Marine Biology News

Courtesy of Science Daily

Welcome to Sea and Sky's Marine Biology News. Here you can find links to the latest ocean news headlines in the topic of marine biology. Click on any yellow title below to view the full news article. The news article will open in a new browser window. Simply close the browser window when you are finished reading the article to return to the news article listing. You can use the "Click for More" link to go to a page with more news headlines.


Declining catch rates in Caribbean Nicaragua green turtle fishery may be result of overfishing
A 20-year assessment of Nicaragua’s legal, artisanal green sea turtle fishery has uncovered a stark reality: greatly reduced overall catch rates of turtles in what may have become an unsustainable take, according to conservation scientists. Growing up to 400 pounds in weight, the green turtle is the second largest sea turtle species next to the leatherback turtle. In addition to the threat from overfishing, the green turtle is at risk from bycatch in various fisheries, poaching of eggs at nesting beaches, habitat deterioration and loss due to coastal development and climate change effects, and pollution.
Publ.Date : Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:09:09 EDT

New study outlines 'water world' theory of life's origins
Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet's living kingdoms. How did it all begin?
Publ.Date : Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:57:12 EDT

Climate change likely culprit in coqui frog's altered calls, say biologists
The abundant Puerto Rican coqui frog has experienced changes since the 1980s that are likely due to global warming, biologists report. The call of the male coqui became shorter and higher pitched, and the animal itself has become smaller. The study is the first to show the effect of temperature change on a species of frogs in the tropics over a period of more two decades.
Publ.Date : Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:08:54 EDT

Making dams safer for fish around the world
The pressure changes that many fish experience when they travel through the turbulent waters near a dam can seriously injure or kill the fish. Scientists from around the world, including areas like Southeast Asia and Brazil where huge dams are planned or under construction, are working together to protect fish from the phenomenon, known as barotrauma.
Publ.Date : Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:08:02 EDT

Four new species of 'killer sponges' from the deep sea
Killer sponges sound like creatures from a B-grade horror movie. In fact, they thrive in the lightless depths of the deep sea. Scientists first discovered that some sponges are carnivorous about 20 years ago. Since then only seven carnivorous species have been found in all of the northeastern Pacific. A new article describes four new species of carnivorous sponges living on the deep seafloor, from the Pacific Northwest to Baja California.
Publ.Date : Mon, 14 Apr 2014 13:40:49 EDT

Result of slow degradation on environmental pollutants
Why do environmental pollutants accumulate in the cold polar regions? This may not only be due to the fact that many substances are less volatile at low temperatures, as has been long suspected, but also to their extremely slow natural degradation. Although persistent environmental pollutants have been and continue to be released worldwide, the Arctic and Antarctic regions are significantly more contaminated than elsewhere. The marine animals living there have some of the highest levels of persistent organic pollutant (POP) contamination of any creatures.
Publ.Date : Mon, 14 Apr 2014 10:11:56 EDT

Little-known Arctic comb jelly found in the Baltic Sea and Arctic
One of the world's oldest animal species, the comb jellies -- which have inhabited the seas for millions of years -- have kept their secrets up to the present day. Researchers have now studied the life of the Arctic comb jelly, which is found in the Baltic Sea and the Arctic.
Publ.Date : Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:19:11 EDT

Ocean acidification robs reef fish of their fear of predators
Research on the behavior of coral reef fish at naturally-occurring carbon dioxide seeps in Milne Bay in eastern Papua New Guinea has shown that continuous exposure to increased levels of carbon dioxide dramatically alters the way fish respond to predators. 
Publ.Date : Sun, 13 Apr 2014 13:59:07 EDT

Devil in disguise: Small coral-eating worm may mean big trouble for reefs
A coral-eating flatworm has been identified as a potential threat for coral reefs. It is barely possible to see the parasitic worm Amakusaplana acroporae when it sits on its favorite hosts, the staghorn coral Acropora, thanks to its excellent camouflage. However, the researchers found that the small flatworm could cause significant damage to coral reefs.
Publ.Date : Fri, 11 Apr 2014 09:17:21 EDT

Sharks contain more pollutants than polar bears
The polar bear is known for having alarmingly high concentrations of PCB and other pollutants. But researchers have discovered that Greenland sharks store even more of these contaminants in their bodies. Greenland sharks live in deep water, at depths of 200 to 600 meters, and live farther north than any other shark. It is also long lived, and can live to be 100 years old. They are also known as the grey shark or gurry shark.
Publ.Date : Fri, 11 Apr 2014 09:14:17 EDT

'Dinosaurs of the turtle world' at risk in Southeast U.S. rivers
Conservation of coastal rivers of the northern Gulf of Mexico is vital to the survival of the alligator snapping turtle, including two recently discovered species, scientists say. A new study shows the alligator snapping turtle, the largest freshwater turtle in the Western Hemisphere and previously believed to be one species, is actually three separate species.
Publ.Date : Thu, 10 Apr 2014 14:19:22 EDT

Reef fish arrived in two waves, before and after mass extinction 66 million years ago
The world's reefs are hotbeds of biological diversity, including over 4,500 species of fish. A new study shows that the ancestors of these fish colonized reefs in two distinct waves, before and after the mass extinction event about 66 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Publ.Date : Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:56:45 EDT

Coral reefs of Mozambique Channel: Leading candidate for saving marine diversity
Marine scientists working in the Western Indian Ocean have found that the corals of the Mozambique Channel should be a priority for protection as climate change continues to threaten these rainforests of the sea. The study -- generated from data gathered from nearly 300 marine sites over thousands of square miles of ocean -- is the latest attempt by scientists to improve efforts to first identify reefs that have survived the effects of higher temperatures and sometimes human pressures such as fishing, and then actions best suited to protecting less disturbed coral ecosystems.
Publ.Date : Thu, 10 Apr 2014 09:56:43 EDT

Oyster aquaculture could significantly improve Potomac River estuary water quality
Oyster aquaculture in the Potomac River estuary could result in significant improvements to water quality, according to a new study. All of the nitrogen currently polluting the Potomac River estuary could be removed if 40 percent of its river bed were used for shellfish cultivation, according to the joint study. The researchers determined that a combination of aquaculture and restored oyster reefs may provide even larger overall ecosystem benefits. Oysters, who feed by filtering, can clean an enormous volume of water of algae which can cause poor water quality.
Publ.Date : Wed, 09 Apr 2014 14:39:40 EDT

Sunken logs create new worlds for seafloor animals
When it comes to food, most of the deep sea is a desert. In this food-poor environment, even bits of dead wood, waterlogged enough to sink, can support thriving communities of specialized animals. A new paper by biologists shows that wood-boring clams serve as "ecosystem engineers," making the organic matter in the wood available to other animals that colonize wood falls in the deep waters of Monterey Canyon.
Publ.Date : Wed, 09 Apr 2014 13:49:34 EDT

Sea otters can get the flu, too: Human H1N1 pandemic virus infected Washington State sea otters
Northern sea otters living off the coast of Washington state were infected with the same H1N1 flu virus that caused the world-wide pandemic in 2009, according to a new study. The researchers discovered antibodies for the 2009 H1N1 flu virus in blood samples from 70 percent of the sea otters studied. None of the otters were visibly sick, but the presence of antibodies means that the otters were previously exposed to influenza.
Publ.Date : Tue, 08 Apr 2014 21:36:19 EDT

Black carbon is ancient by the time it reaches seafloor
A fraction of the carbon that finds its way into Earth's oceans -- the black soot and charcoal residue of fires -- stays there for thousands for years. A first-of-its-kind analysis shows how some black carbon breaks away and hitches a ride to the ocean floor on passing particles.
Publ.Date : Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:22:16 EDT

A new tiny species of crayfish from the swamps of coastal eastern Australia
Hidden in one of Australia's most developed and fastest growing areas lives one of the world's smallest freshwater crayfish species. Biologists described the new species belonging to the genus Gramastacus, after eight years of research in the swamps and creeks of coastal New South Wales, Australia.
Publ.Date : Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:17:23 EDT

Running geese give insight into low oxygen tolerance
A new study into how the world's highest flying bird, the bar-headed goose, is able to survive at extreme altitudes may have future implications for low oxygen medical conditions in humans. An international team of scientists recently tracked the bar-headed goose while it migrated across the Himalayas. Now they have shown how these birds are able to tolerate running at top speed while breathing only 7% oxygen.
Publ.Date : Mon, 07 Apr 2014 19:28:00 EDT

Freshwater turtle crosses the Aegean Sea
Scientists have studied the widely distributed freshwater turtle, Mauremys rivulata. In spite of geographical barriers, the turtles are genetically very similar throughout their vast  distribution range. This would indicate that that animals cross hundreds of kilometers of sea.
Publ.Date : Mon, 07 Apr 2014 09:06:11 EDT