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Posts Tagged "marine biology"

Anecdotes from the Archive

Spring break sure looked different back then

Woods Holl students

These coeds may be spending some time down at the beach, but as students of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Wood’s Holl, Mass., it’s for work rather than play. The laboratory, featured in the July 4, 1903, Scientific American Supplement, was founded on the belief of naturalist Louis Agassiz: “nature and not books should be [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Plankton Astound With Their Many Ways of Bustin’ a Move

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Though plankton drift with the ocean currents, that doesn’t mean they’re incapable of any movement. Many of them can move to find food or mates, and they do so in some surprising and sometimes entertaining ways. Just have a look at this sampler of dinoflagellaes, ciliates, rotifers, cladocerans, and copepod larvae and adults put together [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Wonderful Things: The Starry Night Beneath the Caribbean Sea

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One of the most astounding events of my life was immediately preceded by one of the scariest: I turned out my dive light in the ocean at night.

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The Artful Amoeba

Dandruff-Causing Skin Fungi Discovered Unexpectedly in Deep Sea Vents, Antarctica

malassezia_CDCphil_pd_200

Until relatively recently, the fungus Malassezia was thought to have one favorite home: us. As the dominant fungus on human skin and sometimes-cause of dandruff, the yeast Malassezia was thought to live a simple if sometimes irritating domestic existence humbly mooching off the oils we exude. No more. Thanks to the efforts of scientists over [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Deepsea Challenge Hits Theaters; Here’s the Biology Behind the Film

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Note: James Cameron’s National Geographic film “Deepsea Challenge 3D” documenting his trip to Challenger Deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench has been released at last — to about 300 “select theaters” on August 8. So far, critics’ reviews have been mixed, with some saying that the movie is long on Cameron and short [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Open Ocean Mama Squid Clings to Bundle of Squirming Bubble Wrap

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Bottom-dwelling squid and octopus usually attach their eggs to a hard surface, but open ocean squid have no such luxury. For many years, scientists thought such squid simply released their eggs to the whims of the currents. Recently, however, Stephanie Bush at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute discovered that the situation for some open ocean [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Funnel-Shaped Animals Invented Reefs Prior to Cambrian Explosion

Ediacaran reef Penny et al 2014 Fig 2 closeup_200

Scientists have long thought of the Cambrian Explosion 541 million years ago as the flowering of complex life on Earth. Strangely shaped, large soft-bodied organisms were known to have lived in the period just prior — the Ediacaran — but they made few hard parts and scientists have debated whether any or how many were [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

A Closer Look at a Tiny, Floating Horde

sea_urchin_larvae_kirby_ocean_drifters

It’s a strange but true fact that the young of many familiar sea creatures look nothing like them. Drifting on currents to distribute their kind, they are an unsung part of the plankton, itself an unsung part of the sea. A few years back, I wrote about the work of Richard Kirby, a research fellow [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

What Do Vampire Squid Really Eat? Hint: It’s Not Blood

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Waters nearly devoid of oxygen are not just found off the coast of South America, as we saw last time. “Oxygen minimum zones” may occur throughout the world’s ocean’s at mid-water depths where food consumption is high but supplies of oxygen are low. Although, as I mentioned last time, such waters are dead zones for [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Missing Nitrogen May Be Vanishing in the Tubes of Giant Bacteria

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Off the coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula lies a dark, still, deep place. It is called the Soledad Basin, and in it lies a garden of bacteria so large you can see them with your own eyes. A 250-m high ridge on the edge of the Soledad basin traps water inside. No strong currents disturb [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

The Private Life of Plankton — in HD

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Artistic black-and-white photos of plankton — as we saw last time — are fabulous. But what if one hungers for HD? The Plankton Chronicles have got you covered. On Friday I wrote about the Plankton Portal, a project to enlist the public’s help in identifying and cataloguing weird, deep-sea life. Via their blog, I learned [...]

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Compound Eye

An Interview with Christine Shepard, Shark Photographer

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Anyone paying attention to science outreach in recent years will have learned a great deal about shark biology, whether they intended to or not. That’s because the University of Miami’s R. J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, an active shark research group, communicates its efforts on a social media scale few other laboratories can match. Their tweets [...]

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Expeditions

All Aboard: how you can be a part of our research blog

Hi there! I’m Rose, a science journalist and producer. I live in Brooklyn now, where I write, produce and generally try to explain science-y things. But in a few weeks, I’ll be writing to you from somewhere far, far away from Brooklyn: the North Atlantic Ocean. I’m heading out to sea with a research group [...]

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Expeditions

Squid studies: How does one get ready for an expedition?

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Editor’s Note: Marine biologist William Gilly is on an expedition to study Humboldt squid on the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System research vessel New Horizon in the Gulf of California. He and other scientists will spend the coming weeks learning about the giant squid, their biology and ecology on this National Science Foundation-funded expedition. This is [...]

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Guest Blog

Let’s Expand Terrestrial Parks into the Ocean

A southern elephant seal colony on Argentina’s Patagonia coast. Argentina has for several years been expanding a number of its coastal protected parks for penguins, sea lions and elephant seals to the limits of its territorial sea. (Credit: Cristián Samper/WCS)

“A land ethic,” the great naturalist writer Aldo Leopold observed toward the end of his famous Sand County Almanac, “reflects the existence of an ecological conscience, and this in turn reflects a conviction of individual responsibility for the health of land.” This philosophy of care for the earth’s ecosystems and species provides one of the [...]

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Guest Blog

In Indonesia, a Worrying Silence on Climate Change

Resilient coral. A colony of table coral that broke down, recovered and is now growing into other direction.

Dive into the limpid waters off Indonesia’s resort island of Bali and you’ll spot the beginnings of an environmental success story. Older reefs are recovering from the devastating coral bleaching of 1998 and 2009. New corals are now taking hold. On shore, local fishermen also see improvement. There are, at long last, more and bigger [...]

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Guest Blog

To catch a fallen sea angel: A mighty mollusk detects ocean acidification

  "What’s more," snapped the Lorax. (His dander was up.) "Let me say a few words about Gluppity-Glupp. Your machine chugs on, day and night without stop making Gluppity-Glupp. Also Schloppity-Schlopp. And what do you do with this leftover goo?… I’ll show you. You dirty old Once-ler man, you! "You’re glumping the pond where the [...]

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Running Ponies

New carnivorous harp sponge discovered in deep sea

Chondrocladia lyra

You may remember the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) from such discoveries as the Yeti crab, the squid with elbows and my personal favourite, the pigbutt worm, and now they’re back with footage of a new species of carnivorous sponge. Seventeen years ago, Jean Vacelet and Nicole Boury-Esnault from the Centre of Oceanology at [...]

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Running Ponies

Eunice aphroditois is rainbow, terrifying

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If Hell’s a glittery rainbow party of terror, you’ll find this guy having post-drinks in the pub at 10am. This is Eunice aphroditois, otherwise known as a bobbit worm. Apparently around 20 years ago, an underwater photographer thought it and other species in the Eunice genus were reminiscent enough of the Bobbitt family incident of [...]

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Running Ponies

Monsters in a barrel, sea slugs and the art of (man-o) war

Because I’ll never grow tired of seeing incredible footage of sea creatures, here are a few of the best ones I’ve seen lately. First up, a video by a group called Coral Morphologic, which is an art-science project led by James Cook University-educated marine biologist Colin Foord, and American musician Jared McKay. “With the aquarium [...]

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Running Ponies

Hitchhiking jellyfish, gonad-loving parasites and the skeleton shrimp

I recently came across this incredible underwater photography by russian marine biologist and underwater photographer, Alexander Semenov – head of the White Sea Biological Station deep-sea diving team from the Lomonosov Moscow State University. And as always with sea creatures, an investigation into the way they work reveals that they are truly just as bizarre [...]

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Running Ponies

Get on your bike, Phallostethus cuulong

Who says genitals have to be between your legs? A new species of fish has literally turned the genital game on its head and is quietly running with it in the murky Meking River. Discovered in 2009 by zoologist Koichi Shibukawa from the Nagao Natural Environment Foundation in Tokyo, Japan, and described in a recent [...]

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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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