This Week in Marine Science

Written by on August 23, 2013 in Other News

Other stories worth reading this weekend:

Artificial Reef in Red Sea Teems with Life
A new study at the Tamar Reef shows that divers are willing to pay to help improve the reef. They also were able to rank their preferences of biodiversity, numbers of fish and coral, fish and coral species richness, coral size, and fish and coral abundance. The divers responded that biodiversity was the most important which shows researchers that the general public cares about the wellbeing of the reef. These findings many help further conservation efforts in marine reserves.

Creepy Fin Whale Carcass Fed Polar Bears For A Year: Photographer
On a trip from Iceland to Svalbard in 2012, a photographer came across the large vertebrae of a fin whale submerged under water. Researchers note that polar bears fed on that whale carcass for a year.

Fish farms cause relative sea-level rise
A new study shows that groundwater extraction for fish farms can cause land to sink at rates of about a quart-meter a year. This is causing local sea levels to rise about 100 times faster than the global average of 3 millimeters a year.

Gray whale mother and calf.

Gray whale mother and calf. Photo credit: NOAA.

Gray whale baby boom holding strong despite persistent sea ice in 2012
Biologists estimate that more than 1,100 gray whale calves passed a spot near San Simeon in central California while migrating from Mexico to Alaska. The biologists believe the whales pass this particular spot because it is close to shore which might help them avoid being successfully hunted by killer whales.

Marine lab research ship returns from voyage with rare shark catch
A Florida State University research ship was in the Gulf of Mexico where researchers were studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on marine life. They ended up catching a Greenland shark, a cold-water shark usually found only in Arctic waters. Greenland sharks are known to travel south, but they have never been seen in the Gulf of Mexico before and researchers don’t know just how far south they go.

Oceanic Black Holes Found in Southern Atlantic
The term ‘black hole’ is typically only used in space to describe an area from which nothing escapes, not even light. Now, it is also being used to describe eddies in the southern Atlantic Ocean. Researchers describe the eddies as a being encircled by a ‘belt of spray’ that no liquid falls into and nothing escapes from.

Portland Aquarium logs 200 marine animal deaths; Humane Society investigates
More than 200 marine animals died at the Portland Aquarium this spring. Identified causes of death ranged from starvation, infection, animal-attacks and high temperatures. The aquarium’s former veterinarian left in February because of concerns about animal welfare. Most aquariums don’t release mortality rates so it is difficult to know what the standard is, but by all accounts the aquarium owners were “cutting corners to save money.”

Sea lice debate rages on
The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organization (SSPO) released a statement saying that the average mortality in wild salmon due to sea lice is only one percent. However, the Salmon and Trout Association says that the statement is flawed and new research proves it; they are demanding that SSPO retract the statement.

Thriving in Cape Cod’s Waters, Gray Seals Draw Fans and Foes

Gray seals.

Gray seals. Photo credit: NOAA.

The debate between the tourists who love the seals and the fishermen who hate them continues in Cape Cod. This article summarizes the situation on the East Coast. In response to the article, a reader wrote a letter about a similar situation in California. The only difference, he says, is that the fishermen have found a way to live with the seals and “preserve their livelihoods.”

Warming Antarctic seas likely to impact on krill habitats
Krill form the basis of the food chain in the Antarctic. They are the primary food source for whales, seals, penguins and fish. A new study shows that if ocean warming continues, krill could be in danger, threatening the entire ecosystem. If warming continues at present rates, the area of growth habitat could be reduced by up to 20 percent. In addition, changes in ocean temperature and acidity will affect the krill’s ability to grow and reproduce. To learn more, check out this post: Life in Antarctica Relies on Shrinking Supply of Krill.

Whale Drags Down Boat With 12 Traditional Hunters on Board in Eastern Indonesia
That’s right. A harpooned orca, who was apparently unhappy to be harpooned, actually dragged down a boat with 12 hunters on board in Eastern Indonesia. Hunters on the island of Lembata don’t typically hunt orcas and perhaps this is why. All 12 men were found safe after the incident.

Why Some Coral Reefs Might Survive Climate Change
Coral reefs are home to 25 percent of all marine species but they are in danger from warming and acidifying oceans, coastal development, overfishing and many other problems. Some predict that we will see the end of coral reefs within one generation. Others say that they could be saved if we cut carbon emissions. This article discusses a third possibility: we don’t cut greenhouse gas emissions but we have enough marine reserves that some coral species might just be able to adapt.

Coral reef.

Coral reef. Photo credit: NOAA.

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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