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Ecology

This category contains 268 posts

“Breaking Bad” inspired robot tracks sea turtle poachers

Sea turtle populations are declining, in no small part thanks to poachers. Here, the authors use robot-eggs to track poacher routes. Brandy BiggarI am a 2nd year Master’s student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I am researching the highly invasive species the European green crab, and the impact extreme weather events has on its […]

It’s a cold, cold winter for Arctic phytoplankton

Ever wonder what winter is like for marine organisms? What about those that rely on light for growth? In a recent study of microscopic photosynthesizers in some of the most extreme winter conditions in the Arctic, a group of scientists set out to investigate. Samantha SettaI’m a PhD student in the Rynearson Lab at the […]

A loggerhead sea turtle hatchling crawling in the sand towards the water.

Virtual Sea Turtles: Predicting the Movement of Hatchlings at Sea

A young sea turtle emerges from its nest and races toward the sea and several others are close behind as they dig their way out of the sand. You can probably think of what it’s like for a sea turtle hatchling at the very start of its life as it tries to make it to […]

SURFO Special: Ocean Color Optics and Imaging: Phytoplankton in Narragansett Bay

What can the color of the ocean tell us about the tiny algae that live in it? SURFO student Taylor Bowen spent this summer researching the relationship between light and the well-being of phytoplankton. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders […]

Fish and Fecal Figs: How does the size of one fish affect fig seed growth?

Let’s think of well-known relationships between two different species. Sharks and remoras, hippos and small birds, and….fish and fig seeds? How does one species of fish help fig trees to grow, and how is this plant growth affected by the growth of the fish themselves? Francesca GiammonaI am a PhD candidate at Wake Forest University, […]

Upside-down jellies fire stinging grenades

Swimmers of Florida waters report incidences of being stung by the water! The authors set out to determine the cause. Brandy BiggarI am a 2nd year Master’s student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I am researching the highly invasive species the European green crab, and the impact extreme weather events has on its population […]

How does mercury end up in our seafood? (Guest Post by Patricia Myer)

This is a guest post by Patricia Myer. Patricia is a third-year Chemical Oceanography PhD student at the University of Connecticut. She received her BA in Environmental Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2017. Her current research is focused on the environmental factors affecting bioaccumulation of methylmercury into plankton. Diana FontaineI am a PhD student […]

Relative body size and major size classifications. Figure courtesy of Gabrielle Stedman

Oh where, oh where can micro-organisms be?

Does the width of 10 strands of human hair matter compared to the size of an entire ocean? A new study shows how small distinctions in body-size amongst micro-organisms is the difference between occupying whole ocean basins and just sub-regions. Gabrielle StedmanI am currently a 2nd year PhD student in Biological Oceanography at the University […]

Consider the marsh crab: Climate change shifts which species are key

Munching, nibbling and burrowing their way through life, the humble marsh crab can now add “keystone species” to its ecological resume. As sea level rise has inundated shorelines on the East Coast of the United States, marsh crabs have emerged as important players in shaping how marshes respond to climate change. Kristin HuizengaI am a […]

Chuffing is an explosive exhalation that is the equivalent to when a person sneezes or coughs.

Sneeze, Cough, Chuff: Respiratory Irritation in Dolphins

We all know what it’s like to get sick and have that irritating cough that just doesn’t seem to go away. Well, what about when you’re a marine mammal that doesn’t breathe through a mouth? Dolphins breathe air through their blowhole which is located on the top of their head. What is interesting though is […]

Stop Clowning Around: Cyanide Fishing in the Indo-Pacific

What does cyanide have to do with the tropical reef fish sold as pets and showcased in aquariums? A recent paper by Madeira et al. explore how illegal cyanide fishing is devastating Indo-Pacific reef ecosystems. Ashley MickensI recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Earth Science and Sustainability from Miami University of Ohio, and I’m […]

Antarctic Sea Ice – What do Adélie Penguins have to do with it?

In light of global climate change and warming ocean waters, is there any good news? Turns out some Antarctic penguins will benefit in the short term with less sea-ice cover. Samantha SettaI’m a PhD student in the Rynearson Lab at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO). My research interests are […]

Making Animals Comfortable In Their (Marine) Skin

The future of marine animal tracking could be a new flexible, stretchable, and ultra-lightweight technology called the “Marine Skin”. 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 my academic […]

Getting your toes wet: Citizen science as a means for long-term monitoring

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, […]

Peace for Coral Reefs

As the world has learned over the past several months, a little solitude goes a long way towards a healthy life. What if coral reefs need time away from humans to be able to live their best lives? Coral reefs, often called the rainforests of the sea, are known to be marvelous colorful ecosystems that […]

Slowing a Thorny Invasion – Managing for COTS with DNA

Crown-of-Thorns Starfish are a natural scourge on coral reefs… or are they? The cycle of outbreaks is cruel, since it tends to focus on areas that have been spared bleaching. What eats a COTS anyway? Can we harness natural predators to minimize the impacts of these coral-eaters? One team is trying.

Southern Ocean diatoms: while they’re small, they are mighty!

Tiny organisms called phytoplankton fuel the marine food web. How have they adapted to live in the Southern Ocean where ice cover limits light exposure, water temperatures are frigid, and iron, an important resource for cellular function, is extremely limited? Read on to learn more about these small, but mighty organisms. Diana FontaineI am a […]

Ocean acidification and baby “squidlife” crises?

Ocean acidification has been known to cause problems for marine mollusks (like oysters and pteropods), because these animals have shells or hard parts that can weaken as acidity increases. There’s another mollusk though with eight arms and two tentacles that may have a larger bag of tricks with which to cope with acidity, but teasing […]

Clawing Your Way to the Top: Lobster Farming in Vietnam

Can changing lobster aquaculture practices in Vietnam pave the way for green growth around the globe? The authors of a recent study think the key to minimizing environmental impacts while maximizing economic output lies in increasing efficiency. Ashley MickensI recently graduated with a degree in Environmental Earth Science and Sustainability from Miami University of Ohio, […]

Facing the music: calls from one of the worlds most endangered dolphins

The Study: Melo-Santos, G., Figueiredo Rodrigues, A.L., Tardin, R.H., de Sá Maciel, I., Marmontel, M., Da Silva, M.L., May-Collado, L.J. 2019. The newly described Araguaian river dolphins, Inia araguaiaensis (Cetartiodactyla, Iniidae), produce a diverse repertoire of acoustic signals. PeerJ: e6670. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.6670   River Dolphins Inia araguaiaensis was first discovered in 2014 and is one of […]

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