This category contains 8 posts

Exciting strides for eDNA: Insights into whale shark population genetics

In the past few decades scientists have found new and exciting ways to use DNA to answer scientific questions. There is now a new technique that could further revolutionize DNA analysis by using tiny pieces of tissue floating around in the ocean. Read more about how scientists are using this technique to answer questions about whale sharks.

Figure 2: 3D-image of a coral reef in HI presented in a detailed presentation about monitoring the change of a reef area via SfM. The video is  available to watch for free on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/140017194

Ocean mapping on a budget

The seafloor is complex and mapping it is difficult because direct observations are hindered because it is underwater. Scientists have developed field methods and remote sensing methods to model the geomorphology of the seafloor but they are either limited spatially or by resolution. A newer method being applied to seafloor mapping is called Structure from Motion, and its low cost and high resolution may play a big role in future projects regarding ocean exploration. Read more to find out how scientists used it to increase the accuracy of rugosity measurements on a Hawaiian coral reef.

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!

Fig 1: Marine debris on the beach at Green Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Author: Keeley Belva, NOAA. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kure_debris_440.jpg

To I.D. Debris: LIDAR as a tool to identify trash on the beach

Scientists may have a new option for figuring out how much debris litters our beaches and what it all is! Find out more in today’s World Oceans Day post on marine debris!

Figure 2: intricate root system https-//pixabay.com/en/mangrove-philippines-trees-nature-1227352/

Room to Grow

When natural ecosystems are destroyed from anthropogenic development there exists a common notion that a replacement can be replanted somewhere else. One has to wonder though; what if the ecosystem destroyed cannot be replaced into the same role it once had. Scientists investigate if planted mangroves in the Philippines change the natural mangrove areas surrounding the restoration area, and to determine if there are differences in species diversity between planted and natural systems.

doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JTECH-D-15-0035.1

Echoes in the deep: Robots with fish finders

You might call it the Batmobile of the sea: Scientists put sound based fish finders into an underwater robot to get closer to the creatures they want to study.

Figure 1: Historical and projected radiocarbon content of the atmosphere. 14C spiked around 1960 due to nuclear weapons testing, and has been drifting back toward the baseline as the excess 14C works its way into the ocean, plants, and soils. The trajectory of radiocarbon content for the rest of the century depends on fossil fuel emission scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways; RCPs). With aggressive action to limit CO2 emissions, atmospheric radiocarbon will only “age” by a hundred years or so (green line) but under “business as usual” policy, it will be appear over 2000 years old by 2100 (grey line), severely limiting the dating of younger materials. From Graves 2015.

How we broke radiocarbon dating

CO2 from fossil fuel burning doesn’t contain C-14. That’s bad news for the future of radiocarbon dating.


Science at Sea

There are many steps in the scientific process before a paper is actually published and results are shared with the public. One of the first steps in this process is collecting samples. For a lot of the research discussed here at oceanbites.org, scientists must go out to sea on a research cruise to conduct their science and get those precious samples. Read on for an inside look into how some of this science is actually done at sea!

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