This Week in Marine Science

Written by on January 24, 2014 in Other News

Other stories worth reading this weekend:

A coastline of ‘critical’ habitat?
The Center for Biological Diversity recently filed a formal petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect more critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident orcas. The proposal seeks to extend the protection into the orcas’ winter foraging grounds off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California — roughly 700 miles of coastline that would extend 76 miles out to sea.

Mother with her pup.

Mother with her pup. Photo credit: mikebaird via photopin cc.

Adorable Sea Otter Mom, Pup Visit Aquarium: Photos
Have you seen these pictures yet? They will most definitely brighten your weekend. A wild mother sea otter and her pup spent an afternoon in the Great Tide Pool at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the resulting photos are almost too cute. Check it out.

Analysis indicates that North and tropical Atlantic warming affects Antarctic climate
New research reveals that climate change in Antarctica is partially due to the warming of the north and tropical Atlantic Ocean. Scientists have long known that Antarctica is affected by changes in the Pacific Ocean, but this is the first study to highlight the role that the Atlantic plays. The findings also show that the mechanisms that control Antarctic and Arctic sea ice are completely different.

DNA detectives able to ‘count’ thousands of fish using as little as a glass of water
By analyzing one glass full of water from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 1.2 million-gallon Open Sea tank, scientists were able to identify the fish that live there. They analyzed DNA found in the water samples to determine which species were most plentiful in the tank — a technique that could soon be applied to the open ocean. By analyzing DNA left in the environment (from waste, skin cells, or damaged tissues), scientists could improve our knowledge of fish populations. The scientists were able to identify all the bony fishes found in the tank, and they correctly determined that tuna and sardines made up the most biomass.

Beach at sunset.

Beach at sunset. Photo credit: ZakVTA via photopin cc.

Enter the Marine Wildlife and Seascape Photo Contest!
Do you have any amazing ocean-themed photos? Consider entering Ocean Conservancy’s photo contest — submissions will help raise funds to protect marine wildlife. Entries can be submitted through February 9th and voting begins the following day. Good luck!

Genetically-modified salmon approval faces lawsuit
Commercial production of AquaBounty’s genetically-modified salmon has been approved in Ottawa and many environmental groups are not happy. The GM salmon eggs grows twice as fast as regular salmon, which makes them appealing to fish farmers and frightening to the Ecology Action Center and Living Oceans Society who say that Environment Canada did not follow its own rules when it approved production two months ago. The primary concerns is that if the fish escape the farms, they may disrupt the natural ecosystem.

Ghost ship full of cannibal rats could be about to crash into Devon coast
The ‘ghost ship’ is the Lyubov Orlova, which hasn’t been heard from for almost a year. It was being towed from Canada when it broke free and went adrift. As for the ‘cannibal rats’, well, people who have been searching for the ship say there are likely thousands of disease-ridden rats on board and they have nothing to eat except each other. Based on emergency beacons aboard the ship, it could be on course to crash into the shore of Devon, Cornwall, Ireland or Scotland. Stay tuned. For more about the ship, check out this post: How a 1,500-ton ocean liner turns into a cannibal-rat-infested ghost ship.


Ctenophore. Photo credit: bzibble via photopin cc.

Moving, Without Feet to Do So
Cilia are hairlike structures that can propel an organism through the water. Most organisms that move this way are tiny because cilia are not very effective at propelling big things. Ctenophores, also known as comb jellies, are an exception. The apple-sized mnemiopsis, a ctenophore, is the largest organism to be propelled by cilia. Check out this video to see how they move. Bonus: they light up with a very pretty rainbow.

NOAA Responds to Pilot Whales Stranding in Southwest Florida
Last Sunday (Jan 19), 23 pilot whales were reported in Naples, Florida and a few of them became stranded in shallow water. By the end of the night, they all made it out of the bay, but the next day, 14 more were swimming or stranded in Lover’s Key State Park in Lee County, Florida. As on Tuesday, four of those whales have died and six are unaccounted for. Check this post for the latest on the recent Florida pilot whale strandings.

Tagged Bluefin Tuna Recaptured After Sixteen Years at Large
NOAA Fisheries Cooperative Tagging program provides free tags to fishermen so they can tag fish that they release and contribute to fisheries research. Al Anderson, a charter boat captain in Rhode Island who participates in the program, caught and tagged a 14-pound bluefin tuna near Block Island back in 1997. Late last year, 16 years later, that same bluefin tuna was caught, now weighing more than 1,200 pounds. In the history of the program, only two recapture fish have been around that long.

Copyright © 2014 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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