This tag is associated with 37 posts
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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.


The coelacanth and its leftover lung

The coelacanth keeps surprising us! Rediscovered off the South African coast in 1938, these animals were once thought to have died out 66 million years ago. Newly characterized lung and fatty structures may have been a key adaptation for their survival in deep-water environments.

Figure 1: Sushi (Credit: Alexandra Guerson) https://www.flickr.com/photos/guerson/5642004840/

Counterfeit fish: the extent of seafood mislabeling in the United States

Media coverage of a seafood mislabeling study in the U.S. has popularized the 2013 finding that one-third of U.S. seafood is mislabeled. What is the mislabeling situation now? Is it still as bad as we think, even worse, or better? Read more to find out!

Figure 1: The three-spot damselfish (Stegastes planifrons). 
Photo Credit: Rebecca Flynn (yours truly!), British Virgin Islands August 2014. Please request permission before copying or otherwise distributing this photo.

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!

Fig. 1: Sponges. Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sponges_in_Caribbean_Sea,_Cayman_Islands.jpg

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!


Do fish communities need natural shorelines, or are artificial structures ok?

Due to coastal development and natural erosion, shoreline fish communities are stressed. Several versions of artificial structures have been built to help mimic natural shoreline habitats, but are they all equally helping to conserve the fish species, or are some better than others?

North Sea fish stick to warming shallows rather than cooling off at depth

Models based on historical survey data indicate that with long term warming trends, fish distributions in the North Sea will remain at nearly the same depths while abundances across species may change considerably.

Figure 1: The strange but beautiful opah, Lampris guttatus. Image from swfsc.noaa.gov

The first evidence of a warm blooded fish

Fish are cold blooded, right? Their body temperature is regulated by the temperature of the surrounding water. Well, this may not be the case for all fish. New evidence suggests a species of fish, the opah, is warm blooded! This is the first evidence of full body endothermy in fishes, making this fish kind of a big deal


Offspring inherit trait developed in parents

Damselfish offspring inherit a trait developed by parents raised in warmer temperatures.

Fig. 1. Adult Schoolmaster Snappers (Lutjanus apodus); Source: Florent Charpin, http://reefguide.org/pixhtml/schoolmaster2.html

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!


Growth of a deep-sea predatory fish is affected by surface current strength

A deep-water predatory fish is found to have faster growth rates when productivity is enhanced by the Leeuwin Current along the Southwestern coast of Australia.

Emerald Parrotfish, used with permission from Jim Garin

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

Mahi Mahi Dolphin Fish Dorado Bull Jumping

Too much acid in the mahi: Ocean acidification and larval dolphinfish

How will increased atmospheric carbon dioxide affect your dinner? Larval dolphinfish (or, ‘mahi mahi’) are apparently very sensitive to increased ocean acidification, a product of rising atmospheric CO2. This is one of the first studies of the effects of ocean acidification on the early life stage of a pelagic fish species.

Figure 1. Diversity of colors and patterns in biofluorescent marine fishes (Sparks et al., 2014).

One fish, two fish, red fish… glow fish?

Biofluorescence of coral is well studied, but in this paper, Sparks et al. aimed to investigate the little known details regarding the impact of biofluorescence on the other creatures that thrive in coral reef habitats, specifically the 8,000+ species of fishes. What they found was shocking. Not only is biofluorescence widespread throughout the tree of life for all fishes, it is particularly common and both genetically and environmentally variable in marine lineages. This widespread and previously unrecognized phenomenon gives new insight into the evolution of marine fishes and changes how we think light/visual systems work in the marine environment.


How Coral Size Influences Fish Size

Many fish find a coral colony to host in, living their whole life in that same coral. They must pick carefully, however, for the shape and size of the coral will determine how the fish will grow.

Figure 3:  Diversity of fluorescent patterns and colors in marine fishes.
A, swell shark; B, ray; C, sole; D, flathead; E, lizardfish; F, frogfish; G, false stonefish; H, false moray eel; I, false moray eel; J, pipefish; K, sand stargazer; L, goby; M, goby; N, surgeonfish; O, threadfin bream.

From sea to glowing sea: many fish are found to biofluoresce

Bioluminescence, or light generation, has long caught our eye in the dark ocean water, but researchers have recently discovered how common a biofluorescent glow is in marine fish.


Fish follow climate velocities through space and time

We expect marine species to respond to climate change by either adapting or changing geographical ranges. But observed shifts in marine species distributions are often difficult to decipher, spanning a wide array of directions and rates. Most hypotheses focus on biological differences amongst species to explain changing distributions. The authors of this paper explored climate velocities – or, isotherms moving through space and time – as an explanation for changing species distributions.

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