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food webs

This tag is associated with 26 posts

Catch prey while the sun shines – Herring grow bigger when they can see their food

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a sea creature in possession of a home in higher latitudes (further from the equator), must (on average) possess more size than its mid latitude neighbors. But why should high latitude fish be in possession of such a good fortune? Kristin HuizengaI am a PhD student studying Biological […]

Lionfish, Counting, and Errors, Oh My: Challenges in Measuring Biomass of an Invasive Nuisance 

Invasive lionfish in the Caribbean have been called “ravenous,” “destructive,” and “a living, breathing, devastating oil spill.” The hungry predators also grow differently between similar spots in the Caribbean, which a recent study argues makes the biomass of local lionfish populations hard to estimate accurately. Fine-tuning calculations will help scientists pinpoint how many of the […]

Feces as Food

Urchins and bacteria, working together to link pelagic and benthic ecosystems.

Stuck in the middle with you: The trophic ecology of Caribbean reef sharks and large teleost coral reef predators

We often think of sharks as the top of the ocean food web, chowing down on seals and big fish to their heart’s content. That is often not the case! Where does the Caribbean reef shark fall in this hierarchy? Let’s find out. Grace CasselberryI am currently a Marine Science and Technology Doctoral student at […]

Restoring the links between land and sea

On February 2, we celebrated World Wetlands Day. Wetlands, some of the most productive ecosystems on earth, are threatened. Read on to learn how salt marshes, a type of wetland, can be restored after decades of degradation. Katherine BarrettKate is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Biological Sciences Department at the University of Notre […]

It’s getting cold in here!

As we here into winter, we notice changes taking place in nature all around us. But what do microbes in the ocean do when it gets cold??? Laura ZinkeI am a PhD student studying sediment geomicrobiology at the University of Southern California. My primary research interests lie deep under the sea studying how microorganisms survive […]

How to model climate change in an Arctic food web

The climate is changing, and so are Arctic food webs. But our knowledge of how food webs respond to warmer Arctic water temperatures is incomplete, so scientists use models to help further understanding of future food web scenarios. Katherine BarrettKate is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Biological Sciences Department at the University of […]

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! Erin McLeanHi and welcome to oceanbites! I recently finished my master’s degree at URI, focusing on lobsters and how they respond […]

Big animals face big trouble in our oceans

Many believe we are in the midst of another mass extinction both on land and in the ocean. What marine animals are most at risk of extinction? Using current and past extinction data, researchers were able to pinpoint the most vulnerable types of marine animals. Sean AndersonI am a first year MS candidate at the […]

Why don’t sharks go deep?

Happy Shark Week! Today we examine a persistent and interesting biogeographical puzzle: why are there so few deep sea sharks? 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 metabolic responses […]

Scaredy-crab behavior can alter food webs

Being small crab can be tough. Dodging predators from the land, sea, and air is no small task. A new study focuses on the convergence of individual behavior with ecosystem dynamics, showing how mangrove tree crab behavior may link distinct aquatic and terrestrial food webs. Derrick AlcottDerrick is pursuing a Ph.D. in the Organismic and […]

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? Sean AndersonI am 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 […]

Plankton are eating plastic!

Zooplankton, the tiny animals that make up the base of marine food webs, are ingesting microplastics. Given the widespread abundance of microplastics in the ocean, this finding could have serious ramifications for zooplankton and their predators. Sean AndersonI am a first year MS candidate at the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography. I […]

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. 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 […]

Feeling the heat: how do plankton respond to glacial melting?

The current, and sometimes rapid melting of glaciers and ice sheets is a direct consequence of climate change. Glacial melting on land can leave behind newly formed ice-contact lakes, which are prevalent around the world. These lakes contain high levels of mineral particles, as well as previously trapped inorganic and organic nutrients carried by glacial […]

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 […]

Bottom trawling changes bodies: the new seafloor diet

Seafloor trawling inevitably captures more than the species it is targeting. This means that when the remaining fishes line up at the buffet table, the options they have to choose from may be different than what they like to eat. In this article, Johnson et al., investigate whether two fish species in the Irish Sea […]

How do jellyfish find their prey?

Jellyfish bloom have multiplied over the years, gathering in large quantities in the Norwegian fjords. Researchers used this opportunity to study the jellyfish and understand how efficiently jellyfish can find their zooplankton prey. Valeska UphamFor my fisheries and aquatic science PhD I am working on how to tank raise urchins and transplant them onto reefs […]

Whale skin samples track changes in ocean biogeochemistry

Article: Ruiz-Cooley RI, Koch PL, Fiedler PC, McCarthy MD (2014) Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes from Top Predator Amino Acids Reveal Rapidly Shifting OceanBiochemistry in the Outer California Current. PLoS ONE 9(10): e110355. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110355   Introduction Scientists have devised alternative ways to study ocean food webs using stable isotope analysis – particularly for carbon and nitrogen. […]

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