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animal behavior

This tag is associated with 39 posts

Bowhead Whales Threatened by a ‘Killer’

The Arctic is experiencing dramatic changes in sea ice. How will this warming affect the marine life? Scientists find there may be an increasing threat to the already endangered bowhead whale. What it is may surprise you. Elena GadoutsisI didn’t take the typical marine biologist path. I started my career as a nurse working from […]

Crushed it: Sea turtles can help us understand hurricanes in the mid-Atlantic

Predicting what hurricanes will do is a matter of life and death, but when Hurricane Irene headed north in 2011, the predictions broke down. A group of scientists are using tracking devices on sea turtles to better understand what happens when the hot force of a hurricane hits the cold mid-Atlantic. Kristin HuizengaI am a […]

The view from a sperm whale’s nose

What happens if you place a microphone on the tip of a sperm whale’s nose? Putting anything on the nose of a 50-foot (15-meter) giant is no easy task, but the reward is a glimpse of how the world’s largest toothed predator sees the world. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying […]

Life of the Party: Dolphin Personalities and Social Structures

Are you more of a life of the party type person or a wallflower reserved type? Did you ever think that non-human animals, like dolphins, might have similar personality differences? This scientist takes a look at wild bottlenose dolphin populations and why their personality characteristics are important. Elena GadoutsisI didn’t take the typical marine biologist […]

Menacing microplastics hamper hermit crab choices

How can little bits of plastic in the ocean impact a hermit crab’s ability to make decisions? Microplastics can be found from the deep sea to the coasts and they can affect everything from animal health to cognition. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying marine mammal communication. My research focuses on […]

Minke Boings: A 50-year mystery and the science of listening in the ocean

Whale sounds are weird and fascinating, but for a long time scientists weren’t even sure that whales made sounds. The history of the study of sounds made by marine animals starts with naval submarine recordings, World War II, and mysterious sounds like the minke boing. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying […]

Arctic Unicorns: Understanding the past, present, and future of narwhals and their mysterious tusks

Why do narwhals have tusks that make them look like unicorns? As climate change continues, what is the fate of narwhals and their enigmatic tusks? Two recent studies of these unicorns of the sea start to answer questions about their past, present, and future. Julia ZehI am a PhD candidate at Syracuse University studying marine […]

Sensitive skin? Dolphins feel touch best on their faces

Hands are among the most touch-sensitive body parts for humans, but what about dolphins? Scientists studied how well dolphins feel touch from head to tail – and found the most touch-sensitive parts. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders called axolotls. […]

Octopuses can learn from an iPad too

As many universities are moving this semester’s coursework online, some may be wondering if learning from a screen is really that efficient. It turns out that it works pretty well – at least for octopuses. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water […]

A round of underwater applause: Scientists record gray seals clapping underwater

How do you get someone else’s attention underwater? It turns out some seals may clap their flippers together the same way humans clap their hands. Marine animals make incredible sounds underwater, from the songs of humpback whales to the pops of snapping shrimp and the grunts of fish, and now we may hear the sounds […]

Ensuring that coral reefs sound like home

What does a coral reef sound like? The answer is more important than you might think. By playing the sounds of a healthy reef over a loudspeaker, scientists were able to attract a variety of baby fish to settle on a degraded reef, results which show how acoustic interventions are a tool that can be […]

No nerves lost: Octopuses can regenerate their nervous system.

Octopuses have complex behaviors, like communicating with other octopuses by changing color patterns of their skin. Damage to the nerve that controls this behavior takes away the skin patterning abilities. As it turns out, this nerve can repair itself after an injury – and colorful patterns come back too. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate […]

Mazes aren’t just for mice: European shore crabs exhibit spatial learning

Mazes aren’t just for mice, although a scientific literature search for maze learning might lead you to think so. In a recent study, scientists investigate crab performance in a complex maze and propose that European shore crabs exhibit spatial learning and memory, potentially tied to their need to find food along the complicated, three-dimensional seafloor. […]

The story behind the story: Understanding how mother whales communicate and the challenges of studying an endangered species

How do North Atlantic right whale moms talk to their calves? A recent paper describes new quiet calls which have only been recorded from mother/calf pairs. But there’s more to the story than just what makes it into the journal article, namely the logistical as well as emotional challenges of studying an endangered species. Julia […]

From Animal Tracking to Conservation

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride on the back of a whale? Scientists now use a variety of tag technologies and tracking methods to understand the movement of marine animals from whales to sharks to birds to turtles. But how can tracking data be effectively translated into conservation policy that […]

Does ocean circulation provide prey for a top ocean predator?

Ocean circulation patterns are generally thought to move water from one area to another in the world’s oceans. One example of this includes eddies, swirling water masses that spin off from major ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream off the coast of the eastern U.S. Some of these eddies can bring more productive waters […]

Are dolphins losing their minds in blooming ocean waters?

Polluted water is a great source of food for harmful algal blooms, which release even more toxins into the water. And now scientists say that algal blooms may give dolphins Alzheimer’s disease-like brain damage. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders […]

Same-Sex Squid Sex

Same-sex sexual behavior exists across a wide range of animals, but the behavior has long puzzled scientists because of the apparent paradox of mating behavior that does not produce offspring. What is the adaptive value of same-sex mating and what are the different reasons it has evolved in so many species? A recent paper describes […]

Bold Fish, Shy Fish: What’s in Their Brains?

Much like people, some fish individuals are adventurous, while others are more cautious. Do differences in the brain function hold the secret to fish personality types? Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders called axolotls. In my free time, I like […]

Ecology of Fear: Current Implications of Orca Presence on Narwhal Behavior and Future Trends

The ecology of fear is a hypothesis that predators drive habitat use and behavior in prey species. In the Arctic, the orca drives behavioral changes in a variety of species including narwhals. Analyzing a narwhal population in a Fjord in Greenland researchers were able to look at how fear drives narwhal behavior. Article Breed, Greg […]

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