.

Fig. 3. Entangled Sea Turtle. Source: NOAA.

Let’s Ghost Fishing for Halloween!

Ghost fishing is ghastly because it creates underwater graveyards for wildlife. The authors covered here wrote a new review of gear entanglement among mammals, reptiles, and sharks. Find out what they discovered by reading today’s post!

Eine kleine Aalchaos.

The long and winding Eel migration

A glimpse of the thousands’ mile migration of the European eel shows it’s anything but straightforward.

whalebone

Big animals face big trouble in our oceans

Many believe we are in the midst of another mass extinction both on land and in the ocean. What marine animals are most at risk of extinction? Using current and past extinction data, researchers were able to pinpoint the most vulnerable types of marine animals.

One of the suspects, the member of the genus Pseudo-nitzschia, produce the neurotoxin domoic acid [Wikimedia Commons]

Do algal blooms kill whales?

Since 2005, southern right whale calves have been found dead in historic numbers off the Patagonian coast in Argentina. Scientists investigate whether harmful algal blooms may be to blame.

greenlandshark

Ancient swimmers: Greenland sharks live for centuries

Using radiocarbon dating, scientists have discovered that the Greenland shark can live longer than any other known vertebrate. How long have some of these individuals been alive?

Listening for Symptoms: A new use for hydrophones in the face of harmful algal blooms

Whales aren’t the only animals hydrophones can detect out in the ocean. In fact, in the near future it might be possible to listen in on animals like scallops and determine if they’re healthy or not. Intrigued? Click here for more!

Credit: Society for Conservation Biology

Highlights from the International Marine Conservation Congress, Newfoundland, Canada

At the International Marine Conservation Congress this year, I got a first-timer’s look into the world of marine conservation research and in-depth discussions about the future of conservation.

Figure 1: Sawfishes may look like sharks but they are actually just close relatives and are technically a type of ray (don’t worry, no stinging barb though!)

Shark (and fish, reptiles, and amphibians) Week for Scientists II: Notes from the Joint Meeting of Ichthyology and Herpetology 2016

As Shark Week drew to an end, the scientist that study sharks, fish, amphibians and reptiles joined together to discuss their scientific research with one another at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Here are some of the highlights!

7.1 1

Analyzing supply and demand of overharvested manta and devil rays

Manta and devil rays, closely related to sharks, are at serious risk of extinction due to overfishing. They are primarily being harvested for their gill rakers, which are a key ingredient in a new health tonic marketed by Traditional Chinese Medicine suppliers in China and South-east Asia.

oceanbites photostream

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