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animal behavior

This tag is associated with 17 posts

Summertime skincare: bowhead whales use rocks to help peel off molting skin

Whale summer skin care? Yes, it really is a thing. Read on to learn how bowhead whales in the eastern Canadian Arctic replace their skin over the summer with the help of undersea boulders. Anna Robuck I am a third year PhD student at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography in the […]

Wandering copepods can’t find their way home in acidic oceans

Journal source: Smith, J. N., C. Richter, K. Fabricius, and A. Cornils. 2017. Pontellid copepods affected by ocean acidification: A field study at natural CO2 seeps. PLoS ONE 12 doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175663. Introduction Ocean acidification (OA for short) is a topic that seems to be receiving increased attention, and if you’ve scrolled through some recent Oceanbites posts, […]

Using seabirds to study squid

How do scientists track fast swimming squid in the remote and vast open waters of the Southern Ocean? Probably not in any way you’d expect. They use squid predators, specifically a seabird—the wandering albatross—to find the squid for them. These albatrosses are outfitted with some very cool technology to bring the researchers information on their […]

Candidate compass genes in fish

A team of American researchers use next-generation sequencing to ask: “magnetoreception, how does it work?” Brittney G. Borowiec Brittney 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 and metabolic responses of Fundulus killifish to […]

So cute!

It’s a trap! African penguins impacted by climate change

Young penguins living along the southwestern coast of Africa typically follow cool, nutrient rich water to find food as they grow up. This used to lead them to ‘delicious’ fish such as anchovies and sardines. However, in this ecosystem – the Benguela Upwelling Zone – climate change and overfishing have reduced these fish populations. This […]

Small MPAs: the new all-you-can-eat buffets?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation tool and are in many situations very effective. Unfortunately, as with many plans, there may be some unintended consequences, as seen in the case of small MPAs in Fiji, where they appear to have attracted corallivorous crown-of-thorns sea stars (Acanthaster spp.). Find out more in today’s oceanbites! […]

What killer whales tell us about menopause

Killer whales, or orcas (Orcinus orca), are amazingly intelligent and social animals. What can they tell us about the evolution of menopause? Brittney G. Borowiec Brittney 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 […]

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 Couto I’m interested in how physical processes […]

Warm water curtails sea snakes’ dives

Like frogs, sea snakes can uptake oxygen through both their lungs and their skin. How will these “bimodal breathers” cope with warm ocean temperatures? Brittney G. Borowiec Brittney 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 […]

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? Rebecca Flynn I am a graduate of the University of Notre […]

Count On It: Cuttlefish Risk Management

As any gambler will tell you, the higher the financial risk, the larger the potential reward. As it turns out, the hungrier we get, the higher risks we’re willing to take, and this characteristic transfers over to other members of the animal kingdom. In this study, we look at how cuttlefish make decisions about attacking […]

If You Must, Adjust? Polar Bears Leaving Sea Ice in the Arctic

Everyone knows that polar bears have become the poster children for species threatened by climate change. And it’s for good reason that they are. Polar bears rely on sea ice for access to prey, finding mates, and creating dens. The persistence of the species depends on the state of sea-ice and more generally a healthy […]

Variety in the personal lives of triggerfish

Triggerfish don’t all opt for monogamy. Read on to see what mating strategies they use and why there is so much variety. Sarah Giltz I am a doctoral candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University. My research focuses on the larval dispersal and development of the blue crab in the Gulf of Mexico. […]

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. Borowiec Brittney 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 […]

I, Spy – Eye stripes and spots work together to distract predators

Eyespots and eye stripes are common markings on fish bodies. It is thought that they divert predator attacks away from the vulnerable and important head region. This paper shows that threespine stickleback, a predatory fish, prefers to strike at the region of the prey with an eyespot. Dina Navon I am a doctoral candidate in […]

Beyond the shell: What are hermit crabs really after?

A favorite activity for beachgoers is to comb the sand and tide pools for marine life, and one of the most familiar tide pool animals is the hermit crab. Kids and parents alike love to find them out on the rocks, but how much do we really know about them? This article explores the important […]

Using Robots to Track Sea Turtles

A new technique using underwater robots may be able to teach us about sea turtle behaviors in the wild. Derrick Alcott Derrick is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is interested in anadromous fish migrations, how aquatic organisms interact with their physical environment, and […]

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