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Evolution

This category contains 37 posts
Figure 2: A nearly transparent hyperiid amphipod is only visible by its large orange eyes taking up most of its head and a few internal organs. Image credit: National Geographic (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/12/oceans-animals-invisible-physics/)

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!

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!

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.

(source: thekitchn.com)

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, the better prepared we will be to cope with our new environment. In this study, a group of researchers have studied how two species of clams react to a warmer environment to understand the coping mechanisms they use for survival.

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.

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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.

Figure 2: Picture of French Grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum) originally by Albert Kok. Source: Wikipedia Creative Commons

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?

#globalwarming #itsbettertogether

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.

Figure 1: green slime from a cyanobacteria bloom (Ohio Sea Grant/Creative Commons)

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.

Fig. 2: Fish group together in schools like this to combat predation or to forage (Photo: via Azula).

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.

Orca (Killer) Whales breaching the surface source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale

Killer whale pods: hunting dynamics

Killer whale pods spend almost all of their time together, with the exception of when they hunt. Why are they not social when they hunt? Could it be to ensure the survival of the newest and weakest pod members? Is it related to food availability? It is related to food preference? It is just a factor of physical abilities? Read more to find out what scientist have learned so far!

Figure 2: A. Anglerfish, By Javontaevious at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37002424; B. Ponyfish, By Randall, JE at fishbase.org, CC BY-SA 3.0, http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/PicturesSummary.php?id=4451&picname=Leequ_u1.jpg&what=species; C. Dragonfish, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1152885; D. Hatchetfish, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1152905

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!

Figure 3. Deep sea octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica). Source: Wikimedia Commons, Author: NOAA/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Photo also used as featured image.

Parenthood: The Most Rewarding Experience or The Ultimate Sacrifice?

Our human parents make a lot of sacrifices for us! They devote their time and energy, provide for us, invest in us (monetarily, sure, but also emotionally), nurture us, attempt to teach us, make career decisions with us in mind, and lose a lot of sleep worrying about us. However, in the marine world things can get much more extreme? Some animals make the ultimate sacrifice by literally dying to reproduce. Find out more about some of these marine creatures in today’s Oceanbites!

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Why Mom Cares.

Does mom care? If you are a skink from the wrong neighborhood she might, otherwise, you are on your own kid. Read about the evolution of paternal care traits in one skink population that is not observed in the others!

Fooled Ya! How marine animals stay hidden in plain sight

It’s April Fools’ Day! Today’s the day when you try to prank people, convince them your lies are true, and generally make mischief and act sneakily! Animals have to act like it’s April Fools’ Day everyday, and it probably isn’t nearly as much fun since their lives depend on it. Predators sneak up on their prey. Prey hide from those who wish to eat them. It’s a harsh world out there, but luckily animals have a number of ways to stay hidden. Here are my 5 (well, actually 6) favorite examples of camouflage in the marine realm!

Figure 1: Seagrass meadow in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Photographer: Heather Dine. Source: NOAA Photo Library via https://www.flickr.com/photos/51647007@N08/5077876455/

Seagrass Fights Back Against Grazing!

If you were a plant, like seagrass, how would you prevent other creatures from eating you? Do you even try? Learn a bit about plant defenses and find out about a new discovery in seagrasses by reading today’s oceanbites!

Darwin

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin

207 years ago, a renowned naturalist and geologist was born; Charles Darwin. Today OceanBites is honoring Charles Darwin and his insatiable quest for knowledge by exploring some of his marine observations.

Figure 1: anemone fish (sometimes called clown fishes) are protandrous hermaphrodites. Image from: Krzysztof Odziomek/Shutterstock, retrieved from theatlantic.com

Sea of Love: Hermaphroditic fishes

Finding a date on Valentine’s Day can be hard! Whether you are single or in a relationship, we are trying to make your week a little brighter by sharing some tales of romance from the ocean. Today we will look at the answer some fishes have found for not being able to find a suitable date: they just change their gender!

Figure 5: Happy Valentine’s Day! Sources: Anglerfish, cited paper (Pietsch 2005); banner, https://item2.tradesy.com/images/david-tutera-silver-glitter-just-married-hanging-banner-brand-new-4538911-0-0.jpg?width=720&height=960)

Sea of Love: The Fascinating Story of Sexual Parasitism

When they think of deep sea fish, most people think of that crazy fish from Finding Nemo with the big teeth and the light on its head. The folks at Disney Pixar weren’t exaggerating; that kind of fish really does exist in the deep ocean, and it’s even weirder than you think it is. Read on to find out how they mate!

Figure 1: two chitons, Acanthopleura granulata, on a rock. Image from: en.wikipedia.org; photo credit: Hans Hillewaert.

How to See Through a Shell

You may never have heard of this funny little ocean creature, but the chiton is pretty incredible. Why? It has hundreds of remarkable little eyes! Read how materials scientists are using this odd ocean animal as a model for building better materials.

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