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human impacts

This tag is associated with 38 posts

Peace for Coral Reefs

As the world has learned over the past several months, a little solitude goes a long way towards a healthy life. What if coral reefs need time away from humans to be able to live their best lives? Coral reefs, often called the rainforests of the sea, are known to be marvelous colorful ecosystems that […]

In an uncertain future, how might corals survive?

Scleractinian corals form the framework for reef ecosystems but are increasingly threatened. By looking at the coral fossil record, scientists are beginning to understand how corals have survived in the past, and what will happen to them in the future. Elena GadoutsisI can admit, I didn’t take the typical scientist route.  After starting my career […]

VaquitaCPR: Trying to save the world’s most endangered marine mammal

What do you do when the species you’ve been working to save from extinction is down to fewer than 30 individuals? With only thirty vaquita porpoises left in the entire world, despite years of conservation efforts, emergency action needed to be taken in an effort to save the world’s smallest and most endangered porpoise. Julia […]

Let Marine Microbes Be Thy Medicine

The deep sea is a treasure trove of disease-fighting compounds–and is even helping us in the fight against the novel coronavirus. Emily ChuaI am a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University where I am developing an underwater instrument to study the coastal ocean.  I have a multi-disciplinary background in physics and oceanography (and some engineering), and […]

Arctic Unicorns: Understanding the past, present, and future of narwhals and their mysterious tusks

Why do narwhals have tusks that make them look like unicorns? As climate change continues, what is the fate of narwhals and their enigmatic tusks? Two recent studies of these unicorns of the sea start to answer questions about their past, present, and future. Julia ZehI am a second-year PhD student at Syracuse University studying […]

Eating invasive species and the future of sustainable fisheries

Invasive species are a global phenomenon, and have been since modern human society became a global phenomenon. Many of them were brought purposefully as a food source to uncertain new destinations. But can we (and should we) eat our way out of the problem we ate our way into?

Adapting marine parks to survive climate change

Protected areas are generally considered to be parcels of land or water where different kinds of human uses are limited to some degree, in order to safeguard the natural resources, cultural sites, recreational benefits, or other values contained within (or even outside of) the area boundaries. Terrestrial protected areas have existed in some form for […]

Ensuring that coral reefs sound like home

What does a coral reef sound like? The answer is more important than you might think. By playing the sounds of a healthy reef over a loudspeaker, scientists were able to attract a variety of baby fish to settle on a degraded reef, results which show how acoustic interventions are a tool that can be […]

Are dolphins losing their minds in blooming ocean waters?

Polluted water is a great source of food for harmful algal blooms, which release even more toxins into the water. And now scientists say that algal blooms may give dolphins Alzheimer’s disease-like brain damage. Anastasia YandulskayaI am a PhD candidate at Northeastern University in Boston. I study regeneration of the nervous system in water salamanders […]

In the hot seat: Hot spots for pelagic shark movement reflect hot spots for commercial longline fisheries in the North Atlantic.

Check out the latest from Matt Larsen about shark habitat around the globe, and how these areas overlap with fishing hotspots! Matthew LarsenI am a second year master’s student at Coastal Carolina University in the Abel Lab. My interests focus on the ecology and life history of large marine megafauna with a central focus on […]

Lost in the sound: coral planulae habitat selection affected by boat noise

It can be hard to cut through the noises that surround us and focus on the task in front of us, right? This may not just be a human problem. Noise pollution may be another way human activity is negatively affecting corals. Rebecca FlynnI am a graduate of the University of Notre Dame (B.S.) and […]

Oceanic Outlook in the New Government Climate Report

Ocean warming, acidification, sea-level-rise, and increased coastal storm intensities are just some of the stark projections highlighted in a recently-released U.S. Government climate report. Zoe GentesZoe has an M.S. in Oceanography and a B.S. in Geologic Oceanography from URI, with a minor in Writing and Rhetoric. She was recently a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow in […]

Sea snakes join the dark side to cope with pollution

Black sea snakes are more common in contaminated sites. Why? 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 of Fundulus killifish to intermittent (diurnal) patterns of hypoxia.

Crude oil cripples sandpiper flights

Maggini, I., L.V. Kennedy, A. Macmillan, K.H. Elliott, K. Dean, and C.G. Guglielmo. 2017. Light oiling of feathers increases flight energy expenditure in a migratory shorebird. J. Exp. Biol. 202:  2372-2379; doi: 10.1242/jeb.158220. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill On the evening of April 20th 2012, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig rocked the Gulf […]

Paper or plastic? Policies inspired by research to find a solution to plastic pollution

Paper or plastic? In a lot of grocery stores, this is an innocent question, but recently it’s become a controversial issue. We talk about how plastic pollution research has inspired a barrel of policies, and some of the creative new ways people are trying to clean up the earth! Laura ZinkeI am a PhD student […]

BAD BOYZ 2.0. Emerging environmental contaminants

Our generation is facing environmental challenges not only from commonly-known contaminants, but also emerging ones, which have been lurking in the shadows until recently. Check this week’s post to know more about these (sometimes surprising) pollutants, and their effects! Prabarna GangulyI’m a fourth year PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at Northeastern University. My […]

New Nitrogen in Town: Nitrogen Deposition on the Open Ocean

Life in the ocean depends on a variety of nutrients, an important one being nitrogen. Phytoplankton, at the bottom of the oceanic food chain, require it to photosynthesize. Burning fossil fuels releases nitrogen into the atmosphere, and a portion of it is known to settle into the ocean. Has the ocean started to show signs […]

Current connections: how far away coastlines influence marine reserves

A research team used a state-of-the-art model to map how four remote Marine Protected Areas are connected to the surrounding oceans, and how human activities are impacting them from afar. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla California. My research is focused on the Southern Ocean circulation and it’s […]

The end of the line for ocean plastics

A team of researchers set out on an Expedition around the Arctic Ocean to prove what scientists have long suspected: plastic debris is carried by ocean currents to a far corner of the Arctic Ocean where it reaches a dead end and is causing a massive plastic pile up. Veronica TamsittI’m a PhD student at […]

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

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