Other stories worth reading this weekend:
Researchers have revealed migration behaviors of the Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), including patterns of foraging, rest and flight. They found that in the winter, birds spend much less time foraging and in flight than in the breeding season and that when the birds are in the southern hemisphere, they spend much more time resting. This research is critical to conservation efforts and effective management.
Cooke Aquaculture, a Canadian firm, pleaded guilty last week to using illegal pesticides that killed hundreds of lobsters about a mile from Maine’s border. After fishermen reported dead lobsters, the lobsters were examined and found to have been exposed to cypermethrin, a pesticide that is banned in Canada. In addition to paying fines for using the banned substance, the firm will also pay $400,000 in penalties that will fund environmental research.
“Dispatches from Thailand: New Era for Global Shark Conservation Begins” from PEW Environment
Check out this post from PEW Environmental Initiatives to learn about shark conservation and the effort it took to gain protection for sharks at CITES — the only treaty that manages the international wildlife trade at a global level — and what it means for sharks now.
“Fish Use ‘Sign Language’ to Help Out Hunting Buddies” from LiveScience
For the first time, scientists have discovered that two types of fish use a form of sign language to help each other hunt — gestures that have only ever been seen in primates and ravens. Both fish, grouper and coral trout, are known to hunt in cooperatively, but now scientists know that they can point their heads towards prey to help out their hunting partners.
“Ice tubes in polar seas — “brinicles” or “sea stalactites” — provide clues to origin of life” from ACS (link no longer active)
New research suggests that life on Earth may not have originated in warm tropical seas, like previously thought. Instead, researchers have found that life could have originated in “weird tubes of ice” that grown downward in cold seawater at the poles. These hollow ice tubes, called “brinicles” or “sea stalactites” are difficult to study so little is been known about them. This study shows that the brinicles are like a “chemical garden” that could have supported the emergence of life on Earth.
Hvalur, Iceland’s biggest whaling company will resume hunting endangered fin whales for the first time in two years beginning in June. Hvalur’s last whaling efforts were in 2010 when the company killed 148 whales. They didn’t resume in 2011 and 2012 for various reasons, but are ready to start again this season.
Large fishing fleets in the UK have left about 800 tons (worth more than £1m) of their catch quota untouched for years, prompting Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon to try to distribute that remaining quote among small-scale fishing operations. The UK Association of Fish Producer Organizations, however, says the government can’t do that without its consent. The decision will be made by the High Court sometime soon.
“New population of rare Irrawaddy dolphins found in Palawan” from Phys.org
A new population of critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins was recently discovered in the Philippines by a team from WWF-Philippines. They reported seeing at least 20 individuals, a rare occurrence as these marine mammals are usually seen in groups of about six. Irrawaddy dolphins are not true river dolphins; they are oceanic dolphins that live in brackish water near coats, river mouths and estuaries.
“Nova Scotia Government Develops New Aquaculture Regulations” from The Fish Site
New regulations will ensure that aquaculture will develop in a sustainable way. The regulations, determined by law professors, environmental law experts, stakeholders and local community members, will address all possible impacts, benefits and risks that need to be taken into account to ensure sustainable growth.
As requested by the EU, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has released advice on the bycatch of cetaceans and other protected species. The document focuses on management and monitoring, the use of deterrent devices and effectively defining bycatch limits.
“Three years into catch shares, fishing industry faces ‘Day of Reckoning’” from SouthCoastToday
Wednesday marked the start of the fourth year of fishing catch shares and sector management in the Northeast US. It also became known as “The Day of Reckoning” by those in the fishing industry. The name implies that the fishing industry is finally “paying the price of failed management” that has resulted in the collapse of many important species.
By decoding the genome of the green sea turtle and Chinese soft-shell turtle, researchers have unraveled the evolutionary history of turtles and their interesting morphology. They found that turtles are not actually primitive reptiles, but are related to the group comprising birds and crocodilians — the same group that includes dinosaurs. They also found that turtles have a surprisingly large number of olfactory receptors, meaning they have a very good sense of smell for a non-mammalian vertebrate.
“What Stranded Dolphin Guts Reveal” from LiveScience
Although some say it can provide misleading data, scientists can actually learn quite a lot from beached animals. Many think that because dolphins that was ashore are usually sick, they may not provide accurate data, but new research shows that the stomach contents of stranded bottlenose dolphins that was ashore do accurately represent the typical diet of healthy dolphins. In addition, studying beached animals is a much easier way to learn about diet than going out to sea where most cetaceans feed.
Boron nitride, or “white graphene”, is a porous nanomaterial that can be used to clean up organic pollutants more effectively than many other materials. The pores in white graphene can soak up lots of oil and then can easily be cleaned by heating the material which drives the pollutants out of the holes. Once it gets cleaned, it can be reused over and over again.
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.