This Week in Marine Science

Written by on December 27, 2013 in Other News

Other stories worth reading this weekend:

Atlantic Amphipods Spreading Into The Arctic Ocean
Amphipods that typically live in the Atlantic Ocean are now reproducing in Arctic waters. The invasion of Atlantic amphipods (Themisto compressa) could shift the entire Arctic zooplankton community. The “main victims” of this shift could be marine birds, fish and whales, because Atlantic amphipods are smaller than Antarctic zooplankton and less nutritious to predators.

Australasian gannet.

Australasian gannet. Photo credit: pluckytree via photopin cc.

Best Places for Seafood? Follow a Gannet
In order to determine how gannets share information about sources of fish, researchers used video recordings and GPS tags to trace the routes of birds in a large gannet colony in New Zealand. They found that Australasian gannets watch each other come and go at the colony’s communal bathing site. About 70% of the birds leaving the bathing site flew in the direction that other birds came from or flew towards.

The Fate of the Eels
The critically endangered European eel (Anguilla anguilla) spends most of its life in fresh and coastal waters. Spawning and the birth of larvae take place in the Sargasso Sea and in the central Atlantic Ocean, but much of its complex lifecycle is still unknown. New research demonstrates the crucial influence of ocean currents on eel recruitment, because for the first few years of the eel’s life, it drifts with the currents.

Focus on Ocean’s Health as Dolphin Deaths Soar
As of December 22, nearly 1,000 bottlenose dolphins have washed up dead along the East Coast, from New York to Florida, most as a result of morbillivirus. It remains unclear why so many dolphins have succumbed to the disease and many more are expected to die in the coming months. Read the whole article for a summary of the dolphin UME and learn what we can do about it.

Minke whale in Antarctic waters.

Minke whale in Antarctic waters. Photo credit: ravas51 via photopin cc.

Government accused of breaking election promise over Japanese whaling in Southern Ocean
The Federal Government has been accused of “breaking an election promise” in the fight against whaling. The government is sending an A319 plane instead of a boat to monitor Japanese whaling fleets in the Southern Ocean. They will be monitoring the season to ensure that there is no conflict between whalers and anti-whaling protesters.

Greenland Ice Stores Liquid Water Year-Round
Researchers have discovered a new aquifer in the Greenland ice sheet that holds liquid water all year long. The “perennial firn aquifer” covers 27,000 miles. The aquifer will contribute significantly to future sea level rise predictions.

How Plastic In The Ocean Is Contaminating Your Seafood
Scientists know that chemicals move up the food chain as predators absorb chemicals consumed by their prey — the bigger the fish, the higher the levels of toxins. However, scientists are only beginning to understand the role that plastics play in the adding chemicals to the food chain. Plastics, it turns out, act as a sponge, soaking up chemicals already in the water. A new study reveals that fish with more plastic in their diets have much higher levels of persistent organic pollutants.

Realistic Sea Creature Robots With Cameras Spy On Secret Lives of Dolphins
Robotic dolphins, tuna and sea turtles fitted with HD cameras have filmed close encounters with real dolphins for a new BBC Media special. The robotic sea creatures captured never-before filmed behavior with cameras disguised in their eyes. The special, Dolphins: Spy In the Pod, airs on January 2.

Risso's dolphins.

Risso’s dolphins. Photo credit: BBM Explorer via photopin cc.

Surveys support conservation of Scotland’s unique marine habitat
The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) monitored cetaceans off Scotland’s west coast as a part of HWDT’s long-term cetacean monitoring program. In nine surveys carried out in 2013, HWDT volunteers identified an impressive array of whales, dolphins and porpoises, highlighting the diversity of the area. To date, 24 cetacean species have been recorded in the region.

Will 2014 Be the Year of the Ocean?
Did you know that the United Nations says 1998 was the Year of the Ocean? In this National Geographic piece, Valerie Craig disagrees. Check out this article to see why she believes 2014 will really be the year that we see changes in ocean leadership and policies.

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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