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Posts Tagged "ocean"

@ScientificAmerican

Whale.FM: Where Citizen Science, Whale Songs and Education Come Together

Above all, science is a collaborative enterprise, where researchers working together can span the continents. Increasingly, nonspecialists—citizen scientists—are pitching in as well. Whale.FM—a collaborative effort of Scientific American, Zooniverse and the research institutions WHOI, TNO, the University of Oxford and SMRU—lets citizen scientists help marine researchers who are studying what whales are saying. (You can [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Citizen Scientists Study Whale Songs: Years of Work Done in Months

In November 2011, Scientific American, Zooniverse and a team of research partners launched the Web site Whale.FM, a citizen-science project devoted to cataloging the calls made by Pilot whales and Killer whales (Orcas), both of which are actually dolphin species. Different whale families have their own dialects and closely related families share calls. Underwater microphones, [...]

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Expeditions

Counting Fish: Wrap Up and Conclusion

Since July 2012, I’ve been posting about a study of artificial reefs along the Texas coast. Scientists at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies in Corpus Christi conducted the research, funded by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, to determine whether these structures increase fish populations, and whether their location, type and [...]

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Expeditions

Scientists Explore New Zealand’s Deep Sea (Part II)

sea urchin image

We made five planned dives during our voyage, each one a day long. It is a long day for the sub team. It takes several hours to prepare the submersible for the dive, and after seven to eight hours on the seafloor, another round of work is needed to prepare the sub for its next [...]

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Expeditions

Scientists Explore New Zealand’s Deep Sea (Part I)

Shinkai 6500 submarine

The JAMSTEC research vessel RV Yokosuka sailed from Nuku’alofa in Tonga this morning, heading towards New Zealand to explore the animal life on deep undersea mountains, or seamounts. A team of 14 scientists from Japan and New Zealand, 41 ships officers and crew are on board. The Yokosuka is the mother ship for the human-operated [...]

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Expeditions

Arts and crafts day on the Knorr

Yesterday was officially arts and crafts day on the R/V Knorr. We had a very specific project: decorate styrofoam cups. If you’re wondering why, just hold on a minute. First, some pictures of our beautiful cups: Ok, so the reason we each decorated a couple of cups has to do with pressure in the ocean. [...]

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Expeditions

The South Pacific Islands Survey–Destination: The Cook Islands!

I’ve already been nicknamed Jeffery. Now, Jeffery, I should mention, is the ship’s jack-of-all-trades. In 2009 I sailed with him and Algalita to the Pacific Garbage Patch and Captain Dale decided I just might be as helpful as Jeff. Well, I can tell you right now that I don’t know how to repair a broken [...]

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Expeditions

The Catlin Arctic Survey: Thermohaline circulation

If you look at a map of the world and draw a line through London, a latitude of about 50 degrees North and follow this line across the world, you’ll see that it passes through southern Siberia and skims the southern shores of Hudson Bay in Canada. The week before I came out to the [...]

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Expeditions

Measuring iron’s importance to ocean life

rv-atlantis

Editor’s Note: Journalist and crew member Kathryn Eident and scientist Jeremy Jacquot are traveling on board the RV Atlantis on a monthlong voyage to sample and study nitrogen fixation in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, among other research projects. This is the fourth blog post detailing this ongoing voyage of discovery for ScientificAmerican.com. RV ATLANTIS [...]

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Expeditions

How do you build an observatory on the ocean floor?

Editor’s Note: University of Southern California geobiologist Katrina Edwards is taking part in a three-week drilling project at the Atlantic’s North Pond—a sediment-filled valley on the ocean floor—designed to locate and study what she calls the “intraterrestrials”: the myriad microbial life-forms living inside Earth’s crust. This post is a response to a question from a [...]

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Guest Blog

How does a floating plastic duckie end up where it does?

In Moby-Duck, Donovan Hohn tracks the fate of 28,800 plastic bath toys (“rubber” ducks, frogs, turtles and beavers) across the northwestern coast to their origins in China and even through the Northwest Passage. But how did these bath toys come to be spread on the shores of Alaska, Washington, Hawaii and Russia? On January 10th [...]

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Guest Blog

A True Duck Hunt: interview with Donovan Hohn

For the author of Moby-Duck, Donovan Hohn, it all started with a school assignment. In 2008, he challenged his journalism class to find the "archaeology of the ordinary." A student, known to be a bit of an odd one, wrote his assignment on his lucky rubber duck. In passing, the student mentioned a newspaper article [...]

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Guest Blog

Overboard: 28,800 toys and one man lost at sea

Few things inspire wonder like seeing something out of its element: Christmas lights on a cactus, a flag on the moon or a yellow rubber duck floating in the middle of the ocean. This incongruity captivates writer Donovan Hohn, who decides to go looking for 28,800 bath toys 13 years after they were lost at [...]

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Guest Blog

Slabs, Sneakers, Gyres and the Grotesque

Book review: ‘Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How one man’s obsession with runaway sneakers and rubber ducks revolutionized ocean science’ by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano, Collins hardcover edition, 2009: ISBN 978-0-06-155841-2, HarperCollins paperback edition, 2010: ISBN 978-0-06-155842-9 With a touch of whimsy, tales of the grotesque, and the barest hints of essential mathematics, Dr. [...]

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Guest Blog

Now in 3-D: The shape of krill and fish schools

Watching videos of fish feeding frenzies is a very emotional experience for me. You know the videos I’m talking about (personal favorites here, 0:55 in, and here). They feature a swirling, glittering mass of fish that seems to dance and flit as a single entity while being torn apart by three or four types of [...]

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Image of the Week

Drown Your Town

DrownYourTown_mini

From: Drown Your Town: what does your hometown look like with sea level rise? by David Wogan at Plugged In. Source: Andrew David Thaler Amid a couple of harrowing weeks in the science blogging community, a madcap and dastardly plan was hatched by the Southern Fried Scientist, Andrew David Thaler. Using Google Maps and a [...]

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Observations

Oceans Likened to World’s Biggest Failed State

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Credit: Wikimedia Commons Overfishing and pollution have pushed life in the high seas to the brink of collapse, according to a new report from the Global Ocean Commission. “The oceans are a failed state,” David Miliband, co-chair of the commission, told Reuters. The commission has implored governments to set a five-year deadline to deal with [...]

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Observations

Submersible Dives Deep and Dies, Disheartening Scientists

Wood Hole’s Nereus sub succumbed to extreme pressure and imploded six kilometers down while exploring the vast Kermadec Trench. Image courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Efforts to explore the deepest recesses of Earth’s oceans were dealt a heavy blow last weekend when one of history’s most accomplished deep-sea explorers imploded several kilometers beneath the Pacific and resurfaced in pieces. Fortunately, the ill-fated Nereus submersible was a robot and no one was injured when it succumbed to overwhelming subsurface pressure during [...]

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Observations

Complex Brains Existed 520 Million Years Ago in Cockroach Relative

insect brain evolution 520 million years arthropod fossil

Your everyday cockroach might not seem terribly intelligent. But new fossil evidence from 520 million years ago suggests that this insidious insect might have had some surprisingly smart early ancestors. Cockroaches and other insects belong to a group called the arthropods, which arose some 540 million years ago. A new Chinese fossil is yielding new [...]

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Observations

How Would Fish Vote in the 2012 Election?

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

This week’s look at the ScienceDebate answers provided by Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama focuses on their replies to a question about the health of our oceans and coastlines. Two areas in particular—declining fisheries and pollution—were highlighted for special consideration. Of course, the oceans also play a major role in driving weather systems [...]

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Observations

Oyster Genome Pries Open Mollusk Evolutionary Shell

oyster genome sequence

The world of the mollusk genome is now our oyster, as researchers have now sequenced the genetic code of this hearty (and delicious) shellfish, revealing it to be even more complex and adaptable than previously imagined. The new genome provides insights how oysters manage to cope with a dynamic habitat and how they build their [...]

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Observations

50 Shades of Sea Slug Sex: It’s Stranger Than You Think

sea slug sex traumatic mating female

Two-part barbed penises, a physical struggle and 20 minutes of penetration. That’s how some sea slugs do it. But the real shocker is that, for one species at least, those in the female role seem to engage in these bizarre, violent sexual encounters more often than might be biologically necessary. Nothing about sea-slug sex sounds [...]

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Observations

This Psychedelic Shrimp Will Get You Hammered [Video]

peacock mantis shrimp hammer club

The psychedelic-looking peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) has a decidedly non-peacenik way of getting a meal: clubbing it. This small (3 to 18-centimeter-long), solitary stomatopod wields two dastardly hammer-like appendages. At just 5 millimeters wide, each dactyl club can generate a force of 500 Newtons. That’s enough punch to shatter the glass of a standard [...]

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Observations

Millennia-Old Microbes Found Alive in Deep-Ocean Muck

mud-core

A sparse community of microbes can persist for eons in the clay beneath the deep blue sea. When scientists drilled into the Pacific Ocean bottom and pulled up a long core of clay, they also pulled up microbes living on so little that it was hard for the scientists to tell if they were alive [...]

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Observations

5-Armed Brittle Stars Always Face Front [Video]

brittle star

How would you walk if you had five arms and no brains? If you’re a brittle star, the answer turns out to be quite well (for an echinoderm)—although it’s a little complicated. The blunt-spined brittle star (Ophiocoma echinata) looks like a claymation creature from an alien horror movie as it moves its disk-like body along [...]

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Observations

A Bike That Uses Its Brakes for a Speed Boost (and Other Student Engineer Inventions) [Video]

flywheel, bicycle,energy

For more than 150 years New York City’s Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art (more commonly called The Cooper Union) has finished its school years with an annual event  showcasing student projects in the areas of art, architecture and engineering. Of the more than 300 projects on display this year were several [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Female Octopus Strangles Mate, Then Eats Him

octopus

Octopuses do the darndest things. Like kill their mate during mating—by strangling him with three arms, according to new observations from the wild. Enterprising scientists Christine Huffard and Mike Bartick watched wild octopuses in action. They found that, for males, mating can be a dangerous game. Especially when your lady has long limbs. Some of [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

DNA Finds New Octopus Species Hiding in Plain Sight

octopus

Describing a new species for science is not quite as easy as it was in the days of 17th- or 18th-century naturalists. But that just means we have to look a little more closely. Such as, into an organism’s DNA. And rather than hunting through the dense jungles for years, scientists can, with a little [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Stunning Video Explains How Octopuses Out-Change Chameleons

octopus

Chameleons are often considered the quintessential color-changers. But the octopus outdoes them—using an entirely different mechanism to alter its appearance. “Octopuses are one of the best animals on the planet at camouflage—they change color, shape and texture,” explains James Wood, a marine biologist in a recent video for the site Macronesia. Chameleons depend on hormones to cue their color [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Tiny Hairs Help Octopus Suckers Stick

octopus sucker hair

Just when you thought octopuses couldn’t get any weirder: It turns out that their suckers have an unexpectedly hairy grip. Octopuses can form an impressively tight grip—even on a rough surface. And recent detailed microscopic imaging of their suckers revealed an intricate landscape of fine grooves that make these improbable holds possible. But how do [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Why Don’t Octopuses Get Stuck to Themselves?

octopus sucker

An octopus might be one of the most intelligent invertebrates, but it doesn’t always know what, exactly, its arms are doing. How these animals manage to avoid tangling themselves up is a major feat. But another—of no small concern—is keeping free of the strong grasp of its own suckers. New research, published May 15 in [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Health: Are Octopuses Rocking Too Much Heavy Metal?

octopus

Octopuses are a popular entrée for plenty of predators—including us humans. And for good reason. Octopuses are nutritious, with loads of lean muscle in those amazing arms, and plenty of good minerals. But are they also harboring hazardous heavy metals? Surprisingly, “there is no information on the levels and magnitude of octopus contamination by heavy [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Mating Octopuses Prefer Crab Legs

octopus diet

Male octopuses don’t usually wine and dine prospective mates. But prior to mating, both males and females do seem to be in the mood for one date-worthy food: crab, according to new research published online in the Journal of Shellfish Research. Scientists studied two-spot octopuses (Octopus bimaculatus) in the Bay of Los Angeles in the [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Scientists Learn How to Put an Octopus to Sleep

octopus anesthesia sleep

We can’t really ask an octopus to count backward from 10. Which is just one of the tricky things about putting an octopus under. If knocking an octopus out (for science) sounds like an unusual procedure, well, it is. But it’s likely going to get a lot more common in labs around the world. Canada, [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Does the Octopus Really “Fart” Ink?—and Other Strange Facts [Video]

octopus

It’s true that the octopus is super weird. These animals have blue blood and three hearts. And as online personality and humorist Ze Frank points out in his latest video creation, it seems that they can also “fart ink at a moment’s notice”—pointing to this as “evolution at its finest.” The video’s tongue-in-cheek tone might [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Scientists Move to Patent Octopus Robot

octopus

Scientists have spent years crafting a very special, creepy robot. One that can crawl over obstacles, swim through surf and grasp just about any object. To achieve all of these tasks, the robot needed to be unlike most other bots. It needed to be soft. In late 2011, a team of researchers in Italy had [...]

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PsiVid

“It’s so FLUFFEEE!”: Otter 501, A must-see movie!

OTTER-501-FINAL_low-res-FOR-web2-202x300

This enthusiastic movie line, lifted from the kids film, “Despicable Me“, about an evil villian whose heart is warmed by a trio of young girls who come into his life, is a very appropriate introduction to a movie that animal lovers simply must take time out to see . If you are along the west [...]

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Running Ponies

Pyura chilensis: the closest thing to getting blood from a stone

“Period Rock? You’re calling me Period Rock now? Guys, seriously, I might look like a stone, but that doesn’t mean I have the heart of one. Why doesn’t anyone ever just call me Michael?” **** Despite appearances, this is not some kind of cruelly bisected alien stone organism or a tomato thunderegg. This is Pyura [...]

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Symbiartic

Music Steeped in the Wilds of Canada

14-014FEATURE

Eighteen years ago this July, a group of 14 adventurers unloaded tents, gear, food, canoes, and two guitars from the back of a big old bus and loaded them into 7 canoes in a nondescript boat launch outside of Yellowknife, NWT. For the next 47 days, they would paddle against the current, slog through bogs, [...]

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Symbiartic

If Anime Can Save Science Outreach, It Will Look Like This

Guilty_Yuumei_mini

Guilty, by Yummei a.k.a. Wenquing Yan is simply a stunning and extraordinary work of art in an attempt to raise ecological awareness about pollution in the oceans. Painted in a realistic and anime blended style, the lighting, complicated colours create an almost idealized version of reality. Yuumei says about the piece, “Education is the best [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt of the Day: The Great Architeuthis

12-028FEATURE

From: Louis Figuier, The Ocean World: Being a description of the sea and some of its inhabitants, 1872. Perusing the stacks in the University of Chicago’s Crerar Library one day, I found this gem of a book – a richly illustrated account of sea creatures from 1872 by a naturalist named Louis Figuier. In it [...]

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