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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)

Our Ocean 2014

Published 2014-06-16

On June 16-17, 2014 the US Department of State is hosting Our Ocean conference focused on sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and ocean acidification. What makes this conference stand out in the marine science arena is that it is promoted and developed by Senator John Kerry and involves individual practitioners, advocates and lawmakers, and, more importantly, the conference focuses on solutions rather than problems. The goal of this conference is to come up with ideas for tangible actions and policies that can improve the future of our oceans by the time the conference concludes. See... (more)

Mixed effects of temperature and OA on CCA

Published 2014-06-09

Much of research today is focused on how increasing ocean temperatures and acidification will impact our ocean, and of particular interest are effects on coral reef ecosystems. While increasing ocean temperatures are thought to facilitate negative processes on coral reefs, such as pathogen growth, acidification threatens the structure of many potential hosts such as coral and coralline algae suggesting the effect of these two stressors may be more complex than we originally thought. Several graduate students at the University of Hawaii were involved in a research project examining temperature... (more)

Photo-identifying seahorses

Published 2014-06-02

Off the southern tip of Portugal lays a semi-enclosed lagoon which once was home to the densest known population of seahorses in the world. Studies conducted a decade after those reports confirmed population declines in two sympatric species of 94% and 87%. Thus, seahorse conservation is of high interest in the region. Most studies estimating population densities and distributions use tagging and mark-recapture techniques that are invasive to the organism and may cause stress; a less invasive option that has been successful for several animal populations is photo-identification. Correia... (more)

Eelgrass wasting disease part deux

Published 2014-05-26

Following up with last's weeks blog, this week I will discuss a more recent study on eelgrass wasting disease that I had the opportunity to assist during field and laboratory trials. This research was recently published in the journal 'Diseases of Aquatic Organisms' by Groner et al. While epidemics of eelgrass wasting disease are less common than in the early 1900s, potentially due evolutionary changes in host resistance, seagrasses and eelgrasses are still vulnerable in many parts of the world. In the Pacific Northwest (US) there have been several areas where seagrass has declined over... (more)