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Conservation

This category contains 105 posts

Sharks vs. Fishing Vessels: The fatal overlap

Article Global spatial risk assessment of sharks under the footprint of fisheries. Nuno Queiroz, Nicolas E. Humphries, et al. Nature (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1444-4   Background Over the past 50 years, world fisheries production has increased significantly. Many studies have shown fishing impacts on ocean health. Beyond the direct effects of fish removal, fishing causes an indirect […]

SURFO SPECIAL: What’s it like to live in a dogfish eat dogfish world?

Brianna Villalon is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, studying marine biology and looking to gear her research toward elasmobranchs. This summer she worked with Camilla McCandless at the NOAA Northeastern Fisheries Science Center alongside the Apex Predator Shark Tagging Program. Read on to learn more about her work with dogfish! Diana FontaineI am […]

Robofish To The Rescue!

When mosquitofish were introduced all over the world to control mosquito populations nobody thought they would have such a negative impact on the native ecosystem. Now, in an attempt to control their populations researches are using robotic predators. Brandy BiggarI am a 2nd year Master’s student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I am researching […]

The Sound of (Fish) Music

The ocean contains a symphony of sounds. A new study describes a novel method for capturing the chorus “sung” by fish. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some engineering), and […]

From Animal Tracking to Conservation

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride on the back of a whale? Scientists now use a variety of tag technologies and tracking methods to understand the movement of marine animals from whales to sharks to birds to turtles. But how can tracking data be effectively translated into conservation policy that […]

Can Coral Reefs Strangled By Algae Recover?

When a coral reef suffers from bad environmental conditions like warmer water, sometimes the coral can recover—but sometimes algae will take over the ecosystem instead. Scientists in French Polynesia tested what makes a reef either rebound or convert to undersea algae fields after a disturbance. “Experimental support for alternative attractors on coral reefs”, Russell J. Schmitt, Sally J. Holbrook, Samantha […]

Lights, Camera, Action! Photography as a tool for observing environmental change

Observing long-term trends in the environment can be a daunting task. Here, scientists used settlement panels to observe community compositional changes in San Francisco Bay (SF Bay). Over a 5-year period, they deployed 500 panels across ten sites in the SF Bay region. An exciting part about this project was the use of citizen scientists […]

Great Salt Lake: a place migratory birds call home

Is Great Salt Lake America’s Dead Sea? Quite the contrary, as this inland sea is very much alive! Read on to learn about how this ecosystem is critical to the survival of many charismatic birds, including American White Pelicans. Katherine BarrettKate is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Biological Sciences Department at the University […]

Commercial fishing in Marine Protected Areas highlights the need for careful management

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) increase biodiversity and preserve ecosystem health when they are properly managed. But researchers have detected destructive practices that undermine conservation goals still occurring in many MPAs. 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 now working […]

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 […]

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.) […]

Reconnecting with Sharks

Sharks: an animal we love to fear. Sharks are an essential part of the environment; unfortunately, these animals are facing the most danger in the entirety of their 450 million year old existence. What can we do to protect these amazing elasmobranchs? The first step is reconnecting with sharks. Rishya NarayananRishya is pursuing an M.S. […]

Who Governs the Ocean Around Antarctica?

Antarctica is often considered an untouched wilderness. While its location is remote, the region is hardly undisturbed by human activity. Exploitation of marine species, tourism, scientific research activities, and anthropogenic climate change are all impacting Southern Ocean ecosystems. A recent policy paper examines the governance challenges for the Antarctic, particularly those due to climate change. […]

Good Neighbors: Why we need to be careful with Piping Plovers, even when they aren’t breeding

A new study has discovered that leaving Piping Plover habitat unprotected when the birds aren’t breeding may be hindering conservation efforts. Piping Plovers are stressed by human activity, making the birds less likely to survive. Kristin HuizengaI am a PhD student studying Biological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. My interests […]

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 […]

Plastics increase disease risks for corals

You have probably heard about the troubles coral reefs are facing and about the detrimental effects of plastic pollution in our oceans. Now these two issues appear to be linked: corals are getting sick when they come in contact with plastic. Find out more here. Ashley MarranzinoI received my Master’s degree from the University of […]

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 received my B.S. Marine Biology with a minor in Acoustics at the University of Rhode Island. Currently, I am a Ph.D. student at the University of New Hampshire with a research focus […]

How our Fear is Killing Sharks

Through my journey as a shark defender, I have realized the most challenging obstacle to tackle is the fear of sharks, rather than the actual killing of sharks; most people never encounter a shark in their lifetime, yet they are still scared of them and therefore don’t take the time to think much about shark […]

Green vs. Blue: How Green Turtles Might Limit Blue Carbon Storage

Green turtle populations are on the rise, which is a good thing, right? There has been recent concern that the increasing population will negatively impact seagrass role in blue carbon sequestration. Researchers found that turtles are decreasing the rate of carbon uptake into sediment but seagrass meadows remain active carbon sinks. Victoria TreadawayI am a […]

Why We Need Ocean Optimism

Social science has shown that too much doom and gloom about the ocean and other environmental issues is depressing. So how do we empower more people to take action?  An appropriate dose of optimism! Megan ChenI graduated with a Masters of Coastal & Marine Management from the University of Akureyri in Iceland, and am currently […]

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