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Physiology

This category contains 38 posts

How do skates of the deep survive the crushing pressure?

On this Sharkbites Saturday we look at a fish that isn’t a shark at all! Here we explain how skates, the cousins of sharks and rays, use an interesting physiological mechanism to survive the pressure of the deep ocean. Carolyn WheelerI am currently a PhD student studying marine science at the University of Massachusetts Boston, […]

Hawksbills in hot water? Temperature and Precipitation Impacts on Hawksbill Sea Turtle Nests

Climate change is already having effects on sea turtles. All seven species of sea turtle are dependent on temperature for habitat selection and physiology. The impacts of temperature and moisture on hatchling development have real long-term impacts on marine turtle populations. Matthew LarsenI am a second year master’s student at Coastal Carolina University in the […]

What’s next for Air Jaws? Research Priorities for The Great White Shark

Since the beginning of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, viewers have been mesmerized by the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). The great white shark coverage outshines the rest with television specials like the Air Jaws series filling many of the week’s time slots. There are numerous unanswered questions about its ecology, physiology, and relationship with humans. To […]

Beneath the Waters: A Giant Discovery

What lurks beneath the murky swamps and marshes in southern U.S.? A new giant salamander! Rishya NarayananRishya is pursuing an M.S. in Environmental Science Communications and Media Advocacy at Northeastern University and has a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. She has extensively worked at the New England Aquarium as an Educator and at Save the […]

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.) […]

Octopus Mama Drama: Research Expedition Bonus Science

Dorado Outcrop is a small underwater mountain that first received attention from a few scientists because the seafloor that it sits upon is colder than what is expected. It ended up in the media spot-light because of the hundreds of octopuses that call it home. Anne M. HartwellHello, welcome to Oceanbites! My name is Annie, […]

As far as the eye can(‘t) see: climate change may impact vision

Seawater is getting warmer, more acidic, and depleted of oxygen, and those shifts are causing animals serious problems: decreases in reproductive ability, increases in predators, and changes to habitats. A new review out of UC San Diego zooms in to investigate the effects of deoxygenation on a small organ with a big impact: the eye. […]

Small but mighty: Will the epaulette shark survive ocean acidification?

Check out the first installation of Sharkbites Saturday! The epaulette shark is a small egg-laying species native to Australia. In this study, scientists look at the effects that increased carbon dioxide from climate change may have on these interesting reef dwellers. Carolyn WheelerI am currently a PhD student studying marine science at the University of […]

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 […]

The whirling world of starfish larvae whorls

A close look at starfish larvae reveals the beautiful patterns they create while moving through the water. These tiny vortex machines can create lots of swirls around themselves to trap food, or they can let the water flow by them smoothly when they want to swim fast. Nicole CoutoI’m interested in how physical processes occurring […]

Seahorses Don’t Like It Hot

Scientists have been doing a lot of work recently trying to figure out how species are going to react to climate change. This research group wanted to figure out just how much heat seahorses could take…and seeing as they can’t get out of the ocean, things aren’t looking good. Read on! Erin McLeanHi and welcome […]

Lobster Poop: Way More Interesting Than You’ve Ever Imagined

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably never ever given any thought to lobsters and their poop. In contrast, the researchers who wrote this study have thought way too much about lobster poop; read on to find out what they discovered! Erin McLeanHi and welcome to oceanbites! I recently finished my master’s degree at URI, […]

Honey, we shrunk the seafood

Atlantic surfclams have gotten smaller over the last thirty years. This modeling study explores how temperature and how we fish can change the average size of individuals in a population. Sarah GiltzI am a doctoral candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University. My research focuses on the larval dispersal and development of the […]

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 […]

Frequent Fallers: Fat penguins have trouble staying on their feet

Yesterday was World Penguin Day. In honor of that, let’s take some time to appreciate just how awkward they are when they have to walk, and investigate why fatter penguins may fall more often. Gordon OberPostdoctoral Researcher, Claremont McKenna College I am currently a postdoc at Keck Sciences, Claremont McKenna College. I work with Dr. […]

Turtles turn heat exchange topsy-turvy

Counter-current heat exchange is a classic example of an elegant anatomical solution to this physiological problem. Leatherback sea turtles do things just a little bit different. 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 […]

Oxygen favours the bold

It takes personality for the African sharptooth catfishes to breathe air. But they also consider their surroundings before visiting the surface. Photo: Wikimedia. 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 respiratory […]

Trawling selects for faster fish

A new study suggests that differences in exercise performance make some individuals more vulnerable to capture by trawling than others, and that this may drive the evolution of commercially-important fishes (Photo: Wikimedia). Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, and joined Oceanbites in September 2015. Her research focuses […]

Warming up to climate change

Are you a fish that can’t cope with warming oceans? Don’t hesitate, acclimate! Scientists have found if fish have the chance to acclimate to warmer temperatures they may be better off in the future. Gordon OberPostdoctoral Researcher, Claremont McKenna College I am currently a postdoc at Keck Sciences, Claremont McKenna College. I work with Dr. […]

Icefish can’t keep their cool in warm water

The Antarctic climate is changing, and the increasing temperature is wreaking havoc on the physiology of endemic species. Will icefish, the Southern Ocean’s most abundant group of fishes, be able to cope with the metabolic consequence of life in warm water? Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney is a PhD candidate at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON, Canada, […]

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