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Sea Ice Sink

Published 2014-09-24

According to recent scientific research, the melting of Arctic sea ice due to global warming is going to have a larger impact on the planet than just reducing the habitats for wildlife like walruses and polar bears. Researchers out of the Nordic Center for Earth Evolution, University of Southern Denmark and the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk, have discovered that polar ice actually plays a large role in absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere. Scientists have known for a while that the ocean acts as a huge sink for CO2, but oceans covered in ice were always discounted because... (more)

Tuna tagging goes high tech

Published 2014-09-01

The Atlantic bigeye tuna is an important commercial fish in the United States, but, until recently, very little was known about their movements or foraging behaviors. Understanding where a fish stock travels, and how and where it finds food is critical information for sustainable fisheries management. Studying migratory fish populations can be challenging, though. Commonly it involves a lot of people putting tags on fish, retrieving those tags when they are caught by the fishing community and then downloading the data. In the Pacific, 400,000 tags have been deployed on tuna over 25 years... (more)

Whales are the farmers of the sea

Published 2014-08-25

Whales have been revered by many for their beauty, size, incredibly deep dives and complex forms of communication. Scientists have now added another reason to admire these remarkable marine mammals. It seems that whales play a huge role in fertilizing microbial ocean plants with their poop! Iron is a key mineral needed by phytoplankton to photosynthesize. Until recently, researchers believed most of the iron in the ocean originated from atmospheric dust, ice bergs, sediments from continental shelves and underwater volcanoes. New studies have shown that the feces of large marine... (more)

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)