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ecology

This tag is associated with 52 posts

Red dead algae

Life on earth has been evolving for a long time – billions of years! The timing of when different kinds of life developed is controversial, but can tell us about the conditions of earth in the past. A group of scientists in Sweden looked at ancient fossils from India, and found what they describe as red algae. This is important because at 1.6 billion years old (that’s 1,600,000,000 years) this is the oldest fossil of this type of algae described to date. These red algae fossils are also much older than most biological models said they should be. This could mean that more types of organisms have been around longer than we thought!

Seagrasses reduce the risk of disease outbreaks

Seagrasses are one of humans’ greatest sidekicks. They are nursery areas for many species including commercially important ones, they protect coastal communities from extreme weather, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen via photosynthesis and much more. Now, research shows that seagrasses can also reduce rates of disease in humans, fishes and invertebrates such as corals. Read more to find out how!

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!

Ocean acidification makes predators dumb

Chemistry is important for a lot of things, but can it change the behavior of animals? Read on to find out how changes in water chemistry alter the behavior of a venomous cone snail!

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?

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!

Do algal blooms kill whales?

Since 2005, southern right whale calves have been found dead in historic numbers off the Patagonian coast in Argentina. Scientists investigate whether harmful algal blooms may be to blame.

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?

Seagrass Invasion! Tunicates colonizing seagrass beds impact plant and animal community

Seagrass habitats worldwide are in decline due to a number of factors. What happens when an invasive species comes on the scene to add to the stressors affecting seagrasses?

When Aliens Invade: Disturbed Food Webs in the Mediterranean

Invasive species can wreak havoc on an ecosystem. Learn about the fishy invasion currently underway in the Mediterranean Sea and what impacts these invaders may be having on the region.

Young whales build baleen out of ribs

Juvenile bowhead whales put off gaining length and undergo severe bone loss to invest in growing their massive heads and baleen plates.

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 marine ecosystem in the Arctic. Unfortunately, the volume and extent of sea ice have been decreasing by 28% and 14% per decade. Is there a way for polar bears to adapt to the changing sea ice coverage in this sensitive habitat?

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 can get much more extreme? Some animals make the ultimate sacrifice by literally dying to reproduce. Find out more about some of these marine creatures in today’s Oceanbites!

You look like your mom: parental effects in Atlantic salmon

In honour of our Mother’s Day theme week, we’ll look at how the environment experienced by parents during reproduction and their early life history influences their offspring.

What makes a male squid put in reproductive effort?

Male squid can vary the effort they put into each mating event. Find out what type of female makes the males put in the most energy.

The importance of sea urchins

A look into Valeska’s graduate research. Why coral reefs depend on the long spined black sea urchin for survival.

Fooled Ya! How marine animals stay hidden in plain sight

It’s April Fools’ Day! Today’s the day when you try to prank people, convince them your lies are true, and generally make mischief and act sneakily! Animals have to act like it’s April Fools’ Day everyday, and it probably isn’t nearly as much fun since their lives depend on it. Predators sneak up on their prey. Prey hide from those who wish to eat them. It’s a harsh world out there, but luckily animals have a number of ways to stay hidden. Here are my 5 (well, actually 6) favorite examples of camouflage in the marine realm!

Seagrass Fights Back Against Grazing!

If you were a plant, like seagrass, how would you prevent other creatures from eating you? Do you even try? Learn a bit about plant defenses and find out about a new discovery in seagrasses by reading today’s oceanbites!

Killer food: the harmful effects of a diatom diet

What if a single bite out of your favorite cheeseburger was toxic to your health? In the ocean, copepods are faced with this issue when they feed on certain types of diatoms. Some diatoms produce toxins as a way to defend themselves from predators. How do these toxins effect hungry copepods?

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