Member Highlight: New Gene-based Model Suggests, For Microbes, It’s Not Who You Are But What You Do

2017-12-11T16:01:39+00:00 December 8, 2017|

(Credit: Pexels) Amazing diversity hides beneath the surface of the ocean where tiny microbes work busily; transforming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into oxygen, converting sunlight into energy, and breaking down nitrogen gas to serve as food. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science researcher Victoria Coles and her team have developed [...]

Stressed-Out Narwhals Don’t Know Whether To Freeze Or Flee, Scientists Find

2017-12-08T14:12:41+00:00 December 8, 2017|

(Credit: Flip Nicklin/ Minden Pictures/Getty Images) Narwhals — the unicorns of the sea — show a weird fear response after being entangled in nets. Scientists say this unusual reaction to human-induced stress might restrict blood flow to the brain and leave the whales addled. (From NPR/ by Nell Greenfieldboyce) -- The narwhals swim hard and dive [...]

An App And Volunteer Army Are Improving Local Tidal Flood Forecasts

2017-12-08T09:04:41+00:00 December 8, 2017|

(Credit: Virginia Institute of Marine Science) Hundreds of people came out to map the king tides in coastal Virginia in November. Virginia Institute of Marine Science researcher Derek Loftis explains how that is helping the region better prepare as flooding worsens. (From Oceans Deeply/ by Jessica Leber) -- The king tide floods came on a [...]

Satellite Tracking Provides Clues About South Atlantic Sea Turtles’ ‘Lost Years’

2017-12-07T16:50:08+00:00 December 7, 2017|

(Credit: Projeto TAMAR) A University of Central Florida biologist whose groundbreaking work tracking the movements of sea turtle yearlings in the North Atlantic Ocean attracted international attention has completed a similar study in the South Atlantic with surprising results. (From Phys.org) -- South Atlantic sea turtles do not passively ride prevailing currents as historically assumed, [...]

Future Arctic Sea Ice Loss Could Dry Out California

2017-12-07T12:24:48+00:00 December 7, 2017|

(Credit: Graphic by Kathy Seibert/LLNL) Arctic sea ice loss of the magnitude expected in the next few decades could impact California's rainfall and exacerbate future droughts, according to new research led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists. (From Science Daily)-- The dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice cover observed over the satellite [...]

International Whale Shark Research Program Uses NASA Algorithm To Identify, Track Animals

2017-12-06T15:17:13+00:00 December 6, 2017|

Whale shark gliding off Sail Rock in the Gulf of Thailand. (Credit: iStockphoto/Dirk-Jan Mattaar) An international research project tracking whale sharks is being praised as a unique collaboration using 'citizen science' and NASA technology. (From ABC News Australia/By David Weber) -- The project relied on people sending in photos, taken over many years [...]

The Scallop Sees With Space-Age Eyes — Hundreds Of Them

2017-12-06T15:09:24+00:00 December 6, 2017|

Scallop (Credit: Ceri Jones/Haven Diving Services) It’s hard to see what’s so special about a scallop. It looks a lot like a clam, mussel or any other bivalve. Inside its hinged shell lurks a musclebound creature that’s best enjoyed seared in butter. (From New York Times/ By Carl Zimmer) -- But there’s something [...]

New Fish Species Lives 5 Miles Underwater—A Record

2017-12-04T15:47:36+00:00 December 4, 2017|

(Click to enlarge) (Credit: Adam Summers, Friday Harbor Lab, University Of Washington) Scientists have formally identified a new species of snailfish, the deepest ever caught in the Mariana Trench. A related species has been filmed but never collected. (From National Geographic/ By Craig Welch) — It’s cute, almost pink, and about [...]

Jellyfish On The Menu

2017-12-04T16:59:17+00:00 December 4, 2017|

(Click to enlarge) (Credit: University of East Anglia) Squid, sole, dogfish, herring and cod all feed on baby jellyfish – according to new research from the University of East Anglia and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). The moon jellyfish is commonly found around the coastlines of Britain. They’re [...]

Why Are There No Sea Snakes In The Atlantic?

2017-12-04T16:58:35+00:00 November 30, 2017|

Sea snakes are an evolutionary success story. With about 70 species, they're the most diverse reptile group in the ocean, outnumbering sea turtle species 10-to-1. They sport a range of physical adaptations for life at sea, including a flattened oar-like tail for paddling and the abilities to smell underwater, hold their breath for hours and go for months without a drink. And although they're not powerful swimmers, they have spread throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans, ranging from Japan to New Zealand and from South Africa to Central America.

A Model Explains Effects Like The Formation Of Clouds From The Sea

2017-12-04T17:37:40+00:00 November 30, 2017|

All liquids always contain gases in a greater or lesser concentration depending on the pressure and temperature to which it is subjected. These gases almost always end up as more or less small bubbles on the surface of the liquid. When these bubbles explode, especially if they are microscopic, minuscule drops are expelled at great velocity, and the drops almost instantly travel notable distances from the surface of the liquid that they came from.

Melting Ice Could Mess Up Deep-Sea Chemistry

2017-12-04T17:37:38+00:00 November 30, 2017|

Melting glaciers might be making ocean water more acidic, an unexpected finding that's given scientists new cause for concern. A new study published yesterday in the journal Nature Climate Change suggests surprising ways that climate change is drastically altering the water chemistry in deep seas—a process that may happen faster than researchers anticipated.

See What Happens At A ‘Day Spa’ For Whales

2017-12-04T17:37:28+00:00 November 28, 2017|

To graduate student Sarah Fortune, the rocky crags off Baffin Island were just part of its stark beauty. Then, she saw a group of eight bowhead whales rubbing their bodies against the large boulders. Using aerial drones to watch the whales, she saw that they were using the rocks to help remove loose, dead skin.

Antarctic Glacier’s Rough Belly Exposed

2017-11-28T16:54:45+00:00 November 28, 2017|

The melting Antarctic ice stream that is currently adding most to sea-level rise may be more resilient to change than previously recognized. New radar images reveal the mighty Pine Island Glacier (PIG) to be sitting on a rugged rock bed populated by big hills, tall cliffs and deep scour marks.

Jon White – From the President’s Office: 11-27-2017

2017-11-27T16:12:56+00:00 November 27, 2017|

As you recover from a hopefully restful period of giving thanks and feasting, I hope you are getting ready to join the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) for the third biggest giving day of the year - #GivingTuesday. Each year, the NOSB features a theme that is both timely and regionally significant to the Finals [...]

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Receives Fertility Treatment

2017-11-27T14:10:15+00:00 November 27, 2017|

Australian scientists are optimistic that a fertility treatment for coral could help regenerate the Great Barrier Reef. The 2,300 kilometer long coral reef -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- has been extensively damaged by a process known as coral bleaching in which warm water stresses the organism and causes it to die.

Schooling Fish Mainly React To One Or Two Neighbors At A Time

2017-11-24T13:00:11+00:00 November 24, 2017|

The study, published in PLOS Computational Biology, developed a new method combining behavioral analyses with a computer model to map the chain of direct interactions in a school of fish. The international research team, that includes the University of Bristol, found individual fish pay attention to its neighbours when the school moves together.

Combining Tradition And Modern Science To Survive Climate Change In The Pacific Islands

2017-11-23T09:39:35+00:00 November 23, 2017|

When Alifereti Tawake was a boy growing up on Fiji's Kadavu Island, his grandfather would go out fishing in the morning and return before Tawake left for school. "That would be my lunch," Tawake says. "Fresh fish." Over time, his grandfather would stay out for longer and longer stretches of time, until one day in 1988 when he didn't come back at all; his family believes that he died at sea. By then, it was clear to many Fijian fishermen that the marine resources they harvested for food and livelihoods were dwindling. Fiji's shift from a subsistence economy to a commercial one left its coasts largely depleted.

Surfing for Science: Ocean Enthusiasts Could Help Gauge Coastal Warming

2017-11-22T09:08:21+00:00 November 22, 2017|

Researchers want to enlist surfers, scuba divers and anglers to monitor hard-to-reach areas vulnerable to climate change. Satellites are good at measuring temperatures over vast stretches of ocean, but less accurate at monitoring a particularly important type of marine environment—coastlines. Now help could come from an unlikely source: a water sports “navy” of surfers, anglers, scuba divers and others. A U.K.-led team of researchers has proposed this alliance to help gather coastal climate data in a recent paper in Frontiers in Marine Science.

Deeply Talks: Why Plastic Straws Are Key to Fighting Ocean Pollution

2017-11-21T16:08:16+00:00 November 21, 2017|

The world uses 1 billion unrecyclable plastic straws a day – 500 million in the United States – an untold number of which end up in the ocean, polluting the water and coastlines and posing a deadly threat to sea turtles and other marine animals. The Lonely Whale Foundation’s “Strawless in Seattle” campaign resulted in the elimination of 2.3 million disposable plastic straws in the month of September in that city.

Human Teeth Traced To Fish Scales, Cambridge Scientists Say

2017-11-21T15:59:46+00:00 November 21, 2017|

Teeth grew from the scales of primitive shark-like fish millions of years ago, research by scientists suggests. Old lineage cartilaginous fish like sharks, skates and rays that have skin which contained small spiky scales or "dermal denticles" may be the key, scientists say.

Jon White – From the President’s Office: 11-20-2017

2017-11-20T16:08:32+00:00 November 20, 2017|

It’s fairly easy to predict what will happen to the turkeys tomorrow at the traditional pardoning ceremony at the White House. It’s much more difficult to predict what will happen with our weather and climate in the months and years ahead, but one thing we do know is that ocean observations play a crucial role in [...]

Humans Have Cracked The Secrets Of Uncrackable Parrotfish Teeth

2017-11-17T18:36:44+00:00 November 17, 2017|

Have you ever dug your feet into the warm, soft surface of a white sand beach? Felt the fine, dry grains slide pleasurably between your toes? Thank a parrotfish. Specifically, thank it for its poop. Most of the sand on just about every white beach in the world is the product of generations of the strange family of fish digging their sturdy beaks into ocean-floor coral and chewing chunks of rocky organic matter down to powder. And now, researchers know how the swimming weirdos get through their stony meals without cracking their teeth.

Loss Of Protections For Marine Sanctuaries Could Threaten Oceanic Environment And Fisheries, Stanford Experts Say

2017-11-17T10:19:05+00:00 November 17, 2017|

The Trump administration is considering rolling back federal protections for a number of national monuments. While most are on land and relatively accessible, three are deep below the ocean’s surface and many miles from the mainland: the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and the Rose Atoll Marine National Monument, both in the central Pacific Ocean, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument off the coast of New England. While most people will never explore the canyons and reefs of these watery realms, their value is hard to overestimate, according to Stanford scientists with years of experience exploring and studying these and adjacent areas.

Member Highlight: Pacific Island Countries Could Lose 50-80 Percent Of Fish In Local Waters Under Climate Change

2017-11-16T09:14:24+00:00 November 16, 2017|

Many Pacific Island nations will lose 50 to 80 percent of marine species in their waters by the end of the 21st century if climate change continues unchecked, finds a new Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program study published in Marine Policy. This area of the ocean is projected to be the most severely impacted by aspects of climate change.

Mystery “Shadow Patch” In Pacific Hasn’t Moved For 1,000 Years, And Scientists Finally Know Why

2017-11-15T09:34:48+00:00 November 15, 2017|

One patch of water in the center of the Pacific Ocean has remained virtually motionless for the past 1,000 years. Now, a recent study published online in Nature has uncovered some of the secrets of this mysterious "shadow zone," revealing not only why it has remained still for so long, but also what the ocean looked like a millennium ago.

South Africa Tackles Crime At Sea With Ship-Spotting Satellites

2017-11-14T17:53:28+00:00 November 14, 2017|

In October last year, a fishing boat set out from Velddrif, a small town on South Africa’s west coast. It sailed northwest for about 25 nautical miles (46 kilometres), then turned sharply and headed back the way it had come. Staying clear of coastal settlements, it entered the West Coast National Park marine protected area — a strictly no-fishing zone — where it slowed down and began to sail in a zigzag pattern. “It was obvious what they were doing,” says Niel Malan, a marine biologist who works in South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs in Cape Town. “They were poaching.”

Jon White – From the President’s Office: 11-13-2017

2017-11-13T17:14:09+00:00 November 13, 2017|

A new paper published in Nature Communications serves as an excellent reminder of the long-term value of ocean research and data collection.  This paper provides the first holistic analysis of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), which is a legacy of the Census of Marine Life – a global initiative that COL managed for a [...]

For Seagrass, Biodiversity Is Both A Goal And A Means For Restoration

2017-11-09T11:19:34+00:00 November 9, 2017|

Coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests work together to make the Coral Triangle of Indonesia a hotspot for marine biodiversity. The system supports valuable fisheries and endangered species and helps protect shorelines. But it is in global decline due to threats from coastal development, destructive fishing practices and climate change.

Member Highlight: How Wind Might Nudge A Sleeping Giant In Antarctica

2017-11-07T14:15:52+00:00 November 7, 2017|

(Click to enlarge) Research plane over Totten Glacier. (Credit: Image courtesy of Imperial College London) Scientists believe they’ve identified a key process affecting the melting of an enormous glacier in East Antarctica, bigger than the state of California. And the effects may only worsen with future climate change. (From Scientific American / by [...]

Killer Gas Aids Elephant Seals’ Deep Dives

2017-11-07T14:10:02+00:00 November 7, 2017|

Colorless, odorless, and potentially lethal, carbon monoxide is so feared by people that we have special monitors in our homes to detect it. But its accumulation in the blood helps elephant seals make deep dives in the ocean, researchers reported here last week at the biennial meeting of the Marine Mammal Society. Aside from helping explain how elephant seals can stay so deep for so long, the work could one day help people recover from traumatic events like heart attacks and organ transplants.

Jon White – From the President’s Office: 11-06-2017

2017-11-06T17:31:46+00:00 November 6, 2017|

On Friday, I was pleased to see that the administration released the latest Climate Science Special Report, an 800-page examination of the state of climate science that is the first of two volumes of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. This extremely important report represents a Herculean task that involved scientists from multiple federal agencies (including [...]

Member Highlight: Chukchi Mooring Returns A Year Of pH Data

2017-11-06T15:52:06+00:00 November 6, 2017|

(Click to enlarge). The Chukchi Ecosystem Observatory is maintained by a multi-institutional, multi-investigator partnership that includes the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Ocean Observing System, the North Pacific Research Board, Olgoonik-Fairweather, Université Laval, and the University of Washington. On a recent research mission, University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists brought home the first [...]

A Major New U.S. Report Affirms: Climate Change Is Getting Worse

2017-11-03T14:10:42+00:00 November 3, 2017|

Climate change is real. It’s caused by greenhouse-gas pollution released by human industrial activity. Its consequences can already be felt across every region and coastline of the United States—and, unless we stop emitting greenhouse gases soon, those consequences will almost certainly get worse. Those are the headline findings of the Climate Science Special Report, a sweeping and more than 800-page examination of the evidence. The report was published Friday by four agencies of the U.S. government and academics from across the country.

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