Carbon-sequestering ocean plants may cope with climate changes over the long run
A year-long experiment on coccolithophores(tiny, single-celled algae that play a vital role in the ocean’s carbon cycle) suggests that they may be able to grow their calcified shells even as the ocean gets more acidic. The researchers raised one strain of coccolithophore (Emiliania huxleyi) for over 700 generations under high temperature and acidified conditions and found that the organisms had no trouble building strong shells.
Another study on ocean acidification has more worrying results: Ocean Acidification, More Than Just Corals at Risk.
Mysterious Dolphin Makes Its Home in Welsh Waters
A new study from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) has found that a rarely seen dolphin species now lives off the Welsh coast. The study found individuals from a population of Risso’s dolphins living and breeding in remote waters off Bardsey Island in north Wales. Risso’s dolphins are seen so rarely partly because they can dive to 300 meters and remain under for up to 30 minutes. The WDC study also provides the first population estimate for the dolphins.
Sea otters promote recovery of seagrass beds
A study of the decline and recovery of seagrass beds in a California estuary reveals that sea otters were a crucial factor in the recovery. Seagrass meadows, like the one in Elkhorn Slough (on California’s central coast), are threatened by nutrient pollution–excessive nutrient runoff can increase the growth of algae on seagrass leaves, which prevents the leaves from getting enough sunlight. Despite this problem, the seagrass beds in Elkhorn Slough have grown thanks to sea otters. Sea otters eat “enormous amounts” of crabs, which feed on sea slugs, which feed on algae. With fewer crabs preying on them, sea slugs become more abundant and eat much more algae, keeping the seagrass leaves clean.
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.