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Evolution

This category contains 47 posts

Hiding at its best: Ultra-black fish of the deep sea

Animals stay hidden from predators using different skin colors and patterns as camouflage. Scientists recently discovered a unique way some fish use ultra-black pigment to hide in the dimly-lit waters of the deep sea. Tejashree ModakCurrently, I am a postdoctoral research fellow in URI.  Broadly, I study response of marine species to various stressors such […]

A shell of a ride: Pteropod survival through past mass extinction events and insights into present climate change

By looking at DNA and fossils of pelagic sea snails, Dr. Peijnenburg and colleagues are beginning to understand how this group has withstood past climate change, and how they may survive current ocean acidification. Gabrielle StedmanI am currently a 3rd year PhD student in Biological Oceanography at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. I use […]

Shedding Light on the Origin of Clam Photosymbiosis

You may have heard of photosymbiosis in corals. But did you know that some species of clams also host photosynthetic algae? Find out how photosymbiosis evolved in giant clams and fraginae clams. Constance SartorConstance is a graduate student at the University of Guam studying coral genetics. She also paints murals integrating art and science at […]

A Deep Water Dimmer Switch: How Fish Use Light as Camouflage

The deep sea can be a dangerous place to be a fish. Certain fish at this depth have been known to create light to help camouflage their silhouettes from predators looking up at them from below, but since they are unable to see their own bellies, how do they know how bright their camouflage should […]

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 […]

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 […]

How could putting 3-D glasses on cuttlefish change the way we think about vision?

3-D glasses-wearing cuttlefish can show us more than just the latest fashion trends. They can also teach us about evolution and may even help us develop new algorithms for machine learning! 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 fascinated […]

East African Lake Fosters a Melting Pot for Cichlid Evolution

Darwin’s famed finches weave a tale of evolution in isolation. Joana Meier and her research team now find that evolution, specifically adaptive radiation, may not actually require such complete isolation to stimulate the creation of new species. Rishya NarayananRishya is a multimedia science communicator with an MS in Media Advocacy from Northeastern University, specializing in […]

The Slow Burn: Slower Metabolisms May Help Mollusks Avoid Extinction

By looking at fossils found in the Western Atlantic, Dr. Luke Strotz and a team of scientists at the University of Kansas and Oxford have come across an intriguing idea: that an animal’s metabolism may be linked to how likely the species is to going extinct. Kristin HuizengaI am a PhD student studying Biological Oceanography […]

Red dead algae

Life on earth has been evolving for a long time – billions of years! The timing of when different kinds of life developed is controversial, but can tell us about the conditions of earth in the past. A group of scientists in Sweden looked at ancient fossils from India, and found what they describe as […]

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: Using an Invisibility Cloak for Deep-Sea Camouflage

You may not have to go to Hogwarts to find an invisibility cloak of your own. Although, the trip to this extreme environment full of transparent crustaceans may be just as tricky to get to. Read more to find out how hyperiid amphipods are able to make themselves invisible! Ashley MarranzinoI received my Master’s degree […]

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! Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and the University of Rhode Island (M.S.). I […]

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. Abrahim El GamalAbrahim is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he studies marine chemical biology.

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.

Swashbuckling spiders sailed the high seas

Long before the Vikings reached North America, a group of coastal spiders was already sailing around the world using prevailing winds, currents, and rafts. Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, and joined Oceanbites in September 2015. Her research focuses on the physiological mechanisms and evolution of the […]

Grunts and Gnathiids: One Fish’s Daily Migration to Escape Parasites?

Animals move for a number of reasons. The French grunt leaves the coral reefs at night for seagrass. A group of scientists proposes and provides good evidence for why they might do that! Read on to discover whether they’re leaving to avoid being parasitized? Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame […]

Speed dating: how finding that special symbiosis saved some coral from climate change

Choosing the right symbiont might be a coral’s ticket to cheating global warming. Abrahim El GamalAbrahim is a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego where he studies marine chemical biology.

Who benefits from more CO2? Harmful algae.

Climate change will produce both winners and losers, but we might not like who ends up winning! New research shows that toxic cyanobacteria can rapidly adapt to increasing CO2 concentrations and outcompete other more desirable types of algae. Michael PhilbenI recently completed a PhD in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina and am […]

Loud and Order: How reef fish vocalize to keep schools cohesive

Many animals use vocalizations to send signals to their group, but never before has this been documented in fish, until now. Researchers have found a reef fish that uses vocalizations in order to keep their schools together. Read on to find out how. Gordon OberPostdoctoral Researcher, Claremont McKenna College I am currently a postdoc at […]

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