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.


Snffing out origins of methane: instrument identifies methane's origins in mines, deep-sea vents, and cows
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth's atmosphere for a long time. The gas can originate from lakes and swamps, natural-gas pipelines, deep-sea vents, and livestock. Understanding the sources of methane, and how the gas is formed, could give scientists a better understanding of its role in warming the planet.
Publ.Date : Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:21:09 EST

Hurricanes helped accelerate spread of lionfish
Just when you thought hurricanes couldn't get any scarier, think again. Their names roll of the tongue like a rogues' gallery: Floyd, Frances, Irene, Wilma and Andrew. But these aren't the names of notorious criminals; rather, they are just a few of the hurricanes since 1992 that have helped spread invasive marine species throughout the Florida Straits. Researchers have discovered that storms don't only have a dramatic impact on land; they have an equally dramatic effect on ocean currents, which helps the spread of marine invasive species throughout a region.
Publ.Date : Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:40:43 EST

'No take zones' in English Channel would benefit marine wildlife, fishing industry
Marine conservationists are increasingly pinning their hopes on marine protected areas (MPAs) to save threatened species and reduce over-fishing. However, while most people agree that stopping some types of fishing in MPAs would benefit wildlife and fisheries, working out which fishing activities should be banned is often complicated and controversial.
Publ.Date : Wed, 04 Mar 2015 07:54:45 EST

Animal functional diversity started out poor, became richer over time
The finding refutes a hypothesis by the famed evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould that marine creatures underwent an 'early burst' of functional diversity during the dawn of animal life.
Publ.Date : Wed, 04 Mar 2015 07:54:06 EST

In hot and cold water: The private lives of 'Hoff' crabs revealed
Researchers have shed light on the private life of a new species of deep-sea crab, previously nicknamed the 'Hoff' crab because of its hairy chest.
Publ.Date : Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:54:48 EST

Methane oxidation fuelled by algal oxygen production
Methane emissions are strongly reduced in lakes with anoxic bottom waters. But – contrary to what has previously been assumed – methane removal is not always due to archaea or anaerobic bacteria. A new study on Lake Cadagno in Canton Ticino shows that the microorganisms responsible are aerobic proteobacteria. The oxygen they require is produced in situ by photosynthetic algae.
Publ.Date : Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:49:05 EST

New technique improves forecasts for Canada's prized salmon fishery
A method for analyzing and predicting nature's dynamic and interconnected systems has improved forecasts of populations of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon, a highly prized fishery in British Columbia, has been developed by scientists.
Publ.Date : Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:25:21 EST

Genetics reveals where emperor penguins survived the last ice age
A study of how climate change has affected emperor penguins over the last 30,000 years found that only three populations may have survived during the last ice age, and that the Ross Sea in Antarctica was likely the refuge for one of these populations. The Ross Sea is likely to have been a shelter for emperor penguins for thousands of years during the last ice age, when much of the rest of Antarctica was uninhabitable due to the amount of ice. The findings suggest that while current climate conditions may be optimal for emperor penguins, conditions in the past were too extreme for large populations to survive.
Publ.Date : Sun, 01 Mar 2015 09:21:19 EST

Strait of Georgia: Salish Sea seagull populations halved since 1980s
The number of seagulls in the Strait of Georgia is down by 50 per cent from the 1980s and researchers say the decline reflects changes in the availability of food.
Publ.Date : Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:47:32 EST

Newly discovered algal species helps corals survive in the hottest reefs on the planet
A new species of algae has been discovered in reef corals of the Persian Gulf where it helps corals to survive seawater temperatures of up to 36 degrees Celsius -- temperatures that would kill corals elsewhere.
Publ.Date : Fri, 27 Feb 2015 08:47:26 EST

Optical features embedded in marine shells may help develop responsive, transparent displays
The blue-rayed limpet is a tiny mollusk that lives in kelp beds along the coasts of Norway, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and the Canary Islands. These diminutive organisms -- as small as a fingernail -- might escape notice entirely, if not for a very conspicuous feature: bright blue dotted lines that run in parallel along the length of their translucent shells. Depending on the angle at which light hits, a limpet's shell can flash brilliantly even in murky water.
Publ.Date : Thu, 26 Feb 2015 08:49:38 EST

Causes of Great Lakes smelt population decline are complex
The reasons for the dwindling population of smelt prey fish in the Great Lakes to near historic lows are more complicated than previously believed, new research suggests. Although results of the 2014 study show that the number of smelt surviving their first few months actually has been rising since 2000, the increase in hatchlings isn't producing more adults. Whatever the cause, the loss of adult rainbow smelt is keeping the population on a downward trend even as offspring survival improves.
Publ.Date : Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:40:14 EST

Climate-warmed leaves change lake ecosystems
Rising soil temperatures significantly affect autumn leaves and consequently the food web, appearance and biochemical makeup of the lakes and ponds those leaves fall into, a new study finds.
Publ.Date : Wed, 25 Feb 2015 09:43:23 EST

Crocodiles rocked pre-Amazonian Peru: Seven crocodile species found in single 13-million-year-old bone bed
Thirteen million years ago, as many as seven different species of crocodiles hunted in the swampy waters of what is now northeastern Peru, new research shows. This hyperdiverse assemblage, revealed through more than a decade of work in Amazon bone beds, contains the largest number of crocodile species co-existing in one place at any time in Earth's history, likely due to a food source that forms a small part of modern crocodile diets: mollusks.
Publ.Date : Tue, 24 Feb 2015 19:27:03 EST

Coral disease linked to a warming Atlantic
Over the last four decades, the iconic elkhorn and staghorn corals that dominated Caribbean reefs for millions of years have all but disappeared. According to a new study, ocean warming has played a significant role in this dramatic decline.
Publ.Date : Tue, 24 Feb 2015 12:09:17 EST

Great Barrier Reef corals eat plastic
Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution. Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic in the environment and are a widespread contaminant in marine ecosystems, particularly in inshore coral reefs.
Publ.Date : Tue, 24 Feb 2015 10:41:58 EST

Massive amounts of Saharan dust fertilize the Amazon rainforest
Every year, millions of tons of nutrient-rich Saharan dust cross the Atlantic Ocean, bringing vital phosphorus and other fertilizers to depleted Amazon soils. For the first time, scientists have an accurate estimate of how much phosphorus makes this trans-Atlantic journey.
Publ.Date : Tue, 24 Feb 2015 10:28:47 EST

International team of scientists launches fossil database
Have you ever wondered exactly when a certain group of plants or animals first evolved? A new resource for scientists is designed to help answer just those kinds of questions. The Fossil Calibration Database, a free, open-access resource that stores carefully vetted fossil data, is the result of years of work from a worldwide team of scientists.
Publ.Date : Tue, 24 Feb 2015 10:28:33 EST

Ocean acidification slows algae growth in the southern ocean
Scientists demonstrate for the first time that ocean acidification could have negative impacts on diatoms in the Southern Ocean. In laboratory tests they were able to observe that under changing light conditions, diatoms grow more slowly in acidic water.
Publ.Date : Tue, 24 Feb 2015 08:37:02 EST

Sea urchins, sand dollars thrived with time
New work on echinoids -- marine animals like sea urchins and sand dollars -- gives scientists a reason to rethink a classical pattern of evolution. Fossil-based studies have traditionally indicated that groups of organisms diversify fastest early in their evolutionary history, followed by a steady decline through time. But the new work on Echinoidea shows that rates of evolution were actually lowest at the group's onset and increased through episodic bursts associated with changes in feeding strategies.
Publ.Date : Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:44:40 EST