This Week in Marine Science

Written by on November 15, 2013 in Other News

Other stories worth reading this weekend:

A Bond villain lair? No, this strange boat is a floating lab…
The SeaOrbiter is a strange looking marine research facility that floats with nearly two thirds below the surface. Between 18 and 22 researchers will be able to live on board at any one time. It was designed by French architect Jacques Rougerie. Construction is due to begin in May 2014.

Hammerhead shark.

Hammerhead shark. Photo credit: Wendell Reed via photopin cc.

Are hammerheads an experiment in evolution gone wrong?
The hammerhead shark might look like an evolutionary mistake, but infact, it is perfectly adapted to its own way of life. Their bizarre head acts as a lift when swimming, separates their eyes, making their vision more efficient, and maximizes the area of sensory organs to help find prey. Check out this post to learn more about the benefits of the strange hammerhead.

Explore the world’s oceans online
Ever want to study marine science but didn’t have the time or money? Well now, anyone interested in the marine environment can take a new online course that lasts six weeks and requires two to three hours of studying per week. The course will be run by leading researchers from Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton who are based at the National Oceanography Center. Registration is already open so check it out!

Fears crown of thorns starfish plague will wreak havoc on Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef has been plagued by crown of thorns starfish for quite a while and now, it is on the verge of being hit by the most damaging crown of thorns outbreak on record. More than one million starfish covering hundreds of kilometers are wreaking havoc on the GBR and they are steadily moving south along with the current.

Illegally fished and illegally transhipped: Will the fish make it to market and will the violators pay?
Check out this interesting piece from Stop Illegal Fishing about an illegal fishing and shipping incident that happened in September. It covers the incident, which laws were violated and what is being done about it.

Kids Ocean Week
As a part of Kids Ocean Week in Hong Kong, children, teachers and volunteers created a massive Chinese White Dolphin with the words “protect” in English, and “ocean” in Chinese. Check out this post to see a cool video of the dolphin being formed.

New Marine Park in the Kimberley Is the Largest in Western Australia
The 680,000-hectare (1.7 million-acre) Lalang-garram Camden Sound Marine Park will be the largest in Western Australia. The park will protect the primary calving area of humpback whales as they migrate to the Antarctic in addition to protecting important habitat for the newly discovered snubfin dolphin, sea turtles and other marine life.

Fisheries Survey Vessel Reuben Lasker.

Fisheries Survey Vessel Reuben Lasker. Photo credit: NOAA.

NOAA takes delivery of new fisheries survey vessel
NOAA just took delivery of Reuben Lasker, a new high-tech fisheries survey vessel from Marinette Marine Corporation, a Fincantieri company. The 208-foot ship will is equipped with the latest technology for fisheries and oceanographic research and will be used primarily for fish, marine mammal and turtle surveys off the U.S. West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

Orcas circle ferry transporting tribal artifacts to Bainbridge Island
A Washington state ferry transporting tribal artifacts to a new museum at the ancestral home of Chief Seattle was accompanied by a large pod of orcas. Nearly three dozen orcas surrounded the ferry on its way from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Many people think it was more than a coincidence and that the orcas were welcoming the artifacts home.

Safety Culture Aboard Exploded Offshore Rig: “Poor at Best”
A new investigation by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) found that the ‘safety culture’ aboard an offshore drilling rig (WD 32) in the Gulf of Mexico that exploded in November 2012, was “poor at best.” The BSEE report states that lack of safety culture was a contributing cause of the explosion. Check out this piece about safety aboard offshore drilling rigs and the only way to improve conditions.

Stingray movement could inspire the next generation of submarines
Previous studies have found that stingray motion “closely resembles the most optimal swimming gait.” Now, researchers are studying how stingray movements could be used to design more agile and fuel-efficient unmanned underwater vehicles. The vehicles could be used to study the deep sea and aide in cleanup and rescue efforts.

Study reveals dolphins on Scotland’s east and west coasts have different ‘accents’
Researchers found that dolphins on the east and west coasts of Scotland have different accents. White-beaked dolphins use a series of tail slaps, whistles and clicks when hunting prey, but they use different clicks on the east and west coasts. Researchers believe the differences could reflect the different prey they are hunting for.

Iceberg in the Southern Ocean.

Iceberg in the Southern Ocean. Photo credit: NOAA.

Tracking an iceberg as big as Manhattan
An iceberg the size of Manhattan recently broke off of a glacier and Antarctica. The researchers note that an iceberg that big could survive for over a year and could make its way towards shipping lanes in the southern ocean. They are now tracking the iceberg in order to predict its path and prevent it from becoming a hazard to ships. They will also use their results to more accurately model the paths of future large icebergs, which will become more common as the poles warm.

Tracking young salmon’s first moves in the ocean
New research reveals that as young salmon move from rivers to oceans for the first time, currents, water temperature and other basic factors play a huge role in determining their behavior. Young salmon scatter in all directions upon reaching the ocean, instead of immediately heading north as was previously thought. In addition to water temperature and currents, food availability and the number of predators are critical factors. Much of the young salmon’s health and ability to start the next generation are determined in those first few weeks.

Whale, sea lion feeding frenzy filmed
This is a fun one. More than 2,000 sea lions and about 30 humpback whales were filmed feeding on schooling anchovies off California’s central coast. But the best part of the video isn’t the sea lions or whales, it’s the reaction of the very excited dog watching it all happen.

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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