Polar Bears, Small-Headed Sea Snakes and Genetically Modified Fish

Written by on March 20, 2013 in Marine Life

Daily Summary

Polar bear on ice.

Polar bear on ice. Photo credit: Kathy Crane, NOAA Arctic Research Program.

Polar bear hunting and migration ‘hit by warming climate’

Researchers have found that shrinking sea ice is causing polar bears to migrate to land earlier in the spring than usual and stay later into the fall. Climate change is now affecting their health and breeding success because while on land, the polar bears can’t continue to hunt and instead rely on fat reserves to survive. The longer they stay on land, the more their health suffers.
To learn more, read the whole news release: For polar bears, it’s survival of the fattest.

Monster from the deep hits the surface

Less than a year ago, the giant squid, Architeuthis dux, was filmed for the first time in its natural habitat. Before that, parts and pieces of it had been found around the world. Now, by analyzing its DNA, scientists have discovered that no matter where it is found, it is the same species.

Scientists discover reasons behind snakes’ ‘shrinking heads’

Many sea snakes have “comically small heads” which seems impractical, as they swallow their prey whole and many of the fish they eat come equipped with large spines. Researchers have discovered that sea snakes can evolve shrunken heads rapidly to allow them to sneak into hard-to-reach places, like eel burrows.

Slender-necked or black-headed sea snake (Hydrophis melanocephalus).

Slender-necked or black-headed sea snake (Hydrophis melanocephalus). Photo credit: Nemo’s great uncle via photopin cc.

US retailers pledge to not sell GM fish

Back in January, we shared an article about genetically modified salmon that grow twice as fast as normal salmon. The U.S. FDA released a notice stating that it was unlikely to harm the environment or populations of natural, wild salmon. Now, several supermarket chains in the U.S., including Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s, have pledged not to sell this genetically modified salmon. This decision was a response to a campaign led by consumers and environmental groups opposed to the idea of eating genetically modified animals.

UPDATE — April 21
Check out this article from SeafoodSource about the “fuss” over genetically modified salmon and how we are already eating fish that are fed genetically modified ingredients.

Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).

Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Photo credit: Hans-Petter Fjeld (CC-BY-SA).

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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