Sharks on Twitter, Stoned Dolphins, and DNA Barcodes

Written by on January 1, 2014 in Marine Life

Daily Summary

DNA barcoding to monitor marine mammal genetic diversity
Some marine mammals are easy to observe but others can be more difficult to observe based on their habitat or behavior. A new tracking method may make monitoring marine mammal biodiversity much easier. Researchers have evaluated the usefulness of DNA barcoding and found that when used in combination with a stranding network, DNA barcoding will clearly increase the accuracy of the monitoring of marine mammal biodiversity. It will also help researchers better understand the impacts of climate change on the marine environment.

Puffer fish.

Puffer fish. Photo credit: Saspotato via photopin cc.

Pass the puffer, Flipper: dolphins high on toxic fish
Dolphins have been caught on camera chewing on puffer fish to get high. When the puffer fish are threatened they release a nerve toxin which, in low doses, appears to have a narcotic effect on dolphins. Cameras recorded male bottlenose dolphins entering a “trance-like state” after chewing on the puffer fish. However, not everyone is convinced that dolphins are getting stoned. Read more here: Do Stoned Dolphins Give ‘Puff Puff Pass’ A Whole New Meaning?

Sharks Are Using Twitter To Warn Swimmers In Australia (Yes, Really)
A new program has put Australian sharks on Twitter. Several hundred sharks were fitted with transmitters that post automatic updates to Twitter when one of the tagged sharks swims near a beach. The Tweets are shared on Surf Life Saving Western Australia’s feed (@SLSWA). This automated system is a much quicker way of informing the public of shark sightings.

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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