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Healthy Reefs Make More Baby Corals

Published 2017-10-24

Photo: Kristen Marhaver A new study found that healthy reef coral populations are an important source of the next generation of corals. The study, published in Conservation Letters reports that healthy coral populations produced more offspring per square meter than nearby degraded reef sites. The authors of this study measured live coral cover as a metric of the health on 6 reef sites on the island of Curacao in the Caribbean. Three of the sites were located in an undeveloped area of the island while the other three were in an urban area with higher human impact. The researchers then... (more)

Fuzzy logic modeling: fish at risk

Published 2017-10-10

Photo: Australian Museum A new study published in the journal Global Change Biology, uses a modeling approach to identify fish and shellfish species that are most susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Because there is limited data on the biological ecological attributes in many marine fishes, the authors of this study used a “fuzzy logic approach” to infer the vulnerability levels of species to changes in the environment. This modeling approach accommodates for the inherent variability in the data available and uncertainties that are associated with climate projections and... (more)

Get to know Prochlorococcus!

Published 2017-09-21

Photo: MIT The cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus is the smallest and most abundant photosynthesizing cell in the ocean. The hidden complexity of this microorganism has fascinated scientists for years. Ecotypes of Prochlorococcus live on the surface of the ocean down to 200m and in total, this organism is responsible for about 5% of global photosynthesis. Interestingly, it has about four times as many genes as humans, over 80,000! Science Magazine produced the video below to highlight the amazing characteristics of this microorganism. For more, read about Prochlorococcus and the... (more)

Whale Shark Highways

Published 2017-09-05

Photo: Galapagos Whale Shark Project Unknown to most, August 30th is International Whale Shark Day. While whale sharks are charismatic animals and are important for tourism in many island communities, we still know little about their behavior and movements in the ocean. In a new study published in PlosONE, researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute describe their recent observations of whale shark movements in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. Whale sharks are the largest fishes on Earth and travel long distances to feed on planktonic organisms like copepods or small fish.... (more)

Not potato chips –jellyfish chips!

Published 2017-08-09

Photo: SDU Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have developed new ways to transform jellyfish – a traditional Asian delicacy – into a crispy snack. For thousands of years, jellyfish have been consumed in Asia and are traditionally prepared using salts and alum to extract water from the gel-like tissues. This process of preparation takes over a month from start to finish, creating a limitation to expansion of production of traditionally prepared jellyfish products. While studying these traditional practices, the researchers at the University of Southern Denmark developed a... (more)

Nutritional Stress in Orcas

Published 2017-07-11

Photo: NOAA Fisheries Researchers at the University of Washington have been tracking the Southern Resident killer whale population in the Salish Sea for several years in an effort to track their health and reproduction. The Southern Resident killer whales are endangered with continuing population decline. Debate exists on whether the decline in the whale population is due to food supply, pollutants, or boat traffic. In an effort to resolve this debate, Sam Wasser and colleagues at the University of Washington conducted a multi-year survey of the nutritional, physiological, and reproductive... (more)

Success story: Comeback of the Gray Seals

Published 2017-06-20

Photo: Northeast Fisheries Science Center, NOAA The gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) is found on both the western and eastern shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Gray seals eat a diverse diet of fish, octopus, lobster, skates, and eels and can reach weights of up to 880lb (males) and 550lb (females) in the western Atlantic. Pups are born in the winter in the western Atlantic and in the autumn in the eastern Atlantic. The gray seals were hunted to near extinction in the western Atlantic through the mid 1900’s for oil, meat, and skin. In the 1980’s, after the passing of the 1972 Marine Mammal... (more)

Bleaching in Oahu's Hanauma Bay

Published 2017-05-30

Photo: Catlin Seaview Over 1 million people visit the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve on Oahu, Hawaii every year to snorkel over the reef and see diverse assemblages of fish and invertebrates. Although state laws protect the fish and invertebrate populations of Hanauma Bay, coral cover on the reef is in decline. In addition to local impacts, including damage from human interaction, corals in Hanauma Bay are at risk of decline due to rising ocean temperatures. Since 1999, the Coral Reef Assessment and Monitoring Program (CRAMP) has been monitoring corals in Hanauma Bay. Most recently,... (more)

Big Island's Mesophotic Fish

Published 2017-05-03

Photo: NOAA PIFSC In the waters off Hawaii Island, Hawaii (Big Island) marine researchers have documented fish communities in under-explored mesophotic reefs. These reef communities provide essential habitat for fish and invertebrates and may play an important role in preserving biodiversity. The depth at which these reefs exist (beyond the photic zone) may offer a “refuge” from disturbance and stress as compared to shallower reef environments. However, this depth poses a challenge for marine researchers in collecting and observing the biological communities. Until the development of... (more)

A Whale's Eye View

Published 2017-04-20

Photo: World Wildlife Fund Scientists from the World Wildlife Fund attached cameras to humpback whales in the Antarctic to gather information on where, when, and how the whales feed. These cameras were attached to the whales with suction cups and were accompanied by digital tracking tags. After 48 hours, the cameras detach from the whales and float to the surface. From the videos they collected, scientists are also able to learn more about the whales' social behavior and techniques used to clear ice to breathe at the surface. The purpose of this research is to locate priority feeding areas... (more)