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ecology

This tag is associated with 52 posts

Cuttlefish “freeze-out” their predators

Cephalopods such as cuttlefish are known to use camouflage behavior to avoid being eaten. Sharks are able to find disguised cuttlefish using their electrolocation. Do cuttlefish have a way to counter? This study suggests cuttlefish can “freeze” themselves in order to escape predation.

Predator vs. Prey: starfish vs. coral

The crown-of-thorns starfish has become a vicious predator of acroporid corals in the Indo-Pacific. This study looks at recruitment strategies of both the coral and the starfish in order to better understand if the coral has a chance of surviving the feeding frenzy of the crown-of-thorns starfish.

Trawling selects for faster fish

A new study suggests that differences in exercise performance make some individuals more vulnerable to capture by trawling than others, and that this may drive the evolution of commercially-important fishes (Photo: Wikimedia).

Always follow your gut, or in this case, follow the fish guts

Following the guts of fish species is sometimes the best way to track small, mobile crustacean prey.

Comparing all the ecosystems ever reveals cool patterns about their structure

Who’d guess that if you took the data from >2000 ecosystem studies and smashed them all together there’d be some interesting information in there somewhere? It turns out general relationships between individuals’ size and metabolism are reflected on the ecosystem level as well, across a huge span of marine and terrestrial life.

Tampering with the food web: what do changes in jellyfish and menhaden populations mean for the ecosystem?

Article: Robinson, K.L., J.J. Ruzicka, F. J., Hernandez, W.M. Graham, M.B. Decker, R.D. Brodeur, and M. Sutor. 2015. Evaluating energy flows through jellyfish and gulf menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) and the effects of fishing on the northern Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, doi: 10.1093/icesjms/fsv088 Background We’ve all grown up learning “who […]

Better Together: Mutualisms contribute to reef fish recruitment

All other things being equal, would you rather live where mutually beneficial relationships are available or where they aren’t? Well, if you’re like me, you’d prefer beneficial relationships. And I’m not alone in that. It turns out that damselfish on reefs prefer to settle where there are cleaner wrasses to keep them parasite-free. Read on to find out more!

Sea Turtles are Social Too

Ever wonder how sea turtles spend most of their time beneath the waves? Or how they interact with other sea turtles? Researchers put cameras on turtles and see what they see and do to find out! Check out what they found!

Highlights from the Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America

Happy 100th Birthday to the Ecological Society of America! We celebrated your history and the promise of your future during the ESA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD from August 9-14. We took over the Baltimore Convention Center and got lots of exercise moving from room to room in our attempts to absorb as much as we could! Check out the marine highlights!

Corals better learn to keep up or they may drown!

The coral reefs protecting many islands in the Pacific need to grow quickly in order to keep up with the rising sea levels and increasing ocean temperatures. As of now, researchers are optimistic that some species of corals are up to this challenge, but that relies on the rate of sea level rise.

Switching it up: When do predation and habitat control damselfish abundance?

Another tale of how the loss of predators due to overfishing might impact coral reefs, but this one has a twist! Instead of the emphasis being on who’s eating whom, prey fish behavior is the key to what happens to the corals! Learn more in today’s oceanbites!

Marine invertebrates- no backbone just makes them easier to eat.

Invertebrate fisheries are on the rise, invertebrate fishery management needs to rise along with it. This study examines the the impact of fishing invertebrate species on population numbers of animals in the ecosystem.

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 fishing activity is intense!

Toxic meal: Chemical cues from copepods increase red-tide toxicity

Yes, you can purchase a fuzzy red tide-forming algal cell. Aside from being much smaller and lacking any type of eye, these organisms can produce massive, toxin-rich blooms in the ocean. Nasty toxins can be harmful to other organisms in the water and even reach humans via the consumption of shellfish and fish. Through the release of chemical cues, copepods have been shown to promote further toxicity in bloom-forming algae.

What would coral reefs be like without human impact?

One would think that an isolated reef ecosystem shielded from the influence of people would provide an ideal benchmark against which other coral reefs can be compared. But in a recent study, researchers found it isn’t that simple.

Time to rethink the role of ocean’s microbes?

Have you ever wondered what may live inside the tiniest drops of seawater? Global oceans are dominated by organisms we cannot even see. Marine microbes are resilient, incredibly diverse, and ecologically important. These microbes deserve a closer look.

Leaving the nursery: fish migration between juvenile and adult habitats

Many fish utilize different habitats as adults than they do as juveniles, but little research has shown how they make the shift between the two habitats. This recent study did just that using acoustic tags! Read to learn more!

Sunday brunch: Lox with… lice?

Lox and lice. Not a combination of critters you envision when planning your Sunday brunch. Unfortunately, an increase in drug resistant sea lice is threatening both wild and farmed salmonid populations.

Risking It All For Love: Courtship behavior by a reef fish makes it vulnerable to lionfish predation

Paper: Black, A.N., S.R. Weimann, V.E. Imhoff, M.L. Richter, and M. Itzkowitz. 2014. A differential prey response to invasive lionfish, Pterois volitans: Prey naiveté and risk-sensitive courtship. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 460: 1-7. DOI:10.1016/j.jembe.2014.06.002 This story sounds a lot like a bad high school romance. You see your crush across the hall! […]

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.

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