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Posts Tagged "ocean"

The Artful Amoeba

How To Visit the Deep Sea

ophiourid_black_coral_noaa_pd_200

For at least the last 15 years, I have dreamed of travelling to the deep sea. If you read this blog regularly or have ever watched a documentary about the deep sea, you understand why. As marine biologist (and co-sighter of the first underwater giant squid) Edith Widder says in one of her many fascinating [...]

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@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

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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

Wireless Robot Octopus Swims with the Fishes [Video]

octopus robot swim

Robot octopuses can already walk, jet along and even grasp tools. But new advances have these machines swimming faster than ever. And thanks to the addition of soft, fleshy webs, they’re starting to look—and move—much more like the real thing, too. In fact, the latest octopus robot has already been for a successful swim—alongside real [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

8 Great Octopus Videos! [Video]

It’s Octopus Chronicles‘ 88th post! To celebrate, I’ve gone on an all-arms hunt through the deep crevasses of the internet to find eight of my favorite octopus videos. Some are old classics (such as Roger Hanlon‘s amazing, reverse-vanishing octopus) and others are new and stunning—and one even features an octopus walking (slithering?) on land. Really, [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Will Climate Change Bring an Invasion of the Octopuses—Or Halt It?

Climate change is bad news for many species. Environments are changing more rapidly than plants and animals can adapt to—or move out of—them. Octopuses, however, reproduce so quickly (and multitudinously) and have such short generation times, they are generally well primed to adapt and move.  The common Sydney octopus (Octopus tetricus), for one, is expanding [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Common Octopus Proves Uncommonly Difficult to Define

The seemingly ubiquitous common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) is our platonic octopus ideal. Even if Plato didn’t write about it, Aristotle did. And since then, it has been the most widely studied (and consumed) species. But contemporary science is complicating things, a new paper, published this month in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, details. The [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Dumbo Octopus Gives Rare View [Video]

New, stunning video from a deep-sea vehicle reveals a rare view of the Dumbo octopus. Don’t let the name fool you—the Dumbo octopus (Grimpoteuthis) is no dummy. And those protrusions on the side of its body are not—like its cartoon namesake flaunts—big ears, but rather fins, which help it swim above the seafloor. This strange and [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopus-Inspired Camouflage Flashes to Life in Smart Material

Octopuses and their cephalopod cousins are the undisputed masters of disguise. An octopus can change its color, texture and luminosity faster than you can say “camouflage.” So far our lowly human attempts at imitation have been quite crude. But a flashy new smart material might just be our closest step yet. The main tool the [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Happy 8/8! Can You Spot These 8 Hiding Octopuses?

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We must wait patiently two more months until the official International Octopus Day. But August 8th (8/8) is reason enough to celebrate these awesome, eight-armed creatures. But octopuses are the shy retiring type. With darn amazing camouflage. Even experienced underwater divers and scientists often have a difficult time spotting them (I sure did when I [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopus Eggs Need Helpful Bacteria to Stay Healthy, Too

We’re just learning how important certain microbes can be to our own health. They can help us digest foods and protect us from harmful invaders. New research suggests that certain bacteria are also crucial for octopuses—especially when they’re just starting out. The findings were published online in Aquaculture Research earlier this month. A team of [...]

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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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PsiVid

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

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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

Say It With Me: Nuuu-Deee-Brank

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Scientific illustrator Danielle Dufault is quickly collecting a reputation for her prehistoric animal reconstructions – from dinosaurs to sharks – many while working at the Royal Ontario Museum. But after looking through her portfolio, I couldn’t resist calling attention to0 this wild and spectacular Nudibranchs illustration. Of course it’s possible that pretty soon Dufault will [...]

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Symbiartic

Music Steeped in the Wilds of Canada

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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

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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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