Other stories worth reading this weekend:
Research from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) reveals that freshwater dolphins produce echolocation signals at much lower sound intensities than marine dolphins. These findings shed light on the evolution of echolocation in toothed whales and suggest that the different in sound intensities started because of the differences in freshwater and marine environments and the prey in those environments.
The National Marine Fisheries Service recently announced that it will determine if sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico are a distinct population that should be listed as threatened or endangered. If Gulf sperm whales are recognized as a distinct population, certain parts of the Gulf could be designated “critical habitat” which would change the way certain activities are managed, such as shipping and drilling.
“Seven Gill Sharks flock to San Diego” from Blue Water Photo
Right on schedule, Sevengill sharks have started appearing in the San Diego area again. They are most commonly seen in the Point Loma kelp area and the La Jolla cove. In the article, you can see some amazing photographs and a video clip of sevengills in San Diego. Also, check out this article from MST contributor Mike Bear to learn more about sevengills.
Researchers from Granada have successfully bred the snakelocks anemone (Anemonia sulcata) for the first time in captivity. The snakelocks anemone is used in gourmet restaurants and other eateries, and the demand for the species is causing their population to decline rapidly. By breeding it in captivity, researchers are hoping to stop the overexploitation and eliminate the damage to the coastal areas where it lives.
A new study shows that thumbtack-sized sea creatures are responsible for maintaining the healthy habitats required by many kinds of seafood. These creatures, little crustacean grazers, protect seagrasses from overgrowth by algae. The seagrass is necessary for many species and without the grazers, the seagrass would die. They are also eaten directly by other species in the area.
“Top 5 Ocean Priorities for the New Secretary of State” from American Progress
In a speech last week, Secretary of State John Kerry discussed many ocean issues, including “the bleaching of coral, the destruction of species, the change in the Arctic because of the ice melt,” and more. This article focuses on the five ocean issues that Secretary Kerry can help with the most.
By studying a fossil of a dwarf baleen whale, researchers from the University of Otago have shown that the whale avoided extinction much longer than previously thought. They believe the fossil is only 700,000 years old. Before this, the youngest fossils were about 3 million years old. These results suggest that the evolution of modern marine mammals during the Ice Age may have happened much more slowly than currently thought.
“Remote reefs can be tougher than they look” from Coral Reef Studies
A new study found that isolated coral reefs are capable of recovering from catastrophic damage, proving current theories wrong. Previously, it was thought that isolated coral recover from damage and were therefore much more vulnerable because there are no nearby reefs to help recolonize the damaged reef. However, this study found that the isolated reef was able to recover because the few surviving corals were allowed to regrow rapidly without any human interference.
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire have documented a rapid expansion of a new, brown, bulbous seaweed, Colpomenia peregrina, called “sea potato.” The seaweed was documented in Nova Scotia in the 1960s, but has never been documented in the U.S. Atlantic coast until now. Based on research from dives and old photographers of the area, the scientists found that the sea potato appeared in 2010 and has spread all the way to the north shore of Cape Cod. It isn’t a problem yet, but researchers are keeping a close eye for ways it could damage local wildlife.
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.