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This category contains 21 posts
Soft coral dominated reef. Author: Matt Kieffer. Source: Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattkieffer/15439205306)

Hard Coral or Macroalgae? Coral Reefs May Have Another Option

Most of the time coral reef communities are discussed, it seems the focus is whether they’re dominated by hard coral or algae. It turns out there may be other possible outcomes for reefs in the future. Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

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Citizen Science in the New Year!

Tired of only reading articles about science and wishing you could get out there any join those research teams instead? Well, you don’t need a degree to help out—you can get involved in any number of citizen science initiatives! So, if you feel like chipping in and helping scientists gather data, click here to find out more!

Figure 1: There are five major ocean-wide gyres — the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and Indian Ocean gyres. Credit: wikemedia/NOAA.

Eat Organic at Your Local Gyre Margin

Paper: Letscher, Robert T., et al. 2016. Nutrient budgets in the subtropical ocean gyres dominated by lateral transport. Nature Geoscience, v.9: 815–819 If you were a marine organism looking for some grub, where could you find something nutritious? Nutrients in the ocean accumulate in the bodies of living things, which tend to sink to deeper waters […]

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.

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Melting ice shelves could be slowing down ocean circulation: Elephant seals lend a flipper to find out

Wanted: Antarctic researchers to study the formation of deep water in the coastal Antarctic seas. Job requirements: Plenty of blubber and a healthy appetite for bottom-dwelling sea creatures.

From pixabay: https://pixabay.com/p-997907/?no_redirect

Ghost ships, adorable flotsam, and measuring surface currents

The ocean is teeming with floating objects. Some of them are creepy, rusted, abandoned boats. Others are cute little bath toys. All are nerdy Halloween costumes waiting to happen! Not to mention their utility as oceanographic tools to learn about currents.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shearwater

Measuring Wind is for the Birds!

There are a lot of things animals are better at than humans. What if we could get our animal colleagues to help us out with our science? This study uses birds with small GPS backpacks to measure wind speed in a way that humans just can’t!

Courtesy of Vilisvir via wikipedia.org

The dark side of the…cephalopod eye?

Cephalopods are among the most colorful creatures in the ocean but only see in black and white. A father/son team recently proposed a new theory explaining how these organisms might sense and understand color. Besides explaining a decades old mystery, their idea might force us to reconsider what it means to see in color.

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Pluto perhaps not so icy after all

Pluto, the ex-planet at the far reaches of our solar system, recently had a nice photo op as a NASA vehicle drifted by. The pictures gave an unprecedented view of the object and, perhaps, point to the presence liquid water.

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!

This artist’s impression shows how Mars may have looked about four billion years ago. The young planet Mars would have had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 140 metres deep, but it is more likely that the liquid would have pooled to form an ocean occupying almost half of Mars’s northern hemisphere, and in some regions reaching depths greater than 1.6 kilometres. (M. Kornmesser via Wikipedia)

Paleo-oceanography from satellite data reveal ancient tsunamis…on Mars?!

Extraplanetary tsunamis. Need I say more?

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Double, double methane and trouble: Quantifying natural and man-made methane seeps

Researchers from Texas A&M and Woods Hole tested out a new, 3D camera system designed to look at deep sea methane seeps. The high resolution, high frame rate videos yielded new insights into bubble dynamics that could influence how we respond to oil and gas spills.

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Little penguins have little tolerance for high temperatures

New technology lets researchers track the 3D motion of penguins in the ocean to learn exactly where they catch their food. They catch the most when water is cooler than average, which could become a problem as ocean temperatures warm.

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Coral! At The Disco: Using fluorescence (and computer science) to label reef data

A group of scientists and engineers have leveraged two emerging technologies to develop a new system for studying coral in their natural habitat. The team dramatically improved automatic labeling of coral images by combining a novel camera set up with powerful machine learning techniques. The result is fast, accurate, and has the potential to change how coral ecologists do their research.

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Storm Troopers! Robots collect ocean data during hurricanes

Hurricane prediction models are constantly improving as we create more innovative ways to study the growth and development of storms. In 2011, a team from Rutgers University sent an autonomous underwater vehicle into the projected path of Hurricane Irene to measure ocean conditions before, during, and after it passed.

Fig. 1: Loggerhead sea turtle returning to the sea after nesting and receiving a satellite tag. Photo Credit: Rebecca Flynn. Please do not use this photo without permission. Sea turtles are protected by the Endangered Species Act. This photo was taken with appropriate permits.

For Sea Turtles, There’s No Place Like Home

Tagline: Sea turtles are occasionally released in locations that are not their home areas. But do they remain there? Find out in today’s oceanbites!

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Arctic could become more biologically productive as ice melts

As Arctic sea-ice melts away, organisms will be exposed to more light and, potentially, more nutrients. Recent model work suggests that this combination will result in a more biologically active Arctic. But the net result might not be as positive as you think.

Fig. 1: Oyster Reef—Source: Doug DuCap, https://www.flickr.com/photos/huggingthecoast/2232411772

Oh Where, Oh Where Should This Oyster Reef Go?

Where indeed? Oyster reef restoration and use for shoreline protection requires some planning to maximize effectiveness. Find out more in today’s oceanbites!

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Oceanbites Mingles With ArcticMix (Part 1)

This is part 1 of 3 interview posts on the ArcticMix voyage. Scientists share their experiences with life aboard a cutting-edge research vessel!

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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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