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A Mother's Touch

Published 2015-02-10

The three-spined stickleback is a small fish found in coastal waters of the Northern Hemisphere. These fish have a wide variety of colors and morphologies in different habitats, making them a popular subject for genetic studies. In a recent study, Dr. Lisa Shama, Dr. Mathias Wegner, and their colleagues did just that. At the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, the researchers investigated the effects of increased water temperature on the three-spined stickleback in the North Sea. By the year 2100, it is expected that water temperatures in the North Sea... (more)

How can we build reef resilience now?

Published 2015-02-03

What are the ways in which we can foster coral reef resilience in the face of ongoing climate change and increased anthropogenic stress? Researchers from the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology are suggesting the idea of assisted evolution to ensure the survivorship of coral reefs into the future. Coral reefs are amazing organisms that have survived many events through geologic history (including mass extinctions). However, scientists are concerned that the rate of climate and ocean acidification may be faster than the rate at which corals can evolve.... (more)

Baby Corals Adapting to Ocean Acidification

Published 2015-01-27

Even in the presence of threats to coral reef health due to climate change and ocean acidification, baby corals are surprising marine researchers with their ability to adapt and survive. Larval corals face a series of challenges on their way to beginning life as a coral polyp on the ocean floor, a process that is sensitive to changes in the marine environment. Ocean acidification is a process that concerns coral reef scientists because a low pH can greatly upset the life processes of coral organisms. At the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, Dr.... (more)

Ghost ship with war history found off Oahu

Published 2015-01-14

Nearly 2000 feet deep and approximately 20 miles off the coast of Oahu sits a near intact ghost ship with the Navy identification still painted visibly on the bow. Researchers from the University of Hawaii - Hawaii Underwater Research Laboratory (HURL) and NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries announced this discovery in December 2014 after substantial research using HURL's Pisces submersible sonar technology. The researchers, Drs. James Delgado and Hans Van Tilburg, identified the ship as the USS Kailua, which was formally called the Dickenson. This ship was well preserved throughout... (more)

Seagrass Super Power

Published 2014-11-13

Seagrasses occur across the world in tropical and colder regions. They serve an important role in near shore waters, acting as a habitat for small organisms, stabilizing the shoreline and filtering coastal waters. In recent years scientists have discovered that these unassuming underwater plants also act as great carbon sinks. Research has shown that seagrasses can store up to twice as much carbon as the world's temperate and tropical forests! Per square kilometer, seagrass beds can store up to 83,000 metric tons of carbon compared to the average terrestrial forest which stores up to... (more)

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)