Author Archives: Matthew Stansbery
“Production has so far exceeded our greatest expectations,” said researcher Christofer Troedsson of Uni Research. Against a backdrop of mountains and fjords, eight people worked intensively for two weeks to collect 30 tons of tunicates, which were then washed, pressed, dried and ground into animal and fish feed. “This is really exciting. We’ve gone from small-scale experiments to a large-scale pilot project,” said Troedsson. He is one of those who saw the potential a few years ago of the slimy tunicates which have always been a nuisance for boat owners, including shellfish growers. Read more here!… More:
In the first global assessment of its kind, a science team led by researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego has produced a landmark report on the impact of fishing on a group of fish known to protect the health of coral reefs. The report, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences), offers key data for setting management and conservation targets to protect and preserve fragile coral reefs.Beyond their natural beauty and tourist-attraction qualities, coral reefs offer economic value estimated at billions of dollars for societies around the world. Scripps Master’s student Clinton Edwards, his advisor Jennifer Smith, and their colleagues at the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps, along with scientists from several international institutions, have pieced together the first global synthesis on the state of plant-eating fish at coral reef sites around the world. These herbivorous fish populations are vital to coral reef health due to their role in consuming seaweed, making them known informally as the “lawnmowers” of the reef. Without the lawnmowers, seaweeds can overgrow and out-compete corals, drastically affecting the reef ecosystem. Read more here!… More:
Unlike other marine species, the corals are still capable of adapting under current circumstances of sea acidification, reveled by researchers at the Center of Biological Research of the Northeast (Cibnor). “The first models indicated that the coral reefs would disappear midcentury, but our study reveals that corals are adapting to the ocean’s acidification that has increased since the industrial revolution”, Eduardo Balart Páez said, head of research. The project is performed along the Gulf of California and the coast of the Mexican Pacific, where a natural acidification gradient exists. The scientist analyzed colonies of Porites and Pocillopora, which are the more important species in the reefs of the Oriental Pacific Ocean. Read more here!… More:
USGS scientists have determined that high-salinity groundwater found more than 1,000 meters (0.6 mi.) deep under the Chesapeake Bay is actually remnant water from the Early Cretaceous North Atlantic Sea and is probably 100-145 million years old. This is the oldest sizeable body of seawater to be identified worldwide.
Twice as salty as modern seawater, the ancient seawater was preserved like a prehistoric fly in amber, partly by the aid of the impact of a massive comet or meteorite that struck the area about 35 million years ago, creating Chesapeake Bay. Read more here!… More:
Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have developed a method for greatly enhancing biofuel production in tiny marine algae. As reported in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Scripps graduate student Emily Trentacoste led the development of a method to genetically engineer a key growth component in biofuel production. In the quest to loosen humanity’s dependence on traditional fossil fuel consumption, and with it rising concentrations of carbon dioxide and their damaging impacts on the environment, finding economically viable fuels from biological sources has been elusive. Read more here!… More:
A study published in the journal ‘Zootaxa’ by the University of Seville (Spain) and the Museum of Natural History in Canada describes a new species of marine crustacean found on the coast of California (USA). As José Manuel Guerra García, the main author of the study, explains to SINC: “This new species presents differences relative to other examples of the same genus in the dorsal protuberances on its body, as well as in its legs, pincers and abdomen.”
The researchers have named this new crustacean Liropus minusculus on account of its small size. The males measure only around 3.3 mm and the females 2.1 mm. The appearance of this animal for the first time in the northeast Pacific enables us to find out about the biogeographical patterns of the genus and understand its speciation processes. Read more here!… More:
Traditionally, it was assumed that corals do not face a risk of extinction unless they become very rare or have a very restricted range. A team of scientists from the University of Hawaii — Manoa (UHM), Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has revealed that global changes in climate and ocean chemistry affect corals whether scare or abundant, and often it is the dominant, abundant corals with wide distributions that are affected the most. The researchers evaluated both the geologic record of past extinctions and recent major events to assess the characteristics of dominant corals under various conditions. They determined that during periods advantageous to coral growth, natural selection favors corals with traits that make them more vulnerable to climate change. Read more here!… More:
Gorgonians are a type of soft corals easily distinguishable by the complex branching shape, which has also probably inspired their name, coming from the Gorgon Medusa- a creature from the Greek mythology that had hair made of venomous snakes. The existence of Medusa outside myth might be debatable, but gorgonian corals do exist and decorate our ocean with complex patterns and vibrant colors.
In a major new international report, experts conclude that the acidity of the world’s ocean may increase by around 170% by the end of the century bringing significant economic losses. People who rely on the ocean’s ecosystem services – often in developing countries – are especially vulnerable. A group of experts have agreed on ‘levels of confidence’ in relation to ocean acidification statements summarising the state of knowledge. The summary was led by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and results from the world’s largest gathering of experts on ocean acidification ever convened. The Third Symposium on the Ocean in a High CO2 World was held in Monterey, California (September 2012), and attended by 540 experts from 37 countries. The summary will be launched at the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Warsaw, 18 November, for the benefit of policymakers. Read more here!… More:
Animals living on the abyssal plains, miles below the ocean surface, don’t usually get much to eat. Their main source of food is ”marine snow”—a slow drift of mucus, fecal pellets, and body parts—that sinks down from the surface waters. However, researchers have long been puzzled by the fact that, over the long term, the steady fall of marine snow cannot account for all the food consumed by animals and microbes living in the sediment. A new paper by MBARI researcher Ken Smith and his colleagues shows that population booms of algae or animals near the sea surface can sometimes result in huge pulses of organic material sinking to the deep seafloor. In a few weeks, such deep-sea “feasts” can deliver as much food to deep-sea animals as would normally arrive over years or even decades of typical marine snow. Read more here!… More: