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community ecology

This tag is associated with 34 posts

I’ll stand guard for you!

When it comes to helping each other out, it turns out that some fishes are better at it than we thought. New research shows how when foraging for food some rabbitfish species stand guard for one another, demonstrating how fishes can posses the cognitive ability to carry out reciprocal altruism acts. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries […]

Sponges Out of Control: Another Effect of Overfishing

When you think about threats to coral reefs, you don’t think “Sponges!”, do you? But you might come up with “overfishing.” While the overfishing of herbivorous (algae-eating) species has grabbed attention, we may need to consider the loss of sponge-eating fish too. Check out some new research that shows an increase in sponge-coral interactions where […]

Out of sight, out of mind: The effect of gas & oil spills on deep-sea communities

When undersea wells blowout, toxic concentrations of hydrocarbons can be rapidly released into the environment. The media presents these blowouts with dramatic images of flora and fauna covered in black tar along coastlines and on the sea surface. What are rarely shown in glossy photographs, however, are the consequences to the unseen deep-sea. Sarah FullerWith […]

A new thermally tolerant species of algae is found!

Rising ocean temperatures threaten coral reefs, but a new thermal tolerant algae could help. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science PhD I am working on how to tank raise urchins and transplant them onto reefs across the Florida Keys in order to help reverse the phase shift from algae dominated back to coral dominated.

The Northward Expansion: Tropical Fish Settling the Temperate Seagrass Prairie

How will northward shifting tropical species interact with the temperate habitats they encounter? An example from seagrass habitat in the northern GOM Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and the University of Rhode Island (M.S.). I now work in southwest Florida, contributing to the management of an estuary. I […]

Is a coral’s color all for show?

Two of the exact same corals, sitting right next to each other, often appear to be different based on their colors. Why is this? Scientists have shown that the answer involves intriguing genetics. The more genes a coral activates, the greater their strength of color. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science PhD I am […]

Don’t let your guard down: a cautionary tale from reef fish in degraded habitat.

Reef fish on degraded reef are somewhat like misguided slasher flick protagonists that ignore all warning cues and are therefore less likely to survive. Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and the University of Rhode Island (M.S.). I now work in southwest Florida, contributing to the management of an […]

Can a complex model hold the fate of the crown-of-thorns starfish?

Not all starfish are cute! The crown-of-thorns starfish has been eating all the coral on the Great Barrier Reef! Researchers set out to build a model in hopes of demonstrating the trophic interactions between this dangerous starfish and its prey, the coral. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science PhD I am working on how […]

The Community Conundrum: using models to challenge classic ecological theory

Science is not just about new discoveries and novel research questions; it’s often about challenging the past using new tools, techniques, and perspectives. Here, researchers used new modeling techniques to sharpen the focus on how marine communities are structured, attempting to resolve a century-old dispute. Gordon OberPostdoctoral Researcher, Claremont McKenna College I am currently a […]

The Great Barrier Reef is worth $15 billion – $20 billion AUS a year: A quick lesson in ecosystem economics

When discussing the value of an ecosystem, tensions run high. Some people evaluate ecosystems with heavy emphasis on non-use values, like aesthetics and spiritual appreciation. Other people value ecosystems based on things like natural resource availability and the potential for direct monetary revenue. It is difficult to assess the relative importance (or value) of these […]

The Language of Fishes

Coral reefs are composed of hundreds of different species, who all use different acoustics to communicate, just like we use different languages around the world to communicate. Researchers set out to better understand and record the language of fishes in hopes of building a species-specific soundscape of the coral reef community. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries […]

The seagrass isn’t always greener: how jellyfish and nutrients are impacting seagrass ecosystems

Warming oceans and acidic oceans. Nutrient and pollution overload. Melting ice caps and rising sea levels. Jellyfish blooms. Yes, you can consider blooms of jellyfish as a source of oceanic stress, especially if you’re a seagrass bed! Gordon OberPostdoctoral Researcher, Claremont McKenna College I am currently a postdoc at Keck Sciences, Claremont McKenna College. I […]

One species’ trash is another species’ refuge: Investigating the biodiversity associated with floating plastic debris.

The poster child for human pollution of the ocean has to be floating plastic bottles and soda rings, right? Once in the ocean, these plastics can aggregate. They create large floating masses, or garbage patches and some species find refuge in our refuse. Recent research has shown that diverse communities utilize these open ocean rafts, […]

Marine herbivores “steal” and use chemical defenses from algal hosts

A recent study has shown that a species of amphipod is disregarding the “WARNING: DO NOT INGEST” label on chemically defended seaweed. As it turns out, these tiny herbivores are able to sequester (seize and store), via ingestion, some of the toxins found within the tissues of macroalgae. These amphipods then use the sequestered toxins […]

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