How Scientists Use Bioluminescent Deep-Sea Creatures To Fight Cancer

2018-01-25T10:55:40+00:00 January 25, 2018|

(Credit: E/V Nautilus) Determining whether new immunotherapies are successfully fighting cancer cells can be difficult and expensive. Creatures from the depths of the ocean might be able to change that. (From Oceans Deeply/ By Matthew O. Berger) -- Those were the findings of a recent research project, and they underscore what a number of scientists [...]

World-first Uses Satellites And Ocean Models To Explain Antarctic Seafloor Biodiversity

2017-12-12T12:50:53+00:00 December 12, 2017|

Under-ice seafloor community in O'brien Bay showing a diverse community of marine invertebrates. (Credit: Jonny Stark/Australian Antarctic Division) In a world-first, a research team of Australian and international scientists has used data collected by satellites and an ocean model to explain and predict biodiversity on the Antarctic seafloor. (From -- The researchers [...]

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 [...]

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 -- South Atlantic sea turtles do not passively ride prevailing currents as historically assumed, [...]

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.

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.

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.

Life Goes On For Marine Ecosystems After Cataclysmic Mass Extinction

2017-10-24T16:09:55+00:00 October 24, 2017|

One of the largest global mass extinctions did not fundamentally change marine ecosystems, scientists have found. An international team of scientists, including Dr. Alex Dunhill from the University of Leeds, has found that although the mass extinction in the Late Triassic period wiped out the vast proportion of species, there appear to be no drastic changes to the way marine ecosystems functioned.

Giant Sea Bass Worth More Alive As Undersea Wonders Than As Commercial Catch

2017-10-24T12:33:17+00:00 October 18, 2017|

Almost as large as a Smart car, giant sea bass can weigh more than 500 pounds and grow longer than 6 feet. At this size, they are the largest bony fish found along the California coast. Once commercially important, these gentle giants were overfished in the 1900s, leading to the collapse of the fishery in the 1970s. Now, they are classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, making them as imperiled as the black rhino.

Smallest Ichthyosaurus Ever Found Was Squid-Eating Newborn, Research Reveals

2017-10-12T18:04:52+00:00 October 5, 2017|

A museum specimen has revealed details of the early life of a marine reptile from the Age of Dinosaurs. Not all new palaeontology discoveries are made on dramatic rocky outcrops. Sometimes dusty drawers in the back-rooms of museums are the source of exciting discoveries. A new study by Dean Lomax, a researcher at the University of Manchester, and colleagues on a previously neglected specimen in the the Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham, UK, has increased our knowledge of how the youngest ichthyosaurs - a group of extinct marine reptiles - lived and fed.

Six New Sponge Species And New Symbiotic Associations From The Indonesian Coral Triangle

2017-09-20T09:03:14+00:00 September 20, 2017|

Comprising more than 17,000 islands, the Indonesian archipelago is one of the world's most biodiverse places on Earth. Sponges, aquatic organisms whose bodies consist of numerous pores to allow the ingress of water, are key components of this richness and play a fundamental role in the survival of coral reef habitats. Furthermore, they are also known for their medicinal benefits.

Old Fish Few And Far Between Under Fishing Pressure

2017-09-20T09:00:58+00:00 September 20, 2017|

Like old-growth trees in a forest, old fish in the ocean play important roles in the diversity and stability of marine ecosystems. Critically, the longer a fish is allowed to live, the more likely it is to successfully reproduce over the course of its lifetime, which is particularly important in variable environmental conditions.

‘Weedy’ Fish Species To Take Over Our Future Oceans

2017-07-07T10:40:11+00:00 July 7, 2017|

University of Adelaide researchers have for the first time demonstrated that the ocean acidification expected in the future will reduce fish diversity significantly, with small 'weedy' species dominating marine environments. Published today in Current Biology, the researchers studied species interactions in natural marine environments at underwater volcanic vents, where concentrations of CO2 match those predicted for oceans at the end of the century. They were compared with adjacent marine environments with current CO2 levels.

In Hot Water: Climate Change Harms Hot Spots Of Ocean Life

2017-03-02T11:09:16+00:00 March 2, 2017|

The six ocean hot spots that teem with the biggest mix of species are also getting hit hardest by global warming and industrial fishing, a new study finds. An international team looked at more than 2,100 species of fish, seabirds, marine mammals and even tiny plankton to calculate Earth's hot spots of marine biodiversity.

Fish Seek Cooler Waters, Leaving Some Fishermen’s Nets Empty

2017-01-03T14:30:18+00:00 January 3, 2017|

POINT JUDITH, R.I. — There was a time when whiting were plentiful in the waters of Rhode Island Sound, and Christopher Brown pulled the fish into his long stern trawler by the bucketful. “We used to come right here and catch two, three, four thousand pounds a day, sometimes 10,” he said, sitting at the wheel of the Proud Mary — a 44-footer named, he said, after his wife, not the Creedence Clearwater Revival song — as it cruised out to sea.

New U.S. Law Poised To Improve Marine Conservation Worldwide

2016-12-21T09:15:51+00:00 December 21, 2016|

New restrictions on U.S. seafood imports, which will require seafood to be harvested in accordance with the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), will likely offer significant marine conservation benefits on a global scale. In this Policy Forum, Rob Williams et al. highlight the impacts and challenges involved in this endeavor. The U.S. is the largest importer of seafood in the world, accepting marine catches from more than 120 countries. Best case scenario, countries will comply and marine species will benefit from improved protection. Worst case, countries could suffer economically from not being able to export to the US, and/or choose not to comply.

Six New Species Discovered Deep Underwater At Thermal Vent In Indian Ocean

2016-12-21T09:06:39+00:00 December 21, 2016|

A geological expedition to the southwest Indian Ocean in November 2011 made a highly unusual find, at least insofar as its own stated goals: six new species of underwater creatures that had never been seen before. A team of researchers, led by Jon Copley of the University of Southampton used a remotely operated vehicle to explore the area the size of a football field at a site called Longqi, or Dragon’s Breath, which is about 1,200 miles southeast of Madagascar and about 2 miles below the ocean surface. Longqi is home to a number of hydrothermal vents, where heat escaping from below the ocean floor attracts a diverse range of deep sea creatures.

‘Casper Octopod Under Threat From Deep Sea Mining’

2016-12-21T09:00:26+00:00 December 21, 2016|

A deep sea octopod, dubbed "Casper" after the film ghost because of its appearance, could be at risk from mining, scientists say. The animal, possibly a new species, was discovered last spring at depths of more than 4,000 metres (2.5 miles). Studies suggest females nurture their eggs for several years on parts of the seabed that contain valuable metals.

Marine Biologists Observe Sea Life After The 2011 Tsunami

2016-12-21T08:55:09+00:00 December 21, 2016|

The tsunami of 2011 is well remembered in Japan. Some towns have recovered, while others struggle to return to a life that once was. The same is true for ecosystems. In a new study in PLOS ONE, Japanese researchers report how the sea life in different coastal regions of Japan struck by the tsunami have flourished or faltered. "We watched in real time an ecosystem recover from a large natural disaster," said Reiji Masuda, who directs the Maizuru Fisheries Research Station at Kyoto University and led the study. "We could observe how species recovered and whether any invading species could thrive."

Invasive Fish Threat To Kelp Forests

2016-12-19T11:24:10+00:00 December 19, 2016|

Seaweed-eating fish are becoming increasingly voracious as the ocean warms due to climate change and are responsible for the recent destruction of kelp forests off the NSW north coast near Coffs Harbour, research shows. The study includes an analysis of underwater video, covering a 10-year period between 2002 and 2012, during which the water warmed by 0.6 degrees. "Kelp forests provide vital habitat for hundreds of marine species, including fish, lobster and abalone," says study first author Dr Adriana Vergés of UNSW and the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.

New Marine Life Found In Deep Sea Vents

2016-12-19T11:13:11+00:00 December 19, 2016|

Six new animal species have been identified at deep-sea vents beneath the Indian Ocean. The remote area is home to life not seen elsewhere in the world's oceans, yet has been earmarked for future mineral exploration. Hydrothermal vents form at locations where seawater meets magma. They are surrounded by a large number of organisms that are new to science. The latest finds include worms, snails and a crab.

Who Needs A Body? Not These Larvae, Which Are Basically Swimming Heads

2016-12-15T13:10:23+00:00 December 15, 2016|

Graduate student Paul Gonzalez at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station recently became a hunter, breeder and farmer of a rare marine worm, all to fill in a considerable gap in our understanding of how animals develop. He knew that some animals go through a long larval stage, a developmental strategy known as indirect development, and this rare worm was his chance to better understand that process.

New Study Shows Ocean Acidification Accelerates Erosion Of Coral Reefs

2016-11-29T11:31:06+00:00 November 29, 2016|

Scientists studying naturally high carbon dioxide coral reefs in Papua New Guinea found that erosion of essential habitat is accelerated in these highly acidified waters, even as coral growth continues to slow. The new research by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School's Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies (CIMAS), NOAA, and the Australian Institute of Marine Science has important implications for coral reefs around the world as the ocean become more acidic as a result of global change.

Ocean Acidification Study Offers Warnings For Marine Life, Habitats

2016-11-23T12:11:44+00:00 November 23, 2016|

Acidification of the world's oceans could drive a cascading loss of biodiversity in some marine habitats, according to research published Monday in Nature Climate Change. The work by biodiversity researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and colleagues in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Japan and China, combines dozens of existing studies to paint a more nuanced picture of the impact of ocean acidification.

Fish Turn On Genes To Adapt To Climate Change

2016-10-31T10:47:43+00:00 October 31, 2016|

Certain marine species could adapt quickly to climate change by tinkering with their genes. Recent research from the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence off the Labrador Peninsula found that the types of winter skate—a flat, cartilaginous species of fish—were changing their body structure to better suit the area’s warmer waters. But they weren’t evolving. Instead, they were simply switching which genes they chose to “turn on.”

Warming Temperatures Can Reduce Marine Diversity But Increase Freshwater Species

2016-10-11T11:51:52+00:00 October 6, 2016|

In contrast to previous research, scientists have found that habitat warming can reduce the diversity of species in marine environments, but increase speciation in freshwater habitats. Scientists from the University of Bath's Milner Centre for Evolution working with colleagues at the University of York have shown that for an important group of aquatic crustaceans called the Anomura, which includes hermit crabs, king crabs and squat lobsters, habitat warming decreases species diversity in marine environments.

Researcher Behind Seagrass Biodiversity Analysis Cites Key Role In Food Chain

2016-09-16T12:51:56+00:00 September 16, 2016|

A new analysis of a key contributor to the marine food web has turned up a surprising twist: more unique species in cooler waters than in the tropics, a reversal of the situation on land. The findings highlight the need to direct limited conservation dollars according to science, with a focus on places where biodiversity is most at risk, said Barnabas Daru, Harvard Herbaria Postdoctoral Fellow in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, who performed the analysis on the world's 70 species of seagrass.

What The ‘Sixth Extinction’ Will Look Like In The Oceans: The Largest Species Die Off First

2016-09-15T10:39:37+00:00 September 15, 2016|

We mostly can’t see it around us, and too few of us seem to care — but nonetheless, scientists are increasingly convinced that the world is barreling towards what has been called a “sixth mass extinction” event. Simply put, species are going extinct at a rate that far exceeds what you would expect to see naturally, as a result of a major perturbation to the system.

Lack Of Data Increases Risk To Species’ Survival

2016-02-09T10:30:35+00:00 February 4, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) 'Data Deficient' labelling prevents species from appearing on the Red List as endangered or at risk and so prevents them from receiving the conservation attention they urgently require. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons) Incomplete information is leaving many endangered species off conservation priorities.(From Science Daily) -- The majority of species are poorly known, many [...]

Mystery Solved? How Sharks Find Their Way Home

2016-01-07T14:30:14+00:00 January 7, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Great white shark. (Credit: Ken Bondy/Flickr/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) How sharks navigate the vast and seemingly featureless ocean has long been a mystery. Now there’s evidence they may follow their noses.(From National Geographic / by Traci Watson) -- Sharks rely on their sense of smell to help chart a path through the ever-shifting waters of the deep seas, [...]

Protecting Ocean Species

2016-01-04T15:28:54+00:00 January 4, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Vibrant Marine Biodiversity - Naigani, Fiji (Credit: Nick Hobgood) New study offers strategic guidance on the placement of marine protected areas to meet global conservation goals.(From Science Daily) -- Thousands of marine species with mapped locations worldwide remain largely unprotected, according to a new study by a team of international marine [...]

Giant Sea Spiders In Arctic Ocean Puzzle Scientists

2016-01-04T15:26:15+00:00 January 4, 2016|

(Click to enlarge) Sea spiders have long legs and a very small body. The number of walking legs is usually eight (four pairs), but species with five and six pairs have been seen. A proboscis allows them to suck nutrients from soft-bodied invertebrates. Their digestive tract has diverticula extending into the legs. (Credit Wikimedia [...]