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.

 

Microscopic organism plays a big role in ocean carbon cycling
Scientists have taken a leap forward in understanding the microscopic underpinnings of the ocean carbon cycle by pinpointing a bacterium that appears to play a dominant role in carbon consumption.
Publ.Date : Thu, 24 Apr 2014 15:18:35 EDT

Some corals adjusting to rising ocean temperatures
Scientists have revealed how some corals can quickly switch on or off certain genes in order to survive in warmer-than-average tidal waters. To most people, 86-degree Fahrenheit water is pleasant for bathing and swimming. To most sea creatures, however, it's deadly. As climate change heats up ocean temperatures, the future of species such as coral, which provides sustenance and livelihoods to a billion people, is threatened.
Publ.Date : Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:37:37 EDT

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity: One species, a few drops of seawater, hundreds of coexisting subpopulations
The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live in the oceans, forming the base of the marine food chain and occupying a range of ecological niches based on temperature, light and chemical preferences, and interactions with other species. But the full extent and characteristics of diversity within this single species remains a puzzle.
Publ.Date : Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:36:55 EDT

Hydrothermal vents: How productive are the ore factories in the deep sea?
Hydrothermal vents in the deep sea, the so-called 'black smokers,' are fascinating geological formations. They are home to unique ecosystems, but are also potential suppliers of raw materials for the future. They are driven by volcanic 'power plants' in the seafloor. But how exactly do they extract their energy from the volcanic rock?
Publ.Date : Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:26:05 EDT

Two new river turtle species described
The alligator snapping turtle is the largest river turtle in North America, weighing in at up to 200 pounds and living almost a century. Now researchers have discovered that it is not one species -- but three. By examining museum specimens and wild turtles, the scientists uncovered deep evolutionary divisions in this ancient reptile.
Publ.Date : Thu, 24 Apr 2014 10:20:57 EDT

Citizen scientists match research tool when counting sharks: Dive guides monitoring sharks on coral reef at similar level to telemetry
Shark data collected by citizen scientists may be as reliable as data collected using automated tools. Shark populations are declining globally, and scientists lack data to estimate the conservation status of populations for many shark species. Citizen science may be a useful and cost-effective means to increase knowledge of shark populations on coral reefs, but scientists do not yet know enough about how data collected by untrained observers compares to results from traditional research methods. To better understand the reliability of datasets collected by citizen science initiatives, researchers in this study compared reef shark sightings counted by experienced dive guides (citizen scientists), with data collected from tagged reef sharks by an automated tracking tool (acoustic telemetry).
Publ.Date : Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:14:14 EDT

Scientists identify source of mysterious sound in the Southern Ocean
Scientists have conclusive evidence that the source of a unique rhythmic sound, recorded for decades in the Southern Ocean and called the 'bio-duck,' is the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis). First described and named by submarine personnel in the 1960s who thought it sounded like a duck, the bio-duck sound has been recorded at various locations in the Southern Ocean, but its source has remained a mystery, until now.
Publ.Date : Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:26:14 EDT

Taxonomic study of green algae (chlorophyta) in Langkawi, Malaysia
Tourism is bringing rapid development to the islands of Langkawi, which puts pressure on the marine ecosystem. This research records the diversity and will be a useful baseline record for biomonitoring studies in Malaysia.
Publ.Date : Tue, 22 Apr 2014 12:08:05 EDT

European Eel Expedition 2014: First phase successfully completed
Denmark's largest marine research vessel has spent three weeks exploring and gathering samples in the spawning grounds of the European eel in the Sargasso Sea, between Bermuda and the West Indies. The first phase of the Danish Eel Expedition 2014 has been successfully completed. The expedition is in the Sargasso Sea to investigate whether climate-related changes to the eel spawning grounds or the ocean currents that carry the eel larvae to Europe have caused the dramatic decline in eel numbers.
Publ.Date : Mon, 21 Apr 2014 21:14:09 EDT

Researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife
Protecting wildlife while feeding a world population predicted to reach nine billion by 2050 will require a holistic approach to conservation that considers human-altered landscapes such as farmland, according to researchers. A new study finds that a long-accepted theory used to estimate extinction rates, predict ecological risk and make conservation policy recommendations is overly pessimistic. The researchers point to an alternative framework that promises a more effective way of accounting for human-altered landscapes and assessing ecological risks.
Publ.Date : Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:14:37 EDT

Findings shed light on seagrass needs
Seagrass beds, which provide home and food for fish, manatees, sea turtles and other animals, find themselves in peril. A new study shows how much sunlight is needed to keep the seagrass healthy. Loss of seagrass means fish, crabs and other animals lose their homes and manatees and sea turtles lose a source of food. Nutrients, such as phosphorous, may prevent seagrass from getting the sunlight it needs to thrive. Nutrients may come from many sources, among them fertilizers used in agriculture, golf courses and suburban lawns, pet waste and septic tank waste.
Publ.Date : Thu, 17 Apr 2014 16:41:28 EDT

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