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Warming oceans spreading marine diseases

Published 2016-02-16

Photo credit: CBS News As ocean temperatures increase, many marine scientists are concerned about the accelerated spreading of marine diseases. In a special disease-themed issue of the journal, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, two Cornell University studies highlighted the immediate need to understand the impacts of climate change on marine diseases. (Maynard et al. 2016) The Maine lobster is an economically important species and a large portion of the New England fishing industry. Shell diseases have had strong impacts on the southern Main lobster fishing industry... (more)

Ship noise overlaps with whale frequencies

Published 2016-02-02

In the Salish Sea, off the coast of Washington State, three pods of orcas (J, K, and L) make up the Southern Resident Killer Whale population. This population of orcas is designated as endangered and is tracked closely by researchers to monitor their health, survival, and movement. J, K, and L pods each have a distinct dialect of clicks, whistles, and calls that are used to hunt and communicate. The Southern Residents primarily eat Chinook Salmon, another endangered species in the Pacific Northwest. In a recent study, researchers have found that ship noises in the heavily traveled... (more)

Challenge to reform STEM education

Published 2016-01-12

Graphic source: National Science Foundation STEM Education As scientific research technologies develop, education instructional methods are changing to prepare students in STEM disciplines to meet career challenges in the 21st century. In the past few decades, inquiry-based instruction methods have become more prevalent in an attempt to increase student engagement and development of real world skills. While many K-12 schools have shifted towards this problem-solving and integrative teaching strategy, some argue that universities and colleges are behind the pace. A group at Michigan State... (more)

Light Pollution Alters Coral Spawning

Published 2015-12-29

As development in coastal areas increases, scientists are concerned about the impact of light pollution on marine life. Light pollution is most commonly known to affect sea turtle hatchling behavior, altering their movements when they confuse city lights with moonlight. Now, biologists in Israel and Australia are finding that exposure to artificial light may hinder the reproductive capacity of corals. Coral spawning is triggered my the amount of moonlight during certain lunar phases. Because coral spawning is one of the most important processes for persistence of reef building corals, a... (more)

Fishy Business: Seafood Labeling

Published 2015-12-15

New policies implemented in Europe to halt fish fraud may be working, according to a new study from European researchers. As economic pressure rises in fish markets because of decreases in resources and an increase in demand, labeling fraud has become a more prevalent issue. In the past few years, a series of scientific studies have found that up to 40% of seafood products including cod, tuna, hake, and plaice are mislabeled. In an effort to increase transparency and consumer trust, the European Union has put new policies in place to combat fish fraud. As part of the LABELFISH project... (more)

Important seaHarmony Updates!

Published 2015-12-02

We’ve been busy lately! Announcing some amazing new seaHarmony features! LOCATIONS We are very happy to announce that seaHarmony is now available worldwide! Ocean science professionals in over 240 countries can now create a seaHarmony profile to find collaborators in their region, or anywhere around the world. Want to identify possible education partners halfway across the globe for a field project? Now you can! Invite your international colleagues to join – the more members, the more helpful seaHarmony becomes. We’ve also added a few upgrades to enhance your... (more)

Macroscopic animals to microscopic parasites

Published 2015-12-01

The sophistication of genomic methods has allowed scientists to explore complex questions in the evolution of life on Earth. Recently, researchers at the University of Kansas discovered that jellyfish may have evolved over time into “odd microscopic organisms” composed of a few cells that live as parasites in other animals. These highly reduced cnidarians have sparked interesting discussion on what makes an animal, an animal. The “odd microscopic organisms” are called myxozoans, which are a diverse group of microscopic parasites that infect vertebrate and invertebrate hosts.... (more)

Paying attention to oceans in climate change

Published 2015-11-17

Photo: NOAA PIFSC Later this month, world leaders will gather in Paris to discuss and negotiate international climate change mitigation strategies. Many ocean scientists are arguing that oceans deserve more attention in these conversations. A review paper published in Science in November by University of Washington professor of marine and environmental affairs, Edward Allison, looked at the relationship between scientific understanding of the changes in the world’s oceans and how people are responding to those changes. The responses of communities to change include denial, planned... (more)

The Cod Comeback

Published 2015-10-27

Although it is important to understand the problems facing marine ecosystems, it is just as important to study conservation success stories and take lessons from these events to shape future work. Often referred to as the “icon” of overfishing and fisheries mismanagement, the northern Atlantic cod is now viewed instead as a success story in conservation. According to new research from Rose and Rowe (2015), the populations of northern Atlantic cod are making a comeback and recovering from stock decline. Due to overfishing, the northern Atlantic cod populations plummeted in the 1990’s and... (more)

Collapsing food chains under climate change

Published 2015-10-13

Its been said many times before: rising temperatures and ocean acidification are detrimental to marine habitats across the globe and impact each species in diverse ways. Many studies have focused on the impacts of climate change on a certain type of organism or habitat, but fewer have looked at how these processes impact ecosystems as a whole. In a recently published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers Nagelkerken and Connell report the findings of a meta-analysis that analyzes data from 632 past studies that report on climate change influence in... (more)