This Week in Marine Science

Written by on September 6, 2013 in Other News

Other stories worth reading this weekend:

Brain coral up close.

Brain coral up close. Photo credit: mattk1979 via photopin cc.

A psychedelic rainbow reef world
Check out these amazing photographs taken by a marine biology student. You’ve never seen coral from this angle before! The bright colors and wild textures don’t look real, but they are.

Everyone showed up but the tuna
Perhaps this will serve as a wake-up call. At the second ‘Bluefin Blowout’ tournament, 45 boats headed out in search of bluefin tuna and came back with no fish – twice. Both days of the tournament, not a single bluefin was caught. Why no tuna? Some blame the moon. Others blame the tides. But perhaps it’s just the result of decades of overfishing…

Following fish teach us that leaders are born, not made
Among humans there are leaders and often there are followers. New research shows that’s true in fish as well. By testing pairs of fish, researchers found that when emerging from safe cover to a risky foraging area, bold fish initiated collective movement while shy fish followed.

In Seafood We Trust – Is Sustainable Seafood Up to Your Standards?
Sustainable seafood options are difficult to come by and when we find them, they’re usually pretty pricey. So when we find a good deal, we probably aren’t going to question it. Check out this great post about shopping for sustainable seafood.

Marine parks won’t work unless fishers are on side
Here’s an interesting piece on the pros and cons of marine protected areas. They are a controversial solution. Advocates believe they are the key to saving our oceans and protecting depleted species while those who oppose the creation of marine parks feel that they are detrimental to their livelihoods. So who is right?

Mega-canyon discovered beneath Greenland ice sheet
A group of scientists recently discovered a previously unknown canyon hidden beneath two kilometers of the Greenland ice sheet. The canyon is at least 750 km (466 miles) long and 800m deep (almost half a mile) in some places.

Leatherback turtle hatchling, Dermochelys coriacea.

Leatherback turtle hatchling, Dermochelys coriacea. Photo credit: Scott R. Benson, NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

More than 500 baby sea turtles released off Fla. (link no longer active)
More good news for sea turtles! More than 500 hatchlings were released off the coast of Boca Raton in Florida. The hatchlings came from nests on beaches throughout Florida and included loggerhead, leatherback and green turtles.

New Giant Volcano Below Sea Is Largest in the World
A volcano the size of New Mexico was recently identified under the Pacific Ocean, about 1,000 miles east of Japan. Tamu Massif, the giant shield volcano, measures about 280 by 400 miles–that’s more than 100,000 square miles. Sitting about four miles deep, the very top is still 6,500 feet below the ocean surface.

New ocean forecast could help predict fish habitat six months in advance
Researchers have developed the first long-term forecast of conditions that affect Pacific Northwest fisheries. The forecast will include factors such as phytoplankton blooms, ocean temperatures and oxygen levels. Predicting the timing and severity of these events will benefit fisheries managers who could use the forecasts to set appropriate quotas before a negative trend occurs.

New rules on shark finning likely
Shark finning is still legal in New Zealand, although that might change soon. The New Zealand government is asking the public what it thinks should be done to protect sharks. Based on public opinion and additional scientific data, it is likely that new rules regarding shark finning will be implemented. For more good news about shark finning, check out this article: Seized shark fins dumped in Pacific ceremony.

Oman is First Arab State to Ratify Treaty to Stem Illegal Fishing
The government of Oman recently ratified the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA), the treaty designed to keep illegally caught fish out of the market. The PSMA was adopted in 2009 and when it goes into effect all countries that have ratified it will be required to deny landing and services to vessels involved in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Oman is the first Arab state to become a party to the treaty.

Pacific Fisheries observers help crack down on illegal fishing
Evidence given by Pacific Island fisheries observers resulted in heavy fines for the owners, operators and fishing masters of six tuna purse seiners which had been accused of fishing on fish aggregating devices (FADs) during the FAD ban in 2009. The fines total more than US$1.5 million.

Northern Fulmar over the Bering Sea.

Northern Fulmar over the Bering Sea. Photo credit: E.D.Cokelet, NOAA/PMEL.

Seabirds Face Risks from Climate Change
Check out this incredible post about researchers who faced disastrous conditions while trying to study seabirds in the Southern Ocean. Thankfully, the researchers are okay but unfortunately, the birds are not. Seabirds have an uncertain future in this changing planet as sea ice declines, and habitats and food sources shift.

Underwater Scan Finds Significant Heart Changes in Divers
An underwater ultrasound scan of scuba divers’ hearts found changes in cardiac function during and after a dive. The results reveal that changes which occur during a dive many increase the risk of cardiac problems for divers who are unfit, overweight, or who have underlying heart diseases. For new divers, this test could be used to detect heart diseases or cardiac abnormalities that could prove fatal during a dive.

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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