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evolution

This tag is associated with 17 posts

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 […]

The Slow Burn: Slower Metabolisms May Help Mollusks Avoid Extinction

By looking at fossils found in the Western Atlantic, Dr. Luke Strotz and a team of scientists at the University of Kansas and Oxford have come across an intriguing idea: that an animal’s metabolism may be linked to how likely the species is to going extinct. Kristin HuizengaI am a PhD student studying Biological Oceanography […]

When having babies, is quantity or quality better?

Evolution is riddled with trade-offs. One of the classic examples is how to spread maternal resources – is it better for an individual to have a lot of babies or invest more into only one or two? Researchers examined how this trade-off plays out in the marine world by comparing the competing reproductive strategies of […]

A Tree of Life Project With Some Serious Bite

If you have any intererst in shark anatomy, ecology or evolution, find out about a must-see website designed by the Chondrichthyan Tree of Life Project. Jasmin GrahamI am a Masters student in Biological Sciences at Florida State University. I received my B.S. in Marine Biology and B.A. in Spanish at the College of Charleston where […]

Coming Home to Roost: A case of parasites relying on ancestral DNA to take advantage of a new penguin host species?

Parasites are nasty and resilient organisms, often highly specialized to fit their hosts. But sometimes, nature allows a bit of wiggle room, opportunity strikes, and new species find themselves vulnerable to these unwelcome houseguests. This could be what has happened to Magellanic penguins. Curious to learn more? Click here! Andrea SchlunkI am a former PhD […]

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. BorowiecBrittney 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 […]

Swashbuckling spiders sailed the high seas

Long before the Vikings reached North America, a group of coastal spiders was already sailing around the world using prevailing winds, currents, and rafts. Brittney G. BorowiecBrittney 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 […]

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 FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame […]

The dark side of the…cephalopod eye?

Cephalopods are among the most colorful creatures in the ocean but only see in black and white. A father/son team recently proposed a new theory explaining how these organisms might sense and understand color. Besides explaining a decades old mystery, their idea might force us to reconsider what it means to see in color. Eric […]

Who benefits from more CO2? Harmful algae.

Climate change will produce both winners and losers, but we might not like who ends up winning! New research shows that toxic cyanobacteria can rapidly adapt to increasing CO2 concentrations and outcompete other more desirable types of algae. Michael PhilbenI recently completed a PhD in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina and am […]

Evolution of the opercle: changing bones reflect marine/freshwater divide

The shift from marine to freshwater habitat is a drastic one, and many evolutionary changes accompany it. This article focuses on the evolution of the opercle, a bony outer structure that protects the gills in most fish species. Dina NavonI am a doctoral candidate in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology program at the University of […]

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 […]

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! Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and the University of […]

Little fish, new pond – watching stickleback evolution in real-time

When most people think about evolution, they see it as an extremely slow, gradual process that occurs over almost unthinkably vast timescales. Darwin certainly believed that evolution progressed slowly. While it’s true that evolutionary change requires a span of generations, for many reasons, it is actually possible to watch evolution occur in real-time, within a […]

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. Sean AndersonI am a first year MS candidate at the University of […]

Like father, like son? Is survival under ocean acidification heritable?

Can marine life adapt to ocean acidification? Well, first we need to understand if these favourable characteristics (survival under elevated CO2 conditions) are genetically determined and can be passed on to the offspring! Catarina SilvaHi! I am a PhD candidate at Victoria University of Wellington. I study the genetic structure of organisms and how the […]

Baleen whales have a bone to pick with noise pollution

CT scans of the skull of a beached whale has helped a pair of researchers figure out how baleen whales hear. Through computer modeling, they found that baleen whales, in addition to using soft tissue in their head like antennas, also use the bones in their skull to pick up sounds from their environment. Irvin […]

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