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Unexpected outcomes of annual coral bleaching

Published 2014-08-18

Most studies investigating the affect of future bleaching events on corals fail to incorporate laboratory or field studies of individual corals that experience repeat bleaching events. Typically, models take into account information on how specific coral species deal with a single bleaching event, forecast temperature events into the future, and assess the likelihood of survival given the one time response to bleaching. A recent study published in Global Change Biology by Grottoli et al. used a combination of laboratory and field techniques to assess the response of three coral species to... (more)

'Octomom' guards her eggs for nearly 4.5 yrs

Published 2014-08-11

A deep-sea octopus (Graneledone boreopacifica) has officially been recorded as having the longest egg-brooding period ever recorded - nearly 4.5 years! Bruce Robison and team from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California uses remotely operated vehicles off the Monterey Submarine Canyon approximately 1400 meters deep. On one of their return trips to this canyon, the scientists spotted an octopus guarding her egg clutch (155-165 eggs). In shallow water species, octopus are known to guard their clutch 24 hours a day, not even leaving to feed, in order to ensure... (more)

DIY Underwater Robot

Published 2014-08-04

After discussing the amazing new underwater robot designed like an octopus last week (which you're unlikely to get your hands on), in this week's blog we are discussing how you can build your very own underwater remotely operated vehicle to explore the ocean yourself. OpenROV is an open-source community to help individuals build their own underwater robots for both exploration and education. As such, these can be exceptionally useful tools for both research and for the classroom. Here's how it works: you can either buy an OpenROV Kit which will cost you about $800 or build one from scratch... (more)

Octopus drone

Published 2014-07-28

The new era of underwater robotics is taking shape in an unusual form - an octopus. Often inventions are inspired by the natural world, and building a a new robot mimicking an octopus is another invention that may prove to be a true game-changer. Typically robots are made of hard material, however, this new robot is approximately 80% soft material (silicon to be precise). These softer materials allow the robot to swim, walk and crawl. The robot can therefore attach itself to any benthic substrate, and hold and manipulate tools. While this product is far from fully developed, researchers have... (more)

Octopus drone

Published 2014-07-28

The new era of underwater robotics is taking shape in an unusual form - an octopus. Often inventions are inspired by the natural world, and building a a new robot mimicking an octopus is another invention that may prove to be a true game-changer. Typically robots are made of hard material, however, this new robot is approximately 80% soft material (silicon to be precise). These softer materials allow the robot to swim, walk and crawl. The robot can therefore attach itself to any benthic substrate, and hold and manipulate tools. While this product is far from fully developed, researchers have... (more)

Mangroves moving North

Published 2014-07-21

One interesting outcome of climate change is that many species will experience range shifts, many of which are expected to do so during this century. Currently, all species live in some organism-specific niche space, meaning an organism requires certain environmental conditions to survive (or are dependent on some resource that is only available under specific climatic conditions). Climate change is therefore expected to shift this niche space, which could increase, decrease, or geographically shift a species' available habitat (in space or time). For example, increasing temperatures could... (more)

Northern anchovies cover California coast

Published 2014-07-14

Scientists of the Scripps Pier in La Jolla, California witnessed the biggest northern anchovy aggregation in over 30 years on July 8, 2014; the aggregation is now starting to wane. According to local fisherman, Northern anchovy populations started to dwindle in the 1940s-1950s. Today Northern anchovy is mainly harvested for fish meal and fish bait while in the past it was a huge industry for seafood and oil. The multi-million fish aggregation formed a beautiful dark band, or underwater cliff, along the coast of California. No one knows exactly why this aggregation suddenly formed, but some... (more)

The 48-hr tuna season – Are stocks recovered?

Published 2014-07-07

The 2014 Mediterranean Sea Atlantic bluefin tuna purse seine season opened on May 26th and within 48 hours several countries had already reached their quotas. Bluefin tuna populations have been on the brink of collapse for more than a decade and many are now wondering if this year’s catch indicates a complete and successful recovery. While the record-breaking short season does suggest an amazing recovery of blufin tunas, it does not provide evidence that all populations are recovered and thriving. However, this season does suggest if we keep managing populations as we have been, or even... (more)

Penguin Controversy among scientists

Published 2014-06-30

Several research programs have released study results over the past few months claiming opposing arguments about the future of Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) colonies. On one side of the argument, researchers from the Universty of Minnesota found six instances of penguin colonies who changed breeding grounds in the span of only three years. Previously, scientists had only recorded emperor penguins returning to nesting grounds, similar to other birds and sea turtles. This new finding was especially surprising given that some colonies moved as much as 30 meters (~100 feet) up steep ice... (more)

Teacher's Institute at HIMB

Published 2014-06-23

The Climate Science Teacher's Institute (CSTI) is currently underway at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. CSTI is a COSEE run program teaching middle and high school teachers the fundamentals of climate science with a special focus on marine biology in Hawaii. The teachers are an enthusiastic crowd and thus far learned about earth and atmospheric systems, climate variability, paleoclimate, climate projections under different emission scenarios and how climate change is affecting coral reef ecosystems and other marine communities. We've had several fantastic guest speakers and will... (more)