This Week in Marine Science

Written by on August 16, 2013 in Other News

Other stories worth reading this weekend:

American military, wildlife learning to coexist
Check out this really interesting piece about how the military interacts with wildlife. In the case of active fighting, obviously the outcome is bad for everyone involved–people and wildlife. But in some cases when land is designated for training purposes, wildlife can greatly benefit from the lack of human interaction. On the nearly 30 million acres of land managed by the U.S. military live 420 federally listed endangered or threatened species and 523 other at-risk species.

Young humpback whale.

Young humpback whale. Photo credit: D. Gordon E. Robertson.

Baby humpback whale freed from shark nets in Australia
A success story! Sea World rescuers were able to save a 29-foot young humpback whale that had become entangled in a shark net. Click the link to see the video!

Bien Hecho! Costa Rica Bans Shrimp Trawl Nets
An estimated 871,000 tons of bony fishes, sharks and rays were accidentally caught in shrimp trawl nets in Costa Rica between 1950 and 2008 which is why conservation groups celebrating Costa Rica’s decision to ban the use of trawl nets to catch shrimp throughout the country.

“Blackfish” A Black-eye For Big Business
Mantality writer Mike Calendrillo writes about his experience seeing Blackfish only days after going to SeaWorld for the first time in years.

Climate, ecosystem linkages explain salmon declines in Maine rivers
Many expected to see the return of large, healthy salmon populations in Maine as the state’s rivers got cleaner and cleaner, but the salmon haven’t returned. Research shows that the reason they aren’t returning is due to a loss of prey and changes in water temperature.

Danish swimmers escape waters fearing killer fish
The Pacu is an exotic fish, found recently in the Danish/Swedish strait of Oresund, that is scaring swimmers out of the water. But don’t worry, the warning issued by scientists “wasn’t intended to be taken seriously.” Check it out: Fears of ‘Testicle-Eating’ Fish Overblown.

Declining skate and ray wings sold in supermarkets
DNA testing has revealed that skate and ray wings sold at supermarkets in the EU are often mislabeled; they are labeled as a sustainable species but are actually from a species that is facing population decline.

Desperate Icelandic Minke Whalers Now Have Humpbacks in Their Sights
Whalers in Iceland have recently announced their interest in hunting humpbacks in addition to minke whales for the purposes of scientific research. The whalers haven’t hunted a sufficient number of minke whales this season, resulting in financial losses, but they say that humpback whale populations have increased dramatically. Their goal is to take ten humpbacks a year for a five-year period.

Is the Shark-Fin Trade Facing Extinction?
Here’s an interesting piece about the popularity of shark fin soup in China and the reason why it is become less popular every year.

Laser System Tracks Iceberg Evolution and Ocean Temperature
Researchers recently revealed a new way to measure water temperatures from a distance. It involves using a laser which could dramatically improve the accuracy of temperature readings and could potentially be used to keep track of icebergs.

Lobster shell disease that has plagued southern New England creeps northward into Maine (link no longer active)
A lobster shell disease that has hurt the southern New England lobster industry for years is making its way up north towards Maine. Epizootic shell disease is caused by bacteria that eat away at the lobster’s shell. It is not harmful to humans but still makes the lobsters hard to sell because it leaves their shells looking rather disgusting. It’s also dangerous for the whole lobster population because while most lobsters can molt out of the disease when they shed their shells and grow new ones, pregnant females don’t molt and therefore can be killed by the disease. The disease could be linked to a number of factors including warming waters, pollution, or low oxygen levels.

Newborn dolphin dies at Brookfield Zoo
Just days after announcing her birth, a newborn female dolphin died at the Brookfield Zoo. Officials don’t yet know the cause of death.

Olive Sea Snake, Aipysurus laevis, at the Great Barrier Reef.

Olive Sea Snake, Aipysurus laevis, at the Great Barrier Reef. Photo credit: richard ling via photopin cc.

Sea Snakes Disappear From Coral Reefs
A new study reveals that sea snakes are disappearing from coral reefs in Australia but the researchers don’t yet know why. Snake sightings dropped from 42-46 snakes per day in 1973 and 1947 to only 1 to 7 sightings in 2005-2010. Some possible explanations include loss of coral cover, a drop in available prey, or disease.

Sharkception: Dogfish goes for baitfish, only to be eaten by sand tiger shark
Here’s a wild picture that you have to see.

Study finds novel worm community affecting methane release in ocean
Scientists have discovered a “super-charged” methane seep off the coast of New Zealand with a unique food web. Most of the methane is consumed by surrounding organisms so no “major burps” of methan are making it to the atmosphere. This methane seep was a unique finding because most other methane communities are located in oxygen-poor areas but the site in New Zealand has plenty of cold, oxygen-rich water.

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 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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