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This is an Introduction to Oceanography course blog site where the students post their short weekly blog entries. Each student is expected to post at least 10 blog entries  during the 8/29 (Mon)-12/2 (Fri) period.

Students may write a short paragraph about their new learning or new enlightenment/perspectives based on the new knowledge learned from the class, textbook, lab, or other sources (e.g. Science and the Sea podcasts, New York Times Science articles, etc.).

The typical blog entry would consist of a short paragraph of text, and any relevant URL link or graphic image with proper citation or source information. See the example blog entry posted below (note the attached image and hyperlink inserted). Make sure you write a title of your entry in the title box, and enter the contents in the text editor. Please "attach image" INSIDE the text editor, instead of outside the editor so your attached graphic can be readily viewed on the posting. Always write your name at the bottom of the content with your section# (but no EID), so TAs can keep track of your postings. You can change the size of the image after you attach it, but consider to keep its size less than 400x600 (or 600x400).

The posting will be made with your name and anonymous posting or comment is not allowed. You may add comments to other students' posts, but please be courteous and positive in your feedback. Any inappropriate or offensive comments will be removed.

Hope you enjoy this feature and can add new dynamic to the class.

-
(9/2/11) Use the 'Mashup' icon to insert the YouTube video link (see below for updated image).
(9/1/11) If you want to make a change of your entry after you post it, you may choose 'edit' option of your
             posting and edit your content (i.e. you don't need to write edition/correction on the Comments).

  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Aquaculture
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In response to world wide over-fishing, individuals have begun a practice called aquaculture, or fish farming. This is the cultivation of aquatic animals in a man made environment that mimics an over-fished species' native environment. Although aquaculture has gaining support, it is an expensive and difficult process. Many set backs can also occur for an aquaculture farmer. For example, it is common for disease and parasites to affect the population of organisms being cultivated in fish farming. If disease is spread throughout the farmed species, the entire harvest for a fish farmer would be ruined. 
Aquaculture is a good step in the right direction to combat over-fishing. Because it is expensive and subject to difficulty, it should be refined through further practice and research to serve as a more efficient way maintain global fish populations. 
Mary Graham
section 27345

Natural remedy to invasive algae
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Qizhi Zhang

http://www.chinapost.com.tw/china/national-news/2011/07/11/309343/Natural-remedy.htm

Fish farmers in this coastal city of East China's Shandong province are raising a special fish in a pilot program to fight plankton, namely Enteromorpha prolifera, a species of green algae that has been invading the city's coastline since 2007. In June to September in recent years, the plankton clogged the farms. The algae die after a time and the resulting decay consumes much of the oxygen in the water, harming the growth of aquacultural products.

Chen put 5,000 Siganus oramin, or nicknamed lanziyu in China, in his 2-hectare sea cucumber farm early in June, before the plankton had spread off the shore of Qingdao.“The fish like eating algae, and plankton is among their favorites,” Chen Guobiao, a local fish farmer, told China Daily, after experimenting in a sea cucumber pond since May 2010.“As a result, hardly any plankton was seen in the farm in the following months and the fish did not harm the sea cucumbers,” he said.

One experiment Chen and his co-workers conducted showed that 20 lanziyu could consume five kilograms of algae in less than 20 minutes.

It is finally a good thing that algae can be cured witthout using artificial chemicals. Sometimes, invasive species can be remedied by introducing the right predator.
Natural remedy fights invading Qingdao algae

El Nino's effect on fishery
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Qizhi Zhang
53905

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Ni%C3%B1o-Southern_Oscillation#South_America

El Niño is defined by prolonged differences in Pacific Ocean surface temperatures when compared with the average value. The accepted definition is a warming or cooling of at least 0.5 °C (0.9 °F) averaged over the east-central tropical Pacific Ocean. Typically, this anomaly happens at irregular intervals of 2–7 years and lasts nine months to two years.
Along the west coast of South America, El Niño reduces the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water that sustains large fish populations, which in turn sustain abundant sea birds, whose droppings support the fertilizer industry. This leads to fish kills offshore Peru.
The local fishing industry along the affected coastline can suffer during long-lasting El Niño events. The world's largest fishery collapsed due to overfishing during the 1972 El Niño Peruvian anchoveta reduction.

Trawling
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trawling

Qizhi Zhang
53905

Trawling is a method of fishing that involves pulling a fishing net through the water behind one or more boats. The net that is used for trawling is called a trawl.Although trawling today is heavily regulated in some nations, it remains the target of many protests by environmentalists. Environmental concerns related to trawling refer to two areas: a perceived lack of selectivity and the physical damage which the trawl does to the seabed.
Because bottom trawling involves towing heavy fishing gear over the seabed, it can cause large scale destruction on the ocean bottom, including coral shattering, damage to habitats and removal of seaweed.
Trawling is also blamed as a fishing method that causes a lot of bycatch and overfishing.
File:Trawling Drawing.jpg

Fukushima Ocean Contamination
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http://fukushimaupdate.com/french-study-on-fukushima-ocean-contamination-english-translation/


Qizhi Zhang
53905

A strong radioactive contamination of the marine environment occurred after the accident in the plant Nuclear Fukushima Dai-ichi March 11, 2011. It had the main source direct discharge contaminated water from the plant, which lasted until about April 8, and to a lesser extent, impact in the ocean part of radionuclides discharged into the atmosphere between 12 and 22 March.http://fukushimaupdate.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Fukushima_I_NPP_1975.jpg

As seen in this picture, jetties are built to protect the nuclear plant from waves. After the earth quake and tsunami happened, the jetties are no longer there.

Bycatch
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The term “bycatch” is usually used for fish caught unintentionally in a fishery while intending to catch other fish. It may however also indicate untargeted catch in other forms of animal harvesting or collecting. Bycatch is of a different species, undersized individuals of the target species, or juveniles of the target species.
File:Shrimp bycatch Heist.jpg

Bycatch can be harmful to a lot of marine lifes, especially marine mammals, which can be caught in nets and drown due to lack of oxygen.
The modern technology used for fishing could generate a lot of bycatch. There are bans that are trying to protect and reduce bycatch due to trawling and other modern fishing technology.

Over-fishing
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Qizhi Zhang
53905

Over fishing occurs when fishing activities reduce fish stocks below an acceptable level. This can occur in any body of water from a pond to the oceans.
Ultimately over-fishing can lead to resource depletion in cases of subsidized fishing, low biological growth rates and critical low biomass levels (e.g. by critical depensation growth properties). For example, over-fishing of sharks has led to the upset of entire marine ecosystems.
For centuries, we human failed to recognize that any resource,  even as large as the ocean fish stock, can be one day depleted. We over farmed on the land, destroying grasslands across the continents; we over mined in mountains, harming the geoglogical and ecological environ ments.
Fortunately, human are able to learn. With laws and bans to protect the ocean, we are now closer to a eco friendly fishery.
 

The Truth About Blue Fin
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After learning about the fishing industries in lab, the topic on the Bluefin Tuna stood out to me the most. One of my favorite non-profit organizations is the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. They recently did a campaign this summer in the Mediterranean against the Bluefin Tuna fishing industry. I was amazed to find out how big the Bluefin actually was and how powerful of an animal it is to the marine life food chain when we talked about it in lab this past week. Online I found this video made by the How To Save The Bluefin group. It was not surprising to find out that corporations like Mitsubishi have frozen some Bluefin for future investments as the population of the endangered fish begins to dwindle due to an increase in demand. What I took away from this lab was awareness. I think that more people should be aware of where their food is coming from and how it is being sold and bought. Back in the day, when sanitation was a problem in the food industry, people spoke out about the problem and the truth came out. I think that today, history needs to repeat itself in the sense where awareness needs to be shared and the truth needs to be exploited in order for over-fishing to stop. Below is the informational video I found online, along with the site for the Sea Shepherd's Bluefin Tuna campaign. 
SHOCKING: The Story of the Bluefin
Duration: (4:25)
User: HOWTOSAVETHEBLUEFIN - Added: 2/15/11

 
Link to the Sea Shepherd's Bluefin Tuna campaign: http://www.seashepherd.org/blue-rage-2011/
Monica Rodriguez
Section #27235

South American Freshwater Turtle
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The Mata Mata freshwater turtle is found near the Amazon in South America. They camouflage extremely well: looking like a dry leaf and almost appear scary. They prefer marshes, stagnant pools, and swamps and standing in shallow water. The Mata Mata is a suction feeder, as it sucks its prey in through his wide mouth. The turtle is a carnivore and eats small fish and invertebrates. An adult male can reach 33 pound weight and have long necks. Their rough ridged shell and claws allow them to be fierce predator. They were name one of National Geographic’s “13 Scariest Freshwater Animals”.

 http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/photos/scariest-freshwater-animals/#/environment-mata-mata-turtle_42561_600x450.jpg

 

Samantha Smith

TA: Jeff P.

# 27360

Small but Deadly Killer
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The Box Jellyfish is a dangerous little guy that can do harm to both marine life and humans. Three types of this deadly jelly are native to the Gulf of Mexico, Japan, and Australia. These jellyfish are small in size, but have some of the most lethal venom. One type of Box Jelly, the Australian Sea Wasp, is said to have the most “potent venom of any marine creature”. The venom attacks the nervous system and causes victim to go into cardiac arrest – only one young girl is known to have survived an attack. If you find yourself near Queensland or scuba-diving in the Great Barrier Reef make sure you weary of the small deadly Box Jellies.

  

http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/15620814

Samantha Smith

TA: Jeff P.

# 27360

Sharks Gaining Protection in the Bahamas
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The Bahamas is a popular tourist attraction for many reasons: the Atlantis resort, the perfectly clear water, and the abundance of shark tours! However the shark population of the archipelago has become in danger due to overfishing. Fishermen have tried to appease the high demand for shark fin the Chinese provide, but this will no longer be possible. Bahamian lawmakers have officially put in place a law to ban shark fishing to conserve their water’s ecosystem. This is one of the few small island countries to ban shark-fishing, hopefully more will follow suit to preserve the ocean’s top predator. The ban will begin on January 1, 2012. 
 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14040902
Samantha Smith
TA: Jeff P.
#: 27360

 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Giant manta rays
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Giant manta rays are the largest of the rays and are closely related to sharks. They have no stinger and are rather harmless. They can leap high from the water. They move by moving their pectoral fins, which can grow up to 9 meters wide. They can weigh over two tons. They have blade-like projections on either side of their head that help to steer plankton into their mouths. 
Info. from marinebio.org, photo from Google images
  
Joan Ferguson
27330
TA: Leslie

Giant sponges
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Giant sea sponges can live up to thousands of years. The sponges filter the water and provide a habitat for some organisms. Because corals have been on the decline for years, more room has been made for sea sponges to live. A particular species, the barrel sponge, has increased in population by  40% since 2000 in Key Largo, Florida. Baby barrel sponges are the size of a thimble, but can grow to be the size of 55-gallon drums. 
Info. and photo from thestickytongue.org
 
Joan Ferguson
27330
TA: Leslie

Whip coral
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Whip coral has slender whip-like branches that come in a multitude of colors. It's branches are covered in polyps and the coral can grow up to three feet tall. It can grow on hard surfaces such as reefs and rocks and lives in high-salinity environments. The coral lives off of plankton and tiny particles consumed by tentacles on each polyp that sweep up prey. After hatching, the larvae float in currents for about 20 days before attaching to a surface to grow. 
Info. from chesapeakebay.net, photo from Google images
 
Joan Ferguson
27330
TA: Leslie

Sea Spiders
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Sea spiders are found in many parts of the ocean and vary in size. Some living in shallow depths have a leg span of about one inch. Some living in the deep ocean can have leg spans of up to 24 inches. There are about 500 species of sea spiders. They usually have four pairs of long, skinny legs attached to the abdomen, and three pairs of appendages attached to the head. Of these appendages, one pair is for sensory, another is for grasping food, and the third is for carrying eggs. The female lays eggs on the males appendages, where the male carries them until they hatch. Sea spiders feed by sucking body juices of marine organisms such as anemones and sponges. They belong to the phylum Arthropoda.
Info. from howstuffworks.com, photo from Google images
 
Joan Ferguson
27330
TA: Leslie

Jellyfish- fun facts
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Jellyfish have drifted along currents since before dinosaurs roamed the Earth. They have stinging cells in their tentacles to stun or paralyze their prey before they eat them. Jellyfish eat and discard waste from a single opening in their body, their mouths. They squirt water from their mouths to move as well. Usually when a human is stung by a jellyfish, it is when the person accidentally brushed up against it. The stings can vary in pain and can sometimes be deadly. The most toxic jellyfish to humans is the Australian sea wasp. The lion's mane jellyfish can have a bell that can reach six feet in diameter. Jellyfish can even sting when they're dead!
Info. from National Geographic, photo from Google images
 
Joan Ferguson
27330
TA: Leslie

Maelstroms
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A maelstrom is an extremely large whirlpool that occurs in a large body of water. It can make the water swirl at 18 km/h. It can have very powerful downdraft, but contrary to popular myth, there is no record of large ships ever being pulled into the depths by one. The original maelstrom that Edgar Allen Poe spoke of is a current caused by tides near the Norwegian coast. It is formed by conflicting strong currents that cross the straits between the islands and the tides. Poe fictionally described a maelstrom as a whirlpool that reaches the ocean bottom, when really it is just conflicting currents. 
Info. from wikipedia. Photo from google images.
 
Joan Ferguson
27330
TA: Leslie

Sea camouflage
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A small species of squid and octopus have adapted to resist being spotted by predators. Some that hunt these sea creatures dive deep and look up to spot their silhouettes. Others, like deep-sea dragon fish, shine a light they have to reflect off the skin of these organisms. It's recently been found that at least two species of cephalopod have developed the ability to switch between two disguises that camouflage them in either situation. By distributing sacs of black pigment, they switch between the two. 
Info. and photo from NYT article
 
Joan Ferguson
27330 
TA: Leslie

Star fish
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Starfish are echinoderms that live in the world's oceans. There's about 1,800 species of starfish living anywhere from around the surface to the abyss. Starfish are capable of regeneration and feed on mussels. They are bilaterally symmetrical, and typically possess five arms, though some species have six or more. The Antarctic Labidiaster annulatus can have up to 50 arms! To eat, the starfish ingests from it's mouth on the lower side of it's body where it travels through a short esophagus and then through it's two stomachs. It has enzymes in all of it's arms that aid in digestion and a small intestine that connects to it's anus which is on the upper side of the starfish's body. 
Information from wikipedia. Photo from google images 

  
Joan Ferguson
27330
TA: Leslie

Squid Mystery
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The Humboldt Squid.

 
 In May 2010, these squids were impacted strongly by El Nino and when researchers went to look for them in the Sea of Cortez, they were "largely missing."
 When they did find some, they were less than 6 months old and weighted a pound when they should have been 12-18 months old weighting 20-30 pounds.
Supposedly what happened was that during El Nino, nutrient-poor water flowed into the Sea of Cortez which caused the phytoplankton and every other species around it to die.
 This is why researchers think that squid left towards the Midriff Islands in search for more nutrients and food. Researchers expect conditions to return to normal this year and for the squid to return.
 I think that this article was interesting because it depicted the importance of nutrients to be found in a habitat for ocean life to thrive. It showed that if those nutrients could not be found, then species would be forced to migrate to areas where they could be.
27350

Sea anemones
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A sea anemone is a predatory animal that is part of the phylum cnidaria, so they are closely related to coral and jellyfish. Most species attach to the ocean floor, while some are pelagic, and float upside down in the water. This is accomplished by a gas chamber that is located in the pedal disk (which is what they use to attach themselves.) Anemones typically eat small shrimp and fish. The poison found in anemones paralizes their prey so it can be moved to the mouth and digested. Fish that live in anemones (clownfish) are not affected by the sting. This is because they have a special adaptation that makes the mucus that coats their outer skin thicker than that of most fish. Sea anemones can be anywhere from a few cm tall to about 3 meters.
Info. from wikipedia. Photo from google images 
 
Joan Ferguson
27330
TA: Leslie

Human-induced climate change
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The recent climate records that have been set are said by a UN panel to have partially been caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The emissions have attributed to high and low temperature records, and possibly coastal flooding. A scientist at Princeton University said that a hot, moist climate poses the greatest threat to the Earth in terms of natural disasters. In this report released today (Friday), some scientists said that an increase in hurricanes could be due to the great temperatures, but others said the claim was not significant enough to prove anything. It was agreed upon by all in the report, however, that the continuation of increasing global warming will coincide with the number of natural disasters. The report mentioned that a global heat wave that occurs about every 20 years will occur as much as every couple of years by the end of the century if global warming is not significantly decreased. Along with this increase in disasters, the report said that the vulnerability of humans to these disasters will increase as well due to increase in population. I think this report is extremely relevant at a time of record drought and temperatures that we're experiencing. We should treat this as a wake up call to change our Earth-harming actions to sustain a healthy environment for our children and grandchildren.
info from NYT Science article, photo from google images
 
Joan Ferguson
27330
TA: Leslie 

Seals on Thin Ice
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Given the extremely cold nature of the Arctic Circle many seem to think that it is inhospitable; however, there are a number of species of ice-seal that rely on these thousands of tons of ice as their habitat. These ice-seals very rarely make the venture onto actual land and rely on the ice for molting, resting, and breeding. Due to the climate changes that have occurred over the past couple decades we are experiencing warmer and warmer temperatures which in turn lead to diminishing amounts of ice. Honestly I don't want to get into a debate over global warming in this blog because it isn't even worth my time, but it is important that we discover ways to foster a stable climate for these ice-seals or their very existence will be in jeopardy. 
 
http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=192&Itemid=6
Jonny Blake, 27345

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Squid and Octopus
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In the Pacific Ocean, recent research has shown that two species of cephalopod has generated the abilities to use two different disguises to avoid their predators. In a split second, they can change their appearance from a transparent form that does not produce shadows, to a very dark form that blends in with the deep water. They did not previously have this ability, but it seems that they have evolved in order to survive. They have sacs of pigment, which can produce both the glossy, transparent shape as well as the dark figure. This ability is quite unique and very interesting to see, since we can track the evolution of these particular animals, and perhaps more to come. Maybe in the future we will see other marine animals adopting similar traits and characteristics to further aid their survival.
Nathan Cho
UTD EID : ndc396
Section # : 53905

New Dolphin Species Discovered
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A new species of dolphin has been discovered in Austrailia. It has been known that distinct dolphin populations normally swim off southeastern Austrailia, but DNA tests have demonstrated that the creatures dolphins are genetically very different "from the two recognized bottlenose dolphin species, the common bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose."  The team examined dolphin skulls and determined that Burrunan dolphins have different cranial differences, meaning a new species was discovered. How did this type of dolphin go unnoticed for so long? Reports of physical variations in dolphins have been known for years. However, the study is the first to use strong evidence to make a case for a new species. Since the population of this certain species is very small, the next step would be to protect them from extinction.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/09/110916-new-dolphin-species-australia-science-plos-melbourne/

Fernanda Vazquez

fv2266

27360

TA: Jeff

Less than 2% of the Ocean is Protected
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Globally, only 5,000 marine areas are protected, meaning only 2% of the ocean is preserved. The preserves were originally created in order to protect habitats and wildlife. Some protected areas are completely closed from all activities, but many still allow sport fishing and other recreational activities. To summarize, only less than 1% of the world's oceans do not allow fishing. The United States has only 29.39% of of the territorial seas covered and Canada only has a little bit more than 1% preserved. Globally, the numbers are very small in the amount of preserved territory. More needs to be done to protect our oceans, since the number of people that are living on Earth is increasing dramatically and many people live close to the oceans.

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/take-action/marine-protected-areas/

-Fernanda Vazquez

fv2266

27360

TA: Jeff

Scientists to Find Causes for melting glacier.
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Next month, a team of researchers from both NASA and the National Science Foundation are going to one of Antarctica's most active, spots in an attempt to determine how changes under an active ice sheet are causing a glacier to accelerate and drain into the sea. The expedition will consist of 13 scientists and will take place in mid December. Some scientists have determined that causes for the rapid melting of the glacier include "the interaction of winds, water and ice is driving ice loss from the floating glacier. Gusts of increasingly stronger westerly winds push cold surface waters away from the continent, allowing warmer waters that normally hover at depths below the continental shelf to rise. The upwelling warm waters spill over the border of the shelf and move along the sea floor, back to where the glacier rises from the bedrock and floats, causing it to melt." For more information see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111109194323.htm

Sharks Could Carry Virus that Cures Humans
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A certain cholesterol compound that has been found in dogfish sharks has been shown to fight certain human diseases, such as fever and hepatitis. The compound has been labeled "squalamine" and is already undergoing several studies to try to combat cancer and eye disorders. Squalamine was discovered in 1993 and it inhibits the growth of blood vessels, suggesting that the molecule could probably put an end to cancer. Squalamine is a positively charged molecule, meaning that when it enters a cell it immediately sticks to the cell's inner membranes. The leader of the study states that all substances have some toxicity and that clinical trials still have to prove if the drug is 100% safe for humans. We will see in a year if it works, when the clinical trials begin.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/09/110919-sharks-drugs-medicine-viruses-science-health-squalamine/

-Fernanda Vazquez

27360

TA: Jeff

Rift in Paradise
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In this month’s National Geographic there’s a story called Rift in Paradise about Africa’s Albertine Rift and its wealth of resources rapidly being depleted because everybody’s moved there because of those resources. The global purpose of the article is to warn what we all may face struggles as the projected population of 2045 will be nine billion, and the immediacy of the article is just what we talked about in class the other day—the strife resulting from people competing for resources.

 

The struggle is between people and wildlife as well as people and other people. Land set aside as wildlife preserves is being taken over by the ever expanding population along the rift system. When that happens, people kill the animals and they also kill the rangers who might get in there way.

 

But they’v e got nowhere else to go. What’s happening is a violent free for all and the director of Rwanda’s Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace says “I’m afraid another war could be around the corner.” And the article ends with him saying, “Perhaps some of our people can migrate to the Congo” which tacks irony on the end of the story since mass migration to the Rift is what cause the problem in the first place.

 

The constant warlike state of chaos and no structured protection for communities—vast stretches of land crowded with little tin-roofed houses—means that people suffer from dangerous gases from a nearby volcano (which provides the fertile soil that attracts them in the first place) and the constant threat of rape which activists have called epidemic in proportion, “a weapon of war.” It shatters the lives of these women who’re often cast out from their families and have nowhere to go.

 

The struggle for resources here has, what this author says, “erupted with unspeakable violence.” They’re not sure how to stop it, and they’re not sure how to also protect wildlife. The hope they say though, lies in education. And one man in Rwanda believes it’s possible to get on the right track, “I’m very optimistic about our country. The future is indeed bright.” The author says Rwanda has emerged recently as the “regions beacon of hope.” However, there’s stability in the region now but at a cost to human rights. There’s less “direct plundering of resources” but at the same time make plans to “covertly exploit Congo’s mineral wealth.”

 

There’s not really a clear solution to a what is a mammoth problem. This article was a very clear snapshot of the kinds of problems societies face when there is competition for resources.

keb 2334

53970

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/11/albertine-rift/draper-text

 

Peaceful Giant
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whale shark tour cancun price phone 998-848-2904 riviera maya holbox ...

This beautiful majestic creature is a Whale Shark. It is one of the largest animals in the sea, which makes it even more surprising that it is a filter feeder. It swims through the water with its huge mouth open taking in water and then filtering it out leaving the small orgranisms like krill behind that it feeds on. It is one of natures most amazing creatures

Charleston Jackson

MNS 307, 53970

Epcot's take on the ocean
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I was recently reading a book about Epcot, Disney for another class. It was written in the 80's by a staff writer for Disney and worked closely with Walt in envisioning/defining what they wanted Epcot to be. It's a really weird book for a lot of reasons that I had to write a paper about, but for my purposes here, they have some weird stuff to say about the ocean.

So, in the Future World at Epcot they’ve got several pavilions: The Land, Universe of Motion, Universe of Energy, Journey into Imagination, etc, and The Living Seas. And what’s going on with the theme of the park is to “educate” people about the course of the future and the inevitability of man’s use of technology to conquer the world. Like I said, it’s pretty weird in a lot of ways. And especially funny when you read it in 2011 and we use technology all the time and it’s not necessarily perceived as weirdly dominating the masses (especially against their will which is what the book insinuates and actually calls a “seduction”).  And at each pavilion they teach you a little about the Earth’s past, its present, and the future. You’re supposed to get really psyched when you leave the park, and although the author tells us it’s to empower us, my thinking is it does the opposite. But that’s not what’s important for this discussion.

So, at The Living Seas pavilion, when you enter there is Poseidon who parts the waves and is supposed to calm your fears of the ocean. The visitor will learn that primitive man was superstitious of the sea, and modern man basically fears it just as much but the point of the pavilion is to let you know that the ocean is actually important for man’s survival. Well duh! But in the future man will navigate the seas without difficulty and harness its power etc etc glorious mankind and all that.

But it was really fun to read because this is the only class I’ve ever taken about the oceans specifically and it’s obvious to me that Disney’s perspective on it is askew. Man has never been an oaf terrified of the sea. Whether they were trying to understand it, just get across it, or use it to get rich it’s just not accurate to treat it as though our ancestors were silly, but today we are powerful. Different minds treated knowledge of the sea differently. Scientific minds wanted to study it for its own sake. Economical minds wanted to extract value from it. Explorers wanted to use to it find new frontiers. Artists used it as a metaphor for other things. There’s no chunk of time where all people are collectively spooked by water and now they’re not. It’s oversimplified and oddly condescending of humanity, as if the creators are removed from it. Anyways, it made me appreciate the tone of the course and to have some familiarity with the way humans actually go about educating themselves about the “living seas.”

Katherine Bridgeman 53970

 

 

Ocean Acidification
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I found an article about the first experiment done on creatures in the ocean with increased acidification. The researchers created their own apparatus to test their hypothesis. In experiments done in the lab, acidification significantly affected the sea creatures, but that could be due to the stress of the lab environment. To test the hypothesis in real ocean conditions, they created a box that was lowered to the ocean floor and there they changed the conditions and monitored the organisms, in this case sea urchins response.  I thought that this was amazing, to study the actual condition these animals would be subjected to if the ocean were to drastically change in conditions.
What surprised the researchers was that the urchins did not shutdown with the increase acid content as expected. More detailed analysis will reveal if there are other changes in the urchin's behavior that are less obvious.
 
http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-11-ocean-acidification-deep-sea.html

Ghost Alps of Anartica- Jessica Long 53905
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http://news.yahoo.com/ghost-alps-antarctica-reveal-secret-181520334.html 

This is a link to a story on yahoo. It is about the myserious mountain range, Gamburtsev Mountains in Anartica. Geologist of puzzled over the mountains for over 50 years!!! The reason being that the continent of Anartica is free from all of the tectonic commotion that would cause the mountains to form. However no geologist have claimed have the answer to the puzzle. Read the story for the answer.

Zooplankton Populations Plunge 70 Percent in Four Decades
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"Zooplankton Populations Plunge 70 Percent in Four Decades; Alarming Marine Biologists" According to the Natural News, the number of zooplankton, which are tiny organisms that form the base of the ocean's food chain has decreased by 70% since the 1960s. 
Currently, since we are discussing about Zooplankton and their dependence on phytoplankton, which is a very important base of the food chain, it is very alarming news. 
 
The entire marine food chains rests on Zooplankton. Therefore, a disruption in their population is going to affect all ocean life, from fish to birds, and eventually humans since we eat fish and get our energy from fish. 

The total decrease has been 73% and it is indeed a tragedy if numerous species will disappear because of the lack of zooplankton. 
According to the article, the major decrease has been recorded since 1990, which is 50%. This will be a biodiversity disaster of enormous proportions. 


Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/024798_zooplankton_fish_life.html#ixzz1dwWiEla2
Edilsa Lopez
53970

plankton decline
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A study made by a Canadian university shows that global warming is affecting plankton productivity in the worlds oceans. Warmer weather and rising sea levels are diminishing the plankton population. The study records a 1% decrease in plankton every year. Research was done in part by examining records of the transparency of sea water through several decades. The information considered for the study was mainly from the 1950's onward. Information before 1950, before recording techniques were perfected, was deemed unreliable.Scientists involved in the study said plankton decreases in population could further accelerate global warming. I am not sure if they should be making predictions about global warming when their data is incomplete, after all they are making predictions studying trends only after 1950. A broader scope of information seems needed to draw this conclusion. 
53935
Ariel aguilar

Red Tide
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Since we're talking about phytoplankton, I though it would be relevant to talk about red tide. Red tides are caused during an algal bloom and can lead the water to be discolored. The algal bloom depletes oxygen and could possibly release toxins that would be magnified as it reached different levels of the food web (I know it was mentioned in class and there was a diagram to support this, but I'm unable to find it). The things that cause red tide area warm temperatures, low salinity, high nutrient content, and calm seas. It's worth noting that these components can be found on the coast of Texas. I found this topic interesting because of the red tide incident that occurred over the summer in Kansas and led to people claiming it was beginning of the end of the world. I'm sure if people knew what we knew in this class they wouldn't be panicking over red tides.

http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/redtide/

Ryan Monsevalles
27335

Time Lapse View from Space
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<object width="400" height="225"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="movie" value="http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=32001208&amp;server=vimeo.com&amp;show_title=0&amp;show_byline=0&amp;show_portrait=0&amp;color=00adef&amp;fullscreen=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;loop=0" /><embed src="x" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" width="400" height="225"></embed></object><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/32001208">Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/michaelkoenig">Michael König</a> on <a href="x" />

http://vimeo.com/32001208

watching this video, I realized that the purpose of the universe is beyond human understanding, but it doesn't hurt to try.

-Curtis Lund (53930)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blue Ringed Octopus
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Since we started talking about taxonomy (scheme to order organisms by name; lab notebook) and naming different species based on their features, I thought it would be interesting to try and find the poisonous ones. Coincidentally, the blue ringed octopus is another deadly animal from Australia. The blue ringed octopus are cephalopods and they're the most poisonous despite being the smallest. The octopus's rings don't turn blue till they feel threatened, but by the time a human sees that it's already too late. They inject their venom through biting their victim, and the only way to treat a bite is to use supplementary breathing machines to subdue the paralysis. They like to rest in shallow reefs and tide pools so that's why humans are prone to being victims of their bite. Lesson of the day: Blue means stop.

Ryan Monsevalles
27335

Galapagos
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When I was twelve years old, I went snorkeling in Mexico for the first time. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I saw so many amazing creatures and coral. I snorkeled in Mexico again a couple of years later, but since then I've always wanted to try snorkeling, or scuba diving, in a new place. One of those places being the Galapagos. I came across this article that talks about all of the interesting and unexpected creatures that you find there. This is because the Galapagos Islands are home to species found nowhere else on Earth. The article includes personal quotes from visitors that have come and experienced what the Galapagos has to offer. It also includes information on when the best time to go is, the costs, and where to stay once you are there. My goal is to one day snorkel, or scuba dive, in the Galapagos, and it has now been added to my bucket list!
http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/18/travel/galapagos-tips-destination-adventure/index.html?iref=allsearch
Monika Seffair
Section # 27320

New Study links El Nino climate to civil wars and unrest
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A new study by Solomon Hsiang, an international affairs and environmental policy researcher at Princeton University, has uncovered some interesting trends in civil strife in poor tropical countries that are tied with the weather event known as El Nino. The study, which was released in August, ties unrest with the years of an El Nino, which is the climatic event that warms and dries out tropical regions. According to the study, the fact that the heat makes people uncomfortable and irritable is the reason why all this strife occurs. "People do like to fight and El Nino conditions help," said co-author Mark Cane, a professor of Earth and climate sciences at Columbia University. The researchers go on to suggest that there is much more than just a link for their assumptions, but there is actually partial cause. They say that El Nino influenced 48 of 234 civil wars or uprisings between 1950 and 2004. They point to strife in Chad, Congo, Eritrea, Indonesia, Rwanda and Niger that all occurred during a strong El Nino 1997. "We're not trying to explain al conflicts in the world. What we are trying to show is that the global climate does play a major role where previously people didn't believe that" says Hsiang. On the other side, La Nina, is known as the most peaceful time for these tropical countries. Lucky for us and the tropic regions of the world, Meteorologists predict that the world is heading into another La Nina. 
source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20110824/us-sci-el-nino-wars/
Michael Tyler 
section#27380

Salt exclusion
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This summer I saw X-men First Class and there was this one scene where the character Emma Frost fetches ice for her boyfriend from this iceberg or peace of sea ice. The only reason I can talk about this occurrence is because one of my friends said, "That must be some salty ice." That's when I told him that the ice isn't salty at all because the salt is to heavy to be included in the ice; hence salt exclusion. On another note I remember my TA saying that they did this lab where there froze cubes with salt in them, but that was only possible because the salt and water were contained in an ice cube tray.

http://science.nasa.gov/earth-science/oceanography/physical-ocean/sea-ice/

Ryan Monsevalles
27335

Blue Whales
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About a week ago I watched a documentary on National Geographic about blue whales and it was fascinating. These creatures are the largest mammals ever known to have lived on the Earth. It's amazing to me how large these animals are and how much they consume in just one day. Blue whales stay in their mothers' whom for about a year and has an average birth weight of about 3 tons! That size is mind boggling to me. Not only are blue whales born very large, but just within their first year of life they gain about 200 pounds everyday. Once they are fully grown, a blue whale's tongue can weigh as much as an elephant and their hearts as much as an automobile. Blue whales reach this massive size by feeding on a tiny shrimp like animal called krill. Although these creatures are small, blue whales consume massive amounts of it everyday in order to maintain their body weight. Their are certain times of the year that a single blue whale can consume up to 4 tons of krill a day! I think what intrigues me most about this beautiful animal, obviously, is their size. To think that there is something living on this Earth, that is so incredibly large is so amazing and very interesting to learn more about. 
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/blue-whale/
Monika Seffair
Section # 27320

Hurricanes effects: Burmese Pythons
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Being that I live on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, anytime there is a hurricane headed our way, we're forced to take precautionary measures. Back in the valley we're prone to flooding due to efficient drainage systems so it's a pretty big deal when hurricanes hit. The only difference between hurricanes hitting Texas and Florida is that Florida is still enduring effects from past hurricanes like hurricane Andrew in 1992. Hurricane Andrew is what many believe to be the reason for the outbreak in Burmese pythons in Florida from hatcheries and pet dealers because of the destruction it caused. This python outbreak is not only endangering the citizens of Florida, but it's affecting the ecosystem since the pythons are foreign predators. Based on this documentary I saw on Animal Planet, if the United States were to continually follow the trends of global warming, the pythons could migrate as far as New York.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/5956739/A-plague-of-Burmese-pythons-in-the-Everglades.html

Ryan Monsevalles
27335

Clownfish AKA: Nemo
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As I'm sure I speak for many people, I'm a huge fan of the movie Finding Nemo. I've always known that the main character, Nemo, was a clownfish, but I really didn't know very much about them. I assumed that clownfish were a single species, but in fact there are 30 different species of clownfish. I also made the assumption that clownfish where orange with a couple of white stripes, when in fact their colors range from yellow to maroon! I would have never guessed that. Another interesting thing that this article taught me was that clownfish are very territorial and can be very aggressive, a trait that was never exhibited in feature film. These beautiful fish are also very protective of their young and guard their eggs for a span of 3-5 days, and once the eggs are hatched, the males stay with their young until they have reached a mature stage, which is a trait that usually isn't seen with small fish. Who knew that these beautiful fish, made famous, were also very interesting!

Clownfish4.jpg 

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/clownfish/

Monika Seffair

Section # 27320

Stonefish
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Stone Fish
Duration: (2:46)
User: slk320k - Added: 4/18/09


This isn't just the ugliest fish, it's the most venomous fish too. This hideous creature is called a stonefish. I was watching this show on netflix about the deadliest creatures of Australia (I think it was Australia), and after seeing this fish I knew where NOT to go snorkeling. The stonefish has these venomous spines that inject venom into it's victim. Based on the video that I saw, the tides bring them onto the shore and they stay there to feed till the tides takes them back. They're able to stay out of the water for 24 hours! This makes them deadly on land as well as in the ocean. When they're not on shore, they like to hang out on coral reefs and rocks where they blend in really well. What's crazy about this fish is that if you don't get medical attention within a couple hours, you could die depending on the depth of the penetration. Lesson of the day: Don't step on rocks that could possibly be fish and kill you.

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Stonefish

Ryan Monsevalles
27335
 


The Fangtooth
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Sea creatures have always been of interest to me. Throughout the semester I have learned about various creatures that I didn't even know existed. The fangtooth is a type of fish that resembles a piranha. Piranha's mouthes tend to be a bit smaller but they both are carnivores with very sharp teeth. The fangtooth lives in very deep waters, up to 16,000 feet, and because it lives in such deep, dark waters, the fangtooth feeds by bumping into things in order to find food. The most admirable characteristic about these small fish are their teeth. Because the bottom fangs are so large, they have pockets at the roofs of their mouths in which they fit. I would have never expected a fish such as the fangtooth to live in deep waters, but the species feeds on squid and other small fish. 

Image-Fangtooth.jpg

http://www.seasky.org/deep-sea/fangtooth.html

Monika Seffair

Section # 27320 

Tallest Mountain to Deepest Ocean Trench
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I was stumbling a few days ago and came across this very colorful chart that showed a range from the highest point on Earth (Mount Everest) to the deepest trench ever recorded by man. This chart shows that the deepest recorded ocean depth was in the Mariana Trench in 1960. Humans used a submarine to submerge 35,814 ft. below the ocean. I always knew that Mount Everest was the highest point on Earth, but I was never aware of the deepest point on Earth. Throughout the semester, trenches and depth has been brought up several times and it has been discussed, in lecture, the characteristics of deeper waters versus shallow waters. This chart is very easy to read and labels several trademarks or specific landmarks that are located at different depths. I really enjoyed stumbling upon this chart. Its very colorful, easy to read, and contains information that I had no idea about, but it was very intriguing. 
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2yEAZC/www.ouramazingplanet.com/66-infographic-tallest-mountain-to-deepest-ocean-trench.html
Monika Seffair
Section # 27320

A pink dolphin?
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  I never knew there was such thing as a "pink dolphin" but I was stumbling today and I came across one.  In 2009, this pink Bottle-nose dolphin was discovered in Lake Calcasieu (an inland saltwater estuary north of the Gulf of Mexico) in Louisiana.  The rarity of the dolphin makes this area such an attraction to tourists.  Charter boat captain Erik Rue was the one who photographed the dolphin.  He's said  "The dolphin appears to be healthy and normal other than its coloration, which is quite beautiful and stunningly pink."  The dolphin is actually albino but is the world's only pink Bottle-nose dolphin.  
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4927224/Pink-dolphin-appears-in-US-lake.html
Jaclyn Elder - 53970

The Perfect Storm- Swordfish
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Article:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swordfish
Photos: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=swordfish&um=1&hl=en&safe=off&biw=1040&bih=594&tbm=isch&tbnid=oNGG97NUfHPoAM:&imgrefurl=http://www.heatingoil.com/blog/vicious-gang%25E2%2580%25A6of-swordfish-halt-crude-exports-from-angola205/&docid=Kb26sF1ho0lsJM&imgurl=http://www.heatingoil.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/89772_f520.jpg&w=520&h=607&ei=CHPETuyWDsfHsQKixeyYCw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=246&vpy=193&dur=49&hovh=243&hovw=208&tx=115&ty=150&sig=108301649353172014896&page=3&tbnh=141&tbnw=132&start=24&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:1,s:24

The other night I watched one of my favorite fishing movies, The Perfect Storm. It is about a crew of fisherman trying to make one last trip before the swordfish fishing season is over. I decided to do some research on the swordfish because I have always wanted to go deep sea fishing and catch a swordfish. The largest swordfish ever caught was 1,182 pounds! Swordfish have the ability to swim up to speeds of 50mph to catch its prey. The long sword is not used to spear its prey rather to slash so the prey will be injured and easier to catch. Female adult swordfish are much larger than males. Swordfish do not swim in schools, rather, they keep to themselves at all times. They are sometimes found swimming near other swordfish, but never in a school. Also, swordfish are known to jump out of the water, to either stun their prey on the surface or to help dislodge pests. Due to their great speed and size, swordfish have very few predators. Something that I think is really cool about swordfish is that they are able to heat the area around their eyes in cold water to better their vision which helps them hunt. They usually consume fish and jellyfish. Swordfish is a very popular food for people all over the world. Maybe one day I will catch a swordfish and have a trophy fish to hang in my house.

John Brandell
Section # 53905


Bioluminescence
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In lecture today, we learned about Bioluminescence in dinoflagellates. I learned after lecture while doing research that sometimes these dinoflagellates bloom in concentrations of more than a million cells per millilitre. This blooming phenomenon is called a red tide, and it's name is derived from the color the bloom imparts to the water. Its a red tide during the day, but bluish flickers, visible in ocean water at night, often come from blooms of bioluminescent dinoflagellates which emit short flashes of light when disturbed. A video below shows the phenomenon, as it appears in Cardiff, California, on September 28, 2011. The waves appear to be glow-in-the-dark, which is quite a sight to see. And even though they may seem really fun to swim in, apparently the event is mildly toxic. It may not be extremely harmful to humans but it will make swimming a little more uncomfortable than usual. It is unclear how much longer the blue surf will last, as some parts have left but some still remain. 
Red Tide Causes Bioluminescent Ocean
Duration: (0:10)
User: cinemadv - Added: 9/28/11

source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/01/red-tide-glow-in-the-dark-waves_n_990332.html
Michael Tyler 
section#27380  

Beluga Whales
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Beluga whales are interesting sea creatures. Belugas, also known as white whales are relatively small, ranging from 13 to 20 feet.  Belugas live in cold waters and are common in the Arctic Ocean's coastal waters and are found in subarctic waters as well. Whales live in groups called pods and have interesting means of communicating to one another. Belugas communicate though clangs, clicks, and whistles and can mimic a wide range of sounds. Belugas feed on crustaceans, fish and worms and are prey for polar bears, killer whales, and Arctic people when they get trapped and can't migrate southward when the sea freezes over. When I hear the term "Beluga Whale" I think of a huge sea creature, however after reading this national geographic article, realize that they are one of the smallest species of whales!
Beluga Whale  
Macon Blount 27365

Protecting the coasts
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  As we learned in class when ships travel it is necessary to have ballast water tanks to keep them afloat. These ballast tanks contain millions of plankton and larval stages of marine and estuarine species which, if introduced to the coast of the ships destination, could devistate the local ecosystem.  As of right now, in order to prevent the introduction of foreign marine life ships are required to exchange ballast water at least 200 miles off shore, but with many shipping routes only traveling along the coast going out into the open ocean has proven too inefficent. Because of this inefficiency the rate of foreign marine life being introduced into local waters still remains very high especially in the Gulf of Mexico.  Well it seems that there is hope yet.  Researchers in Louisiana have found that if a tank is heated, much like a micro wave, for 30 seconds and allowed a 200 second holding period all marine life will cease to exist.  If this method is funded further and implented into every ship then maybe we can put an end to these pesky "invaders".  The health of our costs depends on it. 

 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080512092420.htm

Andres Chable

Section # 53905

Fishy Business
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Did you know that the fish you get in a restauraunt is probably not the fish you ordered?? Seafood and fish fraud has quickly become a rampant international problem. In one test performed on random fish samples, 90% of them were mislabled. In another test performed on seafood samples from 134 different restauraunts, none of the 'tuna' samples were actually tuna. In one instance, 3000 pounds of 'grouper' imported from Asia were actually farm-raised catfish. The Food and Drug Administration has said that 1/3 of the seafood in the United States sold is mislabled. The reason for this is money and availability. Selling a cheap fish as something like grouper can make more profit. Some groups also feel that the FDA has lax laws regarding fish labeling, and that that is a major part of the problem.

 <-- Is it really lobster??

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2011-06-16/news/fl-fake-fish-supplies-20110528_1_mislabeled-fish-fish-fraud-seafood-fraud
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2011/10/25/investigation-uncovers-rampant-fish-fraud/

Scarlett Klein
27325

The Hammerhead Shark
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Article: http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/zoology/marine-life/hammerhead-shark.htm
Photo: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=hammerhead+sharks&um=1&hl=en&safe=off&sa=N&biw=1040&bih=594&tbm=isch&tbnid=XSSJJBlHyroG_M:&imgrefurl=http://echeng.com/journal/2006/10/09/hammerhead-sharks-and-whale-sharks-galapagos/&docid=Aq2hn0lWuu5RiM&imgurl=http://echeng.com/journal/images/misc/061006_113519_echeng6553.jpg&w=550&h=366&ei=eSrETvrkH4Pbtwei8PzxAw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=726&vpy=178&dur=489&hovh=183&hovw=275&tx=169&ty=124&sig=108301649353172014896&page=1&tbnh=109&tbnw=155&start=0&ndsp=16&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:0

During lab last week, we talked about how shark skin feels smooth when you rub down its body; however, when you rub up its body, it feels like sandpaper. I felt this first hand when I was deep sea fishing off the coast of South Carolina. I caught a variety of shark, but the Hammerhead interested me most. I did some researched and learned that these sharks are considered to be dangerous to humans; however, there have only been 38 recorded hammerhead shark attacks since 1850. During the day, Hammerheads are known to travel in schools. Their are 9 different types of hammerheads, 4 of which are common: great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, and bonnethead. You can find hammerheads all over the world in deep and shallow water. Hammerhead sharks are unique because they have a very wide flat head, with eyes on either end. The position of the eyes gives Hammerheads very good binocular vision so they are able to see vary far and can see below and above them at all times. They are bottom feeders and have a very small mouth with small teeth compared to their body size.

John Brandell
Section # 53905

Danger for Coral Reefs
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 I didn't know much about how or why coral reefs were being gradually degraded, so I decided to research coral reefs. I learned that, overtime, coral reefs have sustained hardship from processes such as harmful fishing tactics, runoff, coral mining, tourism, and coastal construction. These activities have all caused the color from coral to drain slowly and resulted in bleached white coral, as their color-producing algae is expelled, many times due to heat. But these harmful processes have been accelerated by global warming and increasingly acidic ocean. Soon after coral loses its color, it dies. In an effort to help where they can, locals raise the awareness of the importance of conserving these natural ecosystems. If these efforts continue successfully, coral can survive being totally wiped out due to human activities and global warming. After learning all this information, I am more aware of how human actions are affecting multiple areas of our environment. I didn't realize coral was in such danger and the impact this danger has on a coastal communities economy. Next time I am snorkeling on a family vacation, I will be more aware of my effect on oceanic life around me!
 
Emily Vanderstraaten
Section #: 27315

Cool Fish?
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 As my TA and fellow lab partners have found out, I am not a fan of fish, eels, giant jellyfish etc. I just don't have the stomach for them. Walking into the lab and seeing jars of beedy-eyed, slimy fish at 8 o'clock in the morning just doesn't do it for me. However, not all fish are like this, said my TA to me as I cringed when pictures of squishy-looking, pasty-colored, ginormous-mouthed fish came on the screen. I knew in my heart that it was wrong of me to call all fish gross just because of a few. I knew it was wrong of me to judge. So I decided to find out more about these rumored "cool fish."
When I typed "cool fish" into Google (come on, you know you've all typed dumb things into Google. I'm just the only one publicly admitting it), I came up with some delightfully (NOT) gross pictures that made me place a hand in front of the screen while I hurriedly clicked the back button. However, I did not give up, but refined my search to "colorful fish." From here I was linked to that wonderful organization we know as National Geographic. And it was here that I was enlightened.
 This was my personal favorite "colorful fish" that I found. The Emperor Angelfish is native to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and is a reef-associated species. They live about 15 years.

 This guy is a Parrot fish, and they are found in and around almost all the tropical reefs in the oceans. Their name actually does not come from their colors, but from their teeth, and the way they form a parrot-like beak. They live about 7 to 10 years.

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/photos/dangerous-sea-creatures/
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/parrot-fish/
http://www.petsfoto.com/top-10-beautiful-colorful-fish/
http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/Marine-angelfish/Emperor.php

Scarlett Klein
27325

Oldest Antarctic Whale Found
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According to an article published today, November 16, 2011 by National Geographic, the 'Oldest Antarctic Whale was Found'. With the discovery of a 24-inch long fossil of a jawbone in the Antarctic Peninsula, scientists knew they had made a great discovery. This whale was estimated to have been able to reach "lengths of up to 20 feet, had a mouthful of teeth and likely feasted on giant penguins, sharks, and big bony fish, whose remains were also discovered with the jawbone". It is thought this whale existed 49 million years ago. Researchers say it's age suggests "fully aquatic whales evolved from their mammalian ancestors more rapidly than previously thought". Scientists say that "based on 53-million-year-old fossils of whale-like, semi-aquatic mammals, scientists had thought mammals gave rise to whales in a process that took 15 million years. The new find suggests it took just 4 million years." Clearly, this is a big find for scientists, giving them new data as well as disproving previous ideas about this creatures evolution. What a big find for the world of Science and Research!

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/11/111116-antarctica-whales-oldest-evolution-animals-science/



The above photo is a dramatization of what the whale might have looked like. Pretty scary, huh!

Megan Micheletti
53905

Drilling Beneath Antarctic Ice
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In December 2011, a team funded by NASA is to travel to the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica to drill through the ice to observe how the water circulating underneath it is functioning. The researchers are focused on determining what are the factors that are contributing to the melting and thinning of the ice sheets. Pine Island was chosen because it is an area that can cause a dramatic increase in sea level. The scientists will use a hot water drill to drill through the ice. Once the hole is drilled, they will send a camera down to collect information and observations on the Antarctic water. This mission is very important because our world urgently needs some kind of solution to the melting of the ice. Hopefully they gain a lot of useful and resourceful information that can somehow help stop or slow down the melting.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111109194323.htm

Ming-Ming Chen
#27340

Bubble-Rafting Snails
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Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011112925.htm
Bubble-rafting snails (of the family Janthinidae) spend their lives floating upside down on rafts of mucus bubbles. They secrete this mucus from their "foot" - a broad, muscular organ at the bottom of the snail's body. They trap air inside quick-drying mucus and make bubbles (hence the name) that glob together to form the rafts the snails spend most of their lives on. The puzzling question for scientists is how these snails went from being bottom dwellers to the raft riding snails they have been for hundreds of years.
Celia Churchill of the University of Michigan and her coauthors sequenced DNA from these snails to try and answer this question. Results found that the rafting snails were descendants of sea floor snails called wentlestraps. They then asked which specific habitats of the wentletraps could have turned into raft-building. Churchill and other researchers then moved on to other steps and methods to figure out the evolution of the rafting snails and came to the conclusion that female ancestors of the snails formed tethered egg masses with the males. This egg mass became modified, and all the snails began creating them, causing the egg masses to lose their egg carrying function and turn into flotation devices.  
 
Tiffany Cowart
53905

Overfishing
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Overfishing! Clearly just the word makes you think negatively. The picture above is an example of overfishing in cod. Our appetite for fish is causing catastrophes for many fish populations like the one pictured above. If these cod fisheries responsible for the above photo continue overfishing at the rate they currently are, there will be no cod left by the year 2022. That's in 10 years, which is absolutely ridiculous! It is said that 75% of fisheries are being overfished and that if nothing changes in these communities as well, the fish population will be non existent in the year 2050. The question: What do we do now? A member of the National Geographic Society states that the solution is possible through new policies. "We just need the political will to implement them at [a] large scale," he adds. I don't think that overfishing is stressed enough. I've personally never heard anything about these estrangements until informed in this class. Personally, if a bigger deal was made about this issue to society, I think people would be more than willing to help stop these statistics from becoming a reality.

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/photos/oceans-overfishing/#/fish-net_158_600x450.jpg

Megan Micheletti
53905

Transparency Saves Lives
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Smaller sized squids and octopuses that dwell in the middle levels of the ocean rely on their ability to turn transparent to avoid becoming prey to predators that live 600-1000 meters below them. In the light, the predators at the bottom can spot the creatures above them by their silhouette. However, species like the Jaetella octopus, can turn their bodies completely transparent except for their eyes and a few other organs. The organs that are not transparent are reflective. This way, these bite-size squids and octopuses are practically invisible when viewed from the bottom. However, predators such as the headlight fish produce a bluish light that when shined on the squid and octopus makes them automatically turn opaque. This play on colors between the predator and prey really shows how animals adapt to their surroundings in order to survive.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110125731.htm

Ming-Ming Chen
#27340

Cod
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We learned in Lab today about the fishery collapse of north atlantic cod fish. Before this the only cod fish I knew about was Captain Hook. As I've done some more research I've learned that cod was a staple fish in the NA until about 50 years ago when fishing and storing techniques improved greatly. Now almost all of the Cod fishery is depleted and it may never recover because of the serious changes in the food chain. Before the collapse Cod were some of the primary predators in the NA, but now there are so few of them their prey's population has grown tremendously. Now their prey feeds on the cod eggs and hinders further the growth of the fish population. As an RTF major I can't help but see this as a movie plot... like Revenge of the Nerds for fish. Only this time, I'm NOT rooting for the underdog. 
 

Protection for Ocean Food Chain
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/opinion/protection-for-the-ocean-food-chain.html?scp=1&sq=ocean&st=cse
This article is about how the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has moved to protect the menhaden, a fish that is essential in the ocean's food web. No one eats this fish but it is important for the fish that people do eat and over the last 1/2 century their numbers have decreased. This is a win for conservationists group such as Pew Environment, but it's considered a loss for those companies such as Omega-Protein, who use menhaden to make up 80% of their fish feed. 
Jessica Mendicutti
27365

the warm blooded Tuna
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Fish are naturally cold blooded, so it came to my surprise to learn that tuna have a large amount of red muscles in their bodies that help them keep water and cruise rapidly through water. While this muscle is working it generates heat that allows tuna to maintain themselves warm.  In most fish this heat is directed towards the blood and then it escapes to the water as soon as the cooler blood reaches the gills. In tuna, a heat exchanger retains some of the heat to help maintain warm regardless of the water temperature. Within the fish there is a heat exchange system, the colder blood gets transferred to the gills where it is preheated as it flows next to the warm blood carrying back to the red muscles. Scientist believe that this feature helps tuna be  faster in chasing their food and it gives the muscles more power. 
Section: 53945

Whales Seek Spa-Like Relief in Tropics
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The NOAA researchers have noticed the unusual migration of the Antarctic Killer whales. One of the tagged Type B killer whales traveled over 5,000 miles to the warmer waters of Brazil then returned immediately to the Antarctic after 42 days. This was the longest recorded migration by a killer whale. Of the 12 tagged whales, 5 have also traveled to warmer waters of the tropics in a similar manner. The reason? Scientists believe it is so the whales can replenish their skin. Over time the whales develop a yellow-ish coat of plankton and algae over their skin. It is believed that they travel to the warmer waters to shed this coat. There aren't any signs of them traveling there to give birth or for prolonged feeding. This is very interesting to see whales travel such long distances to cleanse their skin. It reminds me of how humans would go to the spa to relax.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111026113824.htm

Ming-Ming Chen
#27340

Countershading
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One of the recent concepts I have learned in lab has been the topic of countershading. Countershading is an adaptation I never knew about. In lab, we talked about sharks and salmon being examples of this adaptation. I found a Science and the Sea podcast on countershading that focused on a penguin being "a drastic example of countershading." This made me realize that a lot of animals have this adaptation including, my favorite animal, the dolphin. Other examples include frogs, whales, and some birds. This "double cloak" that countershading produces helps to protect the animal from potential predators. I guess in a way you can say that I fell for this adaptation, even though I am not a potential predator for these specific animals, because I didn't even realize that it counted as an adaptation. Below is a video contributing to the example of the countershading penguin in the podcast. It shows the penguins swim over a black area that helps to demonstrate how their countershading adaptation works against predators from above.
Countershading in Penguins
Duration: (0:28)
User: NewEnglandAquarium - Added: 9/3/10

 
Monica Rodriguez
Section # 27325

Problems in SoCal fisheries
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http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/2-fisheries-collapsed-unnoticed-study-says/?scp=1&sq=oceanography&st=cse
This story from the NY Times talks about 2 fisheries in Southern California collapsing, due to a study that suggests that management agencies had inadequate data. The deterioration of barred sand and kelp bass stock were some of those overlooked factors. 
Jessica Mendicutti
27365

Farmed Fish
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Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111108094342.htm
For all fish eaters: half the fish we eat today comes from fish farms. So what's the big deal? The problem with this is that the farmed fish are increasingly being fed vegetable matter, which can lead to a build up of pesticides in them. They are being fed this vegetable matter because, with the demand for fish increasing, the demand to farm them rises along with the need for fish food. However, the supply of fish meal and fish oil is declining, and therefore must be replaced with things such as soya and maize. It is the food pellets in these crops that may contain pesticides.
In order to test how pesticides accumulate and break down in the fish, scientists have had to come up with a new kind of complex metabolism test different from the kind they use on poultry and pigs. They put the fish into water tanks two cubic meters in size, add a radio-labeled test substance to their feed, then test their flesh for pesticide residues with highly sensitive analytical methods. This tedious yet precise method leaves no opportunity for fault since it is so accurate. 
Looks like us fish eaters need not worry about consuming pesticides after all...but fair warning: even without pesticides, these farmed fish are not fed the highest quality foods - they may not be the best tasting.
This is one of the water tanks they keep fish in to test for pesticides.
 
Tiffany Cowart
53905

"Industry Flouts Bluefin Catch Limits"
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http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/18/industry-flouts-bluefin-catch-limits-study-says/
   
We just talked about bluefin tuna in our lab quite a bit today and the idea of them being overfished. I decided to search for articles dealing with these fish to learn more information because I found it intriguing in lab. We discussed ways to prevent overfishing, such as having quotas. There are, in fact, quotas on how many bluefin tuna can be fished. In this particular article, I learned that in 2010, the total quota was exceeded by 141 percent! The article also said that they are caught young, and in class we learned that when that happens, they are more likely to be overfished because they do not have time to mature and reproduce quickly enough. Something that was mentioned in class that was also stated in this article is that 80% of these tuna are exported to Japan. It states that the reason for this is that bluefin tuna are in high demand when it comes to sushi. International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (Iccat) said that they would "regulate fishing more strictly, adding documentation requirements and reducing the overall catch." In class we also discussed that we hope that people will step in to stop overfishing and that something actually gets done. As Iccat tries to implement rules, it seems like the problem of exceeding the quota is still present. People in the article suggest to add a barcode to the fish when it has landed to "add enforceability." Hopefully something gets done prevent the overfishing of these tuna. 
Gabriella Guajardo
Section #27315

Pollution in Queensland Australia weakening turtle populations
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This article is about how poor water quality and unnaturally warm water  in Queensland, Australia has caused 13 sea turtles to wash up on beach, 9 of them dying. A major concern about these turtles is that 9 of the 13 were hawkbill turtles, a critically endangered species. Rochelle Ferris from the Australian Sea Bird Rescue says that their are multiple reasons why their is a dramatic rise in sea turtle death. She states, "Gladstone harbour has a lot of dying turtles at the moment - that's mainly from turbidity (from dredging), water pollution and agricultural runoff - it all contributes," Because of this class i had a greater understanding of how turbidity works and how pollution contributes to marine death. 
http://www.northernstar.com.au/story/2011/11/17/pollution-weakens-sea-turtles-water-quality/
Andrew Masi
53940

New Biomass Rules
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Last year, an article in the New York Times talked about some new rules released that threatened the outlook on biomass. It was facing a struggle that made it difficult to compete with renewable powers such as wind and solar. In Massachusetts, scientists debated the benefits of biomass and created a new rule that may severely limit the production of biomass, even though it has proven to be a reliable source of energy. The new proposal would require "significant near-term greenhouse gas dividends" and a count of all the left over wood and residue that provide feedstock for biomass plants. It's argued that this extremely expensive power source has been reneweable and useful for many years and there is no need for any new rules or changes, but unfortunately not everybody agrees. This is very unfortunate because biomass producers have made this alternative power source very useful and they are committed to making our forests as healthy and clean as possible!

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/business/energy-environment/10biomass.html

Madelyn Moon
53930

Masking Collapse of Fisheries
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Article: http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=1199
A study led by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography tells of two Southern California fisheries masking the collapse of two bass species with the "illusion of plenty." This means what it implies: that there is still a healthy amount of these bass species in the California fisheries is an illusion. In the most recent edition of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, researchers say that the total population of each bass species declined 90% since 1980. However, fisheries' catch rates have remained stable for years, even with this dramatic population decrease. Why?
This is due to "hyper-stability" - when fishers target areas where large numbers of fish gather, and this leads to the illusion of plenty and masking of the decline in overall population.
Another example of a fishery masking an imminent collapse of a species is the North Atlantic Ocean cod fishery that we learned about in lab. 
This is a picture of Kelp Bass, one of the two collapsed species in Southern California fisheries.
 
Tiffany Cowart
53905

Jellyfish
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I was shocked to learn from this science of the sea podcast that jellyfish have no brain! I couldn't understand how they could live, eat and sense without them. So I did some more research and found that their entire feeding system was automatic! They basically just sit there while the ocean feeds them for them. And while they can't see like humans do, they can sense light and darkness which is enough for them, I guess. I still can't believe they've survived this long, but I guess they have a pretty great defense system. Most of them are poisonous so other fish avoid eating them. It must be pretty nice to be a jellyfish. Just floating in the ocean, being fed and looking pretty. 

 
Wendy Womack
wew469
27315

Just Keep Swimming
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 Article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111107161959.htm
Climate change is causing warmer water temperatures in specifically the Indian Ocean, the Western and Eastern Pacific and the subarctic oceans. This in turn means that the fish living in these waters that are not used to the higher temperatures will be pressured to swim longer distances faster than ever before, because they will not be able to adapt at normal migration locations. 
To figure this out, researchers used 50 years worth of data since the 1960s to analyze shifting climates and seasonal patterns on land and in oceans. It was found that migration is likely to occur more so in marine species living at the surface (or in marine plants and plankton that need sunlight) than in deep ocean organisms. 
The future plans of this research include how other species, besides the fish shown in this picture, respond to climate change.
 
Tiffany Cowart
53905

With Warming, Sea Life Will Swim Farther, Faster to Sustain Life
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In a recent article published by the journal, Science, a new study revealed that sea life will sooner or later be forced to adapt to warming sea waters. Species that can't adapt to the warming will have to swim farther and faster to find a suitable home or they will perish. Organisms and animals living at or near sea level or depend on marine plants and plankton for food sources that are dependent on sunlight will be inclined to migrate out of the area in search of ideal conditions. Those particular migrations might also cause a disruption in the food chain as organisms moving out of warmer regions are not replaced by others moving in.  Additionally, the areas that these organisms move to may find competition with resident species.  This will cause a chain reaction but it is unknown how severe and how soon a situation like this might occur.  
 
Thomas Wilson
27355 (TA Erik)

Aliens Down Under
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Certain deep-sea worms move around the deep sea floor by dumping ballasts of sand and sediment from their guts in order to catch the ocean current.  A new study found that a group of deep sea worms dubbed, "enteropneusts", were once though to be mostly shallow water animals but new observations reveal almost a dozen species of them living on the seafloor, as deep as 12, 972 feet!  These worms are known as acorn worms because of their acorn shaped heads.

 

Thomas Wilson 

27355 (TA Erik)

Redesigning the NYC/Northeast Coast
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With global warming on the rise paralleled with a rising sea level, the impetus to act on the inevitable is finally underway in New York City. The city is planning on creating more green infrastructure like porous streets, sidewalk and street end swells and restored tidal marshes, among other strategies to manage both fresh storm water and brackish storm surge.  The city council is working with architects and developers to create a more resilient city for a greener and more sustainable future.  
 
Thomas Wilson
27355 (TA Erik)

The Ultimate Evolutionary Disguise
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Research has shown that two species of cephalopod (Japetella octopus and Onychoteuthis squid)  can change instantaneously between two forms of camouflage. Predators like that hatchet fish hunt by diving deep down in the ocean and looking upward for potential shadowy figures to eat. In order to sneak past them the cephalopods become transparent so that they don't cast shadows that can be seen by predators. Predators who use biological searchlights to find their food can point out anything thats transparant. In order to evade these types of predators the cephalopod becomes as dark as possible. These species can also switch between these camouflages instantly. 
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/science/cloaks-of-invisibility-switched-in-a-flash.html?_r=1&ref=science
Unique number: 27365

Fireworks at the Beach
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A couple weeks ago in lab & lecture, we discussed the phenomenon of red tide.  How exactly does red tide work one might ask?  To find an answer, we look to Peter J.S. Franks, professor at The Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.  Due to San Diego's coastal location, the red tide phenomenon is rather common, but a lot of people still don't understand how these ocean bearing fireworks come about.  Franks explains, "The red tide in San Diego...is caused by a bloom of billions of microscopic organisms called dinoflagellate."  The particular species, Lingulodinium polyedrum, is bioluminescent- that is it can make its own light... by an enzyme luciferase, and a substrate, luciferin.  They are held in tiny bags of vesicles inside the cell of the organism and whenever the cell is jostled, by a breaking wave or a fish swimming by, the bags burst open and the enzymes mix creating a flash of light. This light is obviously best observed at night.  For more information on red tide, redirect to The Scripps Institution of Oceanongraphy or our very own UT Marine Science department.  
 
Thomas Wilson
27355 (TA Erik)

Sea Turtle Inc.
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For this blog I wanted to post about Sea Turtle Inc. in South Padre Island. During my freshman year in college I was able to volunteer at this shelter and help out with the turtles. What this shelter does is take in endangered and hurt turtles that are found along the coast. They also take care of several non-releasable turtles which are too hurt to be back in the ocean. Below is a picture of Gerry one of their oldest non-releasable residents.
 

A thorny Issue
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This crown of thorns, a sea star,  was found in the barrier reef in Australia among the sea stars. It is said that it can grow up to 3 feet in diameter with 21 arms and its body is entirely covered in venomous spikes. This large sized animal feeds mostly on live coral that quickly diminishes when there is a star fish population boom. They will eat the coral faster than it allows the coral to grow back. This damages the coral and it could take up to a decade for the coral reefs to recover from this feeding frenzy. Scientist are still researching if human interruption is the source of these population booms for this specific type of  sea stars. Weather humans have an impact on this growth or not scientist are worried about the negative outcome of their feeding patters and the time it will take for nature to recover. 
Section: 53945

Underwater Crush Tests
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University of Washington researchers studying huge underwater waves in the South Pacific near Samoa planned to use gummy bears for a segment of “Will it crush?” Matthew Alford, an oceanographer, is setting up underwater crush tests to study internal waves. His main question is when, where, and why internal waves break. He has set up a few objects to test this theory but was delayed in his experiment when the crush cam imploded at 3800 m. The reason these waves are so important yet so difficult to study is due to the fact that these waves can be thousands of meters down and can be as large as 300 meters. They can travel across oceans before breaking like a surface wave. They are known to be so strong and powerful they can cause "submarines to hit the bottom or breach the surface, and the heat they move around can affect the climate". The pressure at the bottom of the sea is said to be over 500 times the pressure at the surface making research very difficult. Once the equipment is restored, the researchers will return with there study.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=E2H9fmNyPEw
^ video of Matthew Alford ^

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/314042

Megan Micheletti
53905

"Fish You Shouldn't Eat"
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According to yesterday's Yahoo! online article, despite the fact that the amount of seafood recommended for consumption per week has increased, there a few warnings that have been put out there concerning a few fish species. Due to the fact that some of these species are extremely high in the amount of contaminants their "health benefits are outweighed by their health risks". The five fish recommended to stay clear of are the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, Atlantic Salmon, Atlantic Flatfish, Imported King Crab, and Imported Shrimp. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna are known to currently be the most highly contaminated fish of mercury. These Tuna are also close to extinction so there consumption is not recommended. It is actually illegal to catch Atlantic Salmon because the fish stocks are so low because of the amount of Salmon farmed. These farmed Salmon are so crammed which in turn causes a great amount of pollution which means an increase in the amount of diseases and parasites. Atlantic Flatfish are bad for consumption due to heavy contamination and overfishing. Imported King Crab can be a common misconception. Most all King Crab are labeled as "Alaskan King Crab". Some come from Alaska, some come from Russia. The Crab that comes from Alaska are safe to eat because they are responsibly harvested unlike the "Alaskan King Crab" that comes from Russia. Imported Shrimp actually hold the title of being the "dirtiest" of all. Ninety percent of shrimp sold in the U.S. are imported and these shrimp contain a whole lot of contaminants. Some of these contaminants include "antibiotics, residues from chemicals used to clean pens, E. coli, mouse hair, rat hair, and pieces of insects". This is mainly in part because of the fact that "less than 2 percent of all imported seafood (shrimp, crab, catfish, or others) gets inspected before its sold, which is why it's that much more important to buy domestic seafood".

http://health.yahoo.net/experts/eatthis/5-fish-you-should-throw-back

Megan Micheletti

53905

The Cloak of Invisibility
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Research has shown that two species the Japatella octopus and the Onychoteuthis squid have evolved in their ways of camouflage to avoid a serious dilemma in the deeper water. They are able to switch between transparent skin and pigmentation in their skin. This way they can avoid specific predators like the  hatchet fish hunts that its pray by divining deeper into the water and looking upwards to see silhouettes of their pray. They can also avoid predators like the deep –sea dragon fish however looks for their fish by using biological searchlights that reflect off clear flesh.  I find it really neat how animals are constantly evolving to outsmart their predators. Turning transparency of f and on can sure come in handy for other species as well.

Reefs need fish
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Coral reefs simply cannot live on their own.  They would either suffer from bleaching due to not enough of their natural sunscreen CDOM, or become overwhelmed and overgrown with algae.  So how do they combat the algae problem? They have a great relationship with fish that act as "fishy lawnmowers" eating the algae and preventing the corals from being overgrown with them. Not only are healthy fish populations needed in general, but they are vital to reef recovery. In some places, such as the Caribbean, overfishing causes fish populations to drop which drastically cuts down on the reef's ability to rebound after natural disturbances.

Parrot fish (above) are one of the most important species that feed on algae found on reefs.

http://www.global-adventures.us/2011/11/14/coral-reefs-fish-populations/ - article
http://www.eagleraydivers.com/images/Parrotfish.jpg - image

Christopher Cooper
Section 53930

Alaskan storm
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Last week a very unusual storm hit the western coast of Alaska.  The storm was cyclonic, but not classified as a hurricane because of the part of the ocean that it formed in.  It was actually classified as an extratropical storm, which occur in the mid latitudes...except for this time. Extratropical storms are seen as having characteristics different from tropical and polar storms.  It seems strange that this storm could occur so close to the arctic circle though.  The storm carried hurricane force winds with it though, as well as heavy snow, rain, and storm surge which caused much beachfront erosion in communities such as Nome.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204358004577030440089586610.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Moonpies! (Magnetism, tidal forces, and internal layers of the Moon)
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 Firstly, I will admit that the reason I chose to blog about this particular aspect in scientific findings is because I really liked the picture.  Its a cute little stand mixer stirring up the Moon!  The MOON, PEOPLE! As a amateur cook, this amused me greatly, and it is also a great representation of our modern opinion that we have absolute dominion over nature, the fact that a huge celestial body is being manipulated by a housewife's appliance. At any rate, this article is the 'observatory' section of NY Times science discusses the fact that the lunar rocks brought back from the '69 Apollo 11 mission were magnetized.  This was surprising because the Moon has no magnetic field itself, so it led to studies that dealt with some things we have gone over in class; specifically magnetism, tidal forces, and the inner layers of planets and other bodies.
  First off, the size of the moon prevents it from having a magnetic field.  If the earth was moon-sized, it would not be capable of achieving internal temperature differences that would have been great enough to "roil its liquid outer core and drive the magnetic dynamo".    Two studies published in nature suggest what may have caused the magnetized moon rocks:  "If the Moon' mantle rotated against its outer core (which was and may still be molten), it would churn the outer core like a coffee stirrer when it switches abruptly from clockwise to counter clockwise".   These studies point to the Earth's tidal forces as the cause of these opposing rotations.  So, in a way, I guess the Earth really does have dominion over the moon. Sigh.. If only it were made of cheese.
Lindsey Myers
53970

Fisheries
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Today I had my lab session. In this lab we talked about fisheries. Obviously fish are much weaker than human beings. We hunt them for food and to feed other animals. Humans are smart and therefore can invent various kinds of technologies to catch fish: some in a large amount at once, some catch the fish gradually. My TA showed a video clip about the way to fish using fishing rods. I saw many men carrying the rods, when there were fish on the hook, men pulled up the rod and threw the fish in the sky. I was so frustrated seeing those fish hitting the ship board, struggling to survive, bleeding, exposing their inner bodies. It hurts definitely. It's cruel.
Imagine there's a species stronger than human beings. They can kill us in a more cruel way that far beyond our toleration. Imagine we are the fish. Imagine we are thrown up into the sky and hit the ground due to the gravity...
But this is the rule of nature, isn't it? The stronger one survives whereas the weaker one vanish.

Lingnan Chen
#53910

Bubble-Rafting Snails
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There are these unique snails known as the Bubble-Rafting Snail, these snails spend most of their lives floating upside down, attached to rafts of mucus bubbles. Scientists have always wondered how this behavior evolved. A graduate student from the University of Michigan seems to have the answer. These snails will secret mucus from their "feet" just like all other snails, but instead of using the slime to get around or communicate with others, they use it as a means to trap bubbles so that they can form these rafts to which they can cling onto and move. What they figured out after sequencing the snails DNA is that they are closely related to the ground dwelling snails, these snails secrete they eggs in huge masses that form bubbles much like this one, so it is thought that this snail evolved from them, but instead of laying the eggs they now produce this bubbles that just allow them to float around.
Jonathan Teran, 27330

Cleaner Fish
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there are these cleaner fish that live in pairs a male and a female. The way they feed is that they will remove the parasites form a larger "client" fish. Sometimes the females will get too greedy and what they'll do is that they will actually take a bite from the host, thus scaring the host away. Whenever this happens the male makes sure aggressively punish the female so she no longer does this. The evolutionary reason that this behavior developed, is that if the host goes away the male loses its food and doesn't have the necessary resources to survive. Also if the female keeps doing this it may get too big and thus become a rival for the male.
Jonathan Teran, 27330

Violent Passions: Jealous Cleaner Shrimp
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The specific shrimp Lysmata amboinensis live in monogamous pairs, meaning that they live in pairs. What research has shown is that anytime they live in groups larger than two, the extra shrimp get killed until they go back to a group of two. These shrimp are hermaphrodites meaning they alternate what sex they are, so it's very important for these group to get their timing just right, because that's what they will use in order to try and reproduce. If the timing is not right they will no be able to reproduce. But what happens is that when there's more than two shrimp in the group the extra one gets killed normally doing nighttime, and right after a molt when it is weakest because it can't defend itself as well. It is thought that the evolutionary purpose of doing this is that by being monogamous they are best able to maximize their resources on the animal they are "cleaning" to get their food. 
Jonathan Teran, 27330

Jellyfish Lake
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In Palau there's are these five different lakes, each with a different species of jellyfish. The jellyfish within these lakes, unlike most jellyfish that you hear about and that sting people are not harmful. It's an attraction that brings tourists from all over the world to come swim with the jellyfish. Marine biologists are using the jellyfish as a means of trying to study and understand the organism and figure out their evolutionary steps. Because they would like to know how they became non-harmful. 
Darwin's Jellyfishes - Magazine Layout - Jellyfish Swarm
Jonathan Teran, jht484

Jellyfish Swarm
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Through out the world's oceans jellyfish populations have risen dramatically.  Not only have the numbers increased, but so too has the size.  Scientists have caught some weighing 440lbs!  The combination of nutrient rich runoff from agriculture, and overfishing which reduces competition, has boosted jellyfish into overdrive.  In Japan massive swarms of nomura jellyfish now occur almost annually; where before they occurred about every 40 years.  The swarms poison or "taint" the catch of fish, as they are also caught in fisherman's nets.

Eric Rittmueller
53945

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Box Jellyfish
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Article: http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/15620814
Photo: http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/15620814

Box jellyfish

 It was a beautiful day on the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. My family was on our annual summer vacation. This beautiful day turned bad when I was swimming out in the ocean; I swam through a school of jellyfish and got stung multiple times on both legs. Luckily, I wasn't stung by a box jellyfish. The box jellyfish is the most venomous animal in the entire world. It is in the Animalia Kingdom, the Cnidaria Phylum, and the Cubozoa Class. They are umbrella shaped which lets them travel through the water at a much faster pace than normal jellyfish. They also possess long tentacles, each containing 500,000 cnidocytes (venom cells). Box jellyfish are unique since they actively hunt their prey rather than just drifting. Another advantage Box jellyfish have an advanced nervous system that coordinates their pulsing movements. They are also unique because they have actual eyes (retinas, corneas, lenses). Box jellyfish venom is so powerful most victims either go into shock and drown from the immense pain or die of heart failure. I hope I never come another jellyfish while swimming, especially a box jellyfish.

John Brandell
Section #: 53905

Earthquakes
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When researching plate boundaries I came across the USGS website that had answers to common questions pertaining to common myths of earthquakes. One of the questions I found interesting was: “Will California break off into the ocean one day?” The answer to the question was no, and since it is a transform plate boundary Los Angeles and San Francisco will be adjacent one day! That is so cool to think that one day two giant cities will be together. Another question was asked about the increase in number of earthquakes, when in fact we have had a “fairly constant” amount of earthquakes in the century. However, since 1931 we have increased the number of recording stations from 350 stations to more than 4,000 recording stations. With the larger ability to record earthquakes we now can see earthquakes in more places. On average we tend to have around 50 earthquakes per day. Advancements in technology allow for the media to report on earthquakes more frequently adding to the allusion that we are having more frequent earthquakes. 

 

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/faq/?categoryID=6&faqID=19

 Marcus Gonzalez

27360

"Under the Sea, Coral Reefs in Peril"
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/weekinreview/05reefs.html?ref=oceans
 
I've always loved underwater pictures of coral reefs because of some of the beautiful, eccentric colors they convey. As I came across this article, the title caught my eye. I read the first line that said, "A ghostly pallor is overtaking the world's coral reefs." What was happening to the vibrant colors? I was interested in what could be the cause of this. I found out that researchers stated that the problem was linked to the action of "heat-stressed corals expelling the algae they rely on for food." I was surprised to find out that not too long after this happens, the coral reefs die. I was aware of the many reasons coral reefs had been threatened before, but it was news to me that yet another reason was global warming. In this article, I came to find that more reefs were at risk of destruction than I imagined. The number is as high as three-fourths of the world's coral reefs being at risk according to the World Resources Institute. As I continued to read the article, I wondered what could be done to manage the problem. It said, "We must urgently transition to a low carbon dioxide emissions future or we face the risk of profound losses of coral ecosystems." Also, like in most cases, the researchers suggested maintaining the smaller problems to overcome the big problem. They imply this by saying to keep control of local threats so the reefs will eventually "be able to get over the climate hump."
Gabriella Guajardo
Section #27315

Recycled Oyster Shells
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  I read this article on Costal Bend Bays and Estuaries website, on how the program is collecting used oyster shells from local restaurants and crushing them up to spread on islands and making birds nest. Bird populations are suffering because eggs and chicks are drowning on the islands that are made of mostly clay and mud. With the machines bought by grants the can recycle used oyster shells and crush them up to a desired size to help from chicks and eggs being killed by low laying islands. I find this to be neat because we are taking and eating from the biosphere and giving back to help fix land for other animals. I also really liked this idea because one day I plan to own a seafood restaurant and love the idea of being able to recycle trash to help out a great cause.

http://www.cbbep.org/projectsoystershell.html

Marcus Gonzalez

27360

 

Beluga Sturgeon Caviar
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I came across an interesting but alarming Science and the Sea podcast called "Attack of the Killer Jellyfish" which discusses the downfall of the Beluga Sturgeon and the reason why their fish eggs (caviar) have become sparse. This is due to an alien species of jellyfish who entered the Caspian Sea where the species of Beluga reside. The alien species of jellyfish is thought to have entered Caspian by traveling along the ballast water of tankers. Consequently, the jellyfish feed on plankton and are reproducing at an alarming rate becuase of the lack of predators. "With less plankton to feed them, the small fish that are the staple of a sturgeon’s diet died off, so the number of sturgeon dropped even more." The jellyfish are not the only factors affecting Beluga. Due to pollution and overfishing, these organisms may soon be seeing extinction. I can only hope that as protectors of the sea, human beings can preserve the life of the Beluga Sturgeon and keep enjoying the culinary delicacy of this fish.

 

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=10

Rachel Ryza

Section # 53920

"Jellyfish Hunt as Effectively as Finned Fish"
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/04/science/04fish.html?ref=fishandothermarinelife
 
We've discussed jellyfish on some occasions during lab, but I've never been aware of how they "hunt" exactly. Also, prior to reading this article I was not aware that if overfishing occurs, that jellyfish can be seen as "the dominant predators." That is why I was immediately drawn to this specific article. Some people (including myself) would probably think that because jellyfish do not have the advantage of eyesight, they'd probably be at a disadvantage when it comes to hunting prey. In opposition to that statement, researchers said that they found that these jellyfish were just as successful in hunting as finned, visual fish were. I wondered how this could be possible. The article says the reason is their body size, and that "they conserve energy by letting currents guide them into their prey." I was fascinated by this. I also learned that jellyfish do not need to consume as much as other fish because of their ability to go months without eating!
Gabriella Guajardo
Section #27315

The Great White Shark
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I've always been very interested in organisms that live in the ocean. But sharks, great whites in particular, have always mesmerized me and caught my attention. I'm a huge fan of the annual "Shark Week" that comes on Discovery channel, but I only really ever pay attention to the shows dealing with shark attacks rather than the facts and background about this amazing creature. I've always assumed that great sharks prey upon anything they can get their teeth on, but this article explains that humans are not at the top of the great whites' list of prey. This article also describes how great white sharks have a gray upper bodies to blend in with the sea floor and white underbellies to blend in with the sunlight from the top of the ocean. This is called counter shading and is a form of camouflage that we learned during lab. Another thing I learned about great whites in this article is that they are endangered. Never once did I think or assume that these overpowering creatures were endangered. This article was very informative with some quick facts that help someone get to know these massive creatures a little bit better and to learn a different side than what is gained from "Shark Week".
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/great-white-shark/
Monika Seffair
Section 27320

Red Tide
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  I recently went home to Corpus Christi and realized that red tide was in season. I have been reading up on red tide on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website after my trip to learn more about the tragedy. Red tide is in season from August to about February. During these months a perfect combination of temperature, salinity, and nutrients reach a certain level. However, the exact recipe for this disaster is still unknown. I have seen in years past the impact that red tide has on fish with the presence of thousands of dead fish on Corpus beaches. During red tide a micro algae blooms and produces a toxin that paralyze fish and prevent them from breathing. It’s a sad time when red tide is at high levels and it will ruin a good time at the beach! 

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/water/environconcerns/hab/redtide/faq.phtml

Marcus Gonzalez

27360

Krill
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I noticed in Chapter 16 that we are covering krill. Ever since the movie Finding Nemo I have wondered what exactly krill was. I discovered they are one of the largest protein sources on Earth and can not only be eaten by whales, but also fish and penguins. This makes sense because in the movie the whale eats an enormous amount of krill, not just for the food but also for all the protein. As I read on in the article it went right along with the lab today. It started talking about how there is an over population of antarctic krill which is putting pressure on the environment there. This puts a real world example to what we talked about and will help me remember some of the fishery problems for the future.   
http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100901/full/467015a.html
Mary Slater
Unique #53905

Sea Pigs
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In our lab last Friday one of the examples of Echinoderms was the unsightly yet fascinating Scotoplane, or “sea pig”. These curious creatures live deep in the ocean, sometimes collected from more than 6000 feet deep, and are widely known to commune in groups of hundreds. The sea pig moves itself around with appendages called parapodia attached to each side and uses similar appendages around its mouth to taste fresh, rich nutrients that have recently settled on the ocean floor.  Found in almost every ocean on earth, sea pigs are often gathered in their giant groups and all oriented in one direction facing the current to find the freshest sea-floor foods to feast on. An issue that plagues sea pigs is that of parasites. Some small snail-like parasites will burrow holes in the skin of the Scotoplanes and slowly begin to grow shells inside of the creatures! A similar type of parasite is the crustacean parasite, which will bore holes inside of the sea pig body wall and feed on its internal organs, which doesn't sound like fun...
Claire Peckham   27325

Mudskippers
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Mudskippers, or Periophthalmus barbarus, are fish that actually spend most of their lifetimes out of water. They 'walk' on their pectoral fins. These fish have gills that dry up and close when they come out of the water and a special storage cavity behind their ears for storing water. When a mudskipper's eyes get dry, it rolls its eyes back into this cavity to rehydrate its eyes as well as reoxygenate the water in the cavity. Mudskippers can be found in West Africa, Japanese coasts, Australia, Philipines and the Polynesian islands. They also inhabit swamps and often perch on mangrove roots. These fish can even climb mangrove trees! These fish spend three-fourths of their lifetime on land; however, they have to remain in hot and humid places so their skin will remain moist. This is very important because a mudskipper primarily breathes through it's skin. These creatures are a fascinating combination of a land and water creature.

source: http://www.vexen.co.uk/holyshit/mudskipper.html

Rachel Childress

53910

Colossal Squid
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  I once saw a documentary on sea monsters that was talking about the Colossal Squid. Since then I have always been intrigued by these creatures, and wonder how closely related they are to the normal squid we eat. Little is known about the creatures and they weren’t discovered until 1925. It wasn’t until 1981 the first full bodied specimen was found. After hearing a “Science and the Sea Podcast” I learned that the eyes of the colossal squid act as headlights producing light. It’s scary to think that we know little of this creature and there could be some 50 feet long. It kind of makes you wonder if they would make good calamari.

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=268&Itemid=10

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossal_squid

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Marcus Gonzalez

27360

The Red Sea
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Today in class the main topic that Professor Min talked about was salinity. This made me think about the Red Sea. I knew that the Red Sea had a higher than average salinity but I wanted to investigate it further. The red sea salinity level range from about 36% to about 41%. The average salinity of the Red sea is around 40% which is 4% higher than the worlds average. This high salinity level is mainly due to evaporation, the lack of rivers and streams draining into the sea, and its limited connection with the Indian Ocean. The Red Sea also provides five useful resources from it's deposits: petroleum, evaporite, sulfur, phosphates, and heavy metal deposits. The Red Sea gets its name from the algae Trichodesmium erythraeum. When a large amount of the algae blooms and then dies off, it turns the sea a reddish brown color. Hopefully some day I will be able to see this color change in person.



John Brandell
Section # 53905

Article Link: http://www.history.com/topics/red-sea
Photo Link: http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/is-the-red-sea-really-red-0263/

Countershading
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Before learning about countershading in fish in our labs I always wondered why fish, sharks especially, were light colored on one side and dark on the other. It never occurred to me that it was part of a defense mechanism or as a way to fool prey or larger predators. While listening to the countershading podcast on Science and the Sea, I learned that fish are not the only creatures that use countershading as a way of masking themselves from predators. Whales, dolphins, and penguins benefit from this unique feature. I was surprised to learn that even fighter planes and military bombers find this useful. 
http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=358&Itemid=10
Alyssa Loya
#53925

The Bermuda Triangle
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We all know about the legend of the Bermuda Triangle. There's an area in the Atlantic Ocean where ships and airplanes have 'disappeared' without a trace. There have been many theories about why this happens, but some are more convincing than others. One theory suggests that pockets of trapped methane gas lie beneath the water can be released by seismic activity or underwater landslides. When the methane gas is released to the surface it can temporarily change the density of water, and if a boat gets caught in the bubbles of gas it is likely to sink. The gas bubbles could possibly float up into the air and interfere with airplanes. However, the Bermuda Triangle is not the only place where methane gas bubbles are present, so this still doesn't explain why there is such a large number of disappearances in this area.

source: http://science.discovery.com/top-ten/2009/bermuda-triangle-theories/bermuda-triangle-theories-08.html

Rachel Childress

53910

Clownfish and anemone
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I was curious to learn more about the relationship between clown fish and anemones. It is a symbiotic one, in which both species benefit from the other. The stinging tentacles of the anemone provide protection for clown fish. In contrast, the clown fish provides protection for the anemone by chasing away its natural predators- polyp-eating fishes. The anemone also benefits from clown fish feces. Although anemones aren't suitable for aquariums, many are taken from the ocean to live in captivity, where they don't survive long. Still, this continues, and without long-living anemones in the ocean, the process of reproduction may not continue. This also threatens the life of the clown fish. 
Kendra Huskey, 53910
http://www.garf.org/trever/anem/anenome.html

Hidden Treasures
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  I find it amazing and somewhat mind boggling that we really have no idea what’s under the vast sea. We learned in class that the deepest canyons and the biggest mountains are under the sea. What I learned from a “Science and the Sea Podcast” was that only two men have ever seen the biggest canyon on earth. Another interesting fact was that the longest mountain range extends across the entire length of earth. I love learning mind boggling facts about our world and Universe. It would be awesome if we could one day explore depths of the ocean that have never been explored; especially now that our space exploration is over! 

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=20&Itemid=10

mid-ocean ridge

Marcus Gonzalez

27360

 

 

 

 

Invading Crabs
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There have been recent reports that a certain species of king crab is moving towards West Antarctica, upsetting the ecosystem. Neolithodes yaldwyni are king crabs that have only been known to inhabit waters with a temperature of 34.5 degrees Farenheit, and because of this they have generally stayed in the Ross Sea. However, global warming has contributed to a rise in temperature of the waters surrounding the normal habitat, and the crabs have begun to spread. These crabs, which can have a legspan of up to 39 inches, are known as "ecosystem engineers" beacuse they dig into the ocean floor to create a habitat that is suitable for finding small worms and other organisms. It has been estimated that 1.5 million king crabs are now living in a continental shelf called the Palmer Deep. Scientists worry that if the crab continue to move toward West Antarctica, the ecosystem will suffer devastating effects. Global warming will continue to warm the waters and expand the king crab's available habitat.

 

source: http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/2608246/king-crabs-invading-antarctica/index.html

Rachel Childress

53910

TIdal Wave vs. Tsunami
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  A very common miss consumption we hear about in society is people calling a Tsunami a Tidal wave, which are two very different things. Tidal waves are caused by the moon and sun’s gravitational pull. Tidal waves occur daily and cause rising and lowering of sea levels. Like we learned in class a Tsunami is an underwater disturbance that displaces water causing a massive wave in length. The article I found does a really great job summarizing what we had learned in class. It was finally nice to learn the difference between the two and I will make sure to correct the next person I hear call a Tsunami a Tidal wave! 

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=104&Itemid=10

Marcus Gonzalez

27360

 

 

Blue Whales Dining Too Close for Comfort
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Blue Whales Dining Too Close for Comfort

There was recently a video uploaded of a surfer and a couple kayaking and having a nice chat, when suddenly, nearby you see a large ring of bubbles and then an enormous blue whale breaks the surface of the water to eat a school of fish. The whale was so close to the people that many headlines said that the surfer was “almost eaten”. Using phrases like this inaccurately portray whales as dangerous, and this could pose a threat to the whales and make them sources for hunting. Right now there are fines in many areas for harassing whales. Whales aren’t dangerous, but you should stay at least 100 feet away from them unless you want to take a hit to your wallet.

The ring of bubbles that are seen before the whale surfaces were emitted by the whale to coral the fish into one area, so that when the whale goes up and breaches the surface, the fish are more likely to be in the area where the whale‘s mouth is open.

http://www.thewhalepeople.com/2011/11/a-whale-of-a-tale-woman-%E2%80%98almost%E2%80%99-gets-swallowed-by-whale/

http://www.longislandpress.com/2011/11/04/humpback-whale-surfer-almost-swallowed-by-whale-video/

Consuela Wright

Section 27330

Box Jellyfish
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  Until this week’s “Science and the Sea Podcast” I had no idea that some jelly fish have eyes. I found an article on the website talking about the Box jellyfish which has eyes, and possesses the ability to swim freely. In fact the Box jellyfish has a totally of six eyes on all four sides of the creature. Having grown up on the gulf coast and being stung by jellyfish I have a certain hatred for them. I have always assumed that all jellyfish were the same and served no purpose drifting along with currents. After reading more on the Box jellyfish I found out that that are considered one of the most venomous creatures in the world and could kill a human. The good news is that they don’t seem to be common in the Gulf of Mexico.

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=318&Itemid=6

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Box_jellyfish

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Marcus Gonzalez

27360

Global Warming's Impact on Marine Migration
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I read the article "One If by Land, Two if by Sea? Climate Change 'Escape Routes," on the Science Daily website (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111107161959.htm.) The article is about the comparison between land an sea dwelling creatures and their fights for a suitable living environment in the face of global warming.  Specifically, it tracks the speed at which land vs. sea creatures will be required to move to new locations if global warming trends continue. In the last 50 years, climate change has caused the Earth's land to increase in temperature by 1 degree celsius, which is about three times faster than ocean warming. This temperature increase causes animals and plants in certain environments to either adapt or move to a new location that better suits their needs.  Interestingly, though the rate of temperature increase for the ocean is a mere fraction of that on land, the speed at which marine organisms need to relocate is surprisingly similar. Animals and plants on land are moving at a rate of about 6 km per decade, but due to the fact that marine life may have to move much greater distances to find a suitable environment, their movement rates are comparable. The marine migration is a higher concern for life at the surface or animals that rely on species that require sunlight. This is a concern because it is unknown what can take these species' place after they leave or if their new environment can sustain such a great increase in population.
Megan Lambert
53920

Tubbataha Reef Paradise
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Usually, when we think about paradise, the first things that come to our minds are islands and lagoons. For that reason, these things really conjure paradisiac images from me. These things actually make me want to be a mermaid (or a merman because I’m a guy). My favorite “paradise on Earth” is in Palawan, Philippines.

Tubbataha is located in the Sulu Sea 98 nautical miles southeast of Puerto Princesa City in the Palawan Province. The reef is made up of two coral atolls divided by a wide channel. (Remember that an atoll used to be the barrier reef before the island totally sinks the water.) Each reef has a single small islet that protrudes from the water.

There are no permanent inhabitants of the islets or reefs and Tubbataha is considered as the best dive site in the Philippines. The diving dedicated ships that operate during the "Tubbataha Season" are usually booked years in advance especially during the Asian holidays of Easter and "Golden Week".

Tubbataha has become a popular site for seasoned sports divers because of its coral "walls" where the shallow coral reef abruptly ends giving way to great depths. These "walls" are not only wonderful diving spots but they are also wonderful habitats for many colonies of fish including hammerhead sharks, barracudas, etc.

 

Erwin Laird

# 53955



Seahorses
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I think Seahorses are like most humans in the fact that they have only one mate in their lifetime! Something not so human like about them, though, is that the male seahorse is the child bearer. Seahorses swim upright and are found in shallow temperate and tropical waters around the world. Seahorses can be anywhere from .6 inches to 14 inches long. As I noted above, the male seahorse is the child bearer, and thus has a pouch located on its ventral side that the female seahorse deposits her eggs into. The maler fertilizes the eggs internally and carries them until they hatch, and then releases fully formed seahorses into the surrounding water. Seahorses are not very good swimmers due to their upright position and use a fin on their back to flutter and steer through the water. There are only 35 types of seahorses around the world and their populations are scarce. 
seahorses  
Macon Blount 27365

Sixth Sense
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Unlike humans, fish have a sixth sense called the lateral line. We had to draw a lateral line of a fish a couple labs ago, and I was intrigued of what the purpose was of it. I found an article on the Science and the Sea website that answered some unanswered questions of mine. How does the lateral line system work? Running down a fishes body is a canal, filled with neuromasts, which contain tiny hairs that move with the ocean currents that send signals to the nervous system. They use the lateral line system to help maintain a constant swimming speed when in different current speeds. This allows them to swim uniformly in a school. Another more obvious function is to alert them when predators are near. It would be neat if humans had a form of lateral system to make us more aware of our surroundings!

 Image

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=6

Marcus Gonzalez

27360

Sea Stars
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In the past few labs we have discussed starfish and their radial symmetry, which got me thinking that starfish could be an interesting topic to blog about. Marine scientists have succeeded at changing the name starfish to sea star for a very obvious reason, starfish aren't fish! The most common sea stars have 5 arms but some have 10, 20, and even 40. There are about 2,000 species of sea fish with marine habitats all over the ocean.  Starfish have bony skin and have striking colors that aid in protection and camouflage. Sea Stars are remarkable in with their ability to regenerate missing limbs and sometimes even entire bodies! Sea stars house all of their vital organs in their arms, making it possible to recreate an entire new star with solely a severed arm! Star fish have tiny, suction-cupped tube feet that help them ingest their prey. Their stomach can escape their body's, allowing them to consume prey outside of their body's. Sea stars truly are incredible creatures!
sea star  
Macon Blount 27365

Into the a Subterranean River
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So, just recently, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean National River Park has been declared as one of the Seven Wonders of Nature. Well, that said park is the longest navigable underground river in the world. Having visited it myself, I can attest that it deserves to be officially declared a wonder of nature. The emerald waters, gaping cave, scintillating minerals, magnificent stalagmites and stalactites, cathedral-like formations, and a grotesque-looking-and-human-flesh-hungry swamp monster—what else could be a better location for the next box-office thriller? Just kidding about the monster! Instead of a swamp monster, the cave was a habitat to thousands and thousands of birds. At first I thought that all the squeaking sounds were from bats, it turned out that there weren’t as many bats there as there were birds. While sailing through the cave, mineral water drip all over the place, further creating that sublime aura. Deeply entrenched in the rhythm of my dreamy stupor, I slowly open my mouth and let the gentle splash of mineral water caress my mouth. Suddenly, the tour guide reminded us to not mistake some mineral water drips from bird droppings. As I choke from a possible bird dropping, I just wished that a swamp monster does appear and take that guide away for ruining my ecstatic experience.

 

The park has a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 kilometers navigable underground river. A distinguishing feature of the river is that it winds through a cave before flowing directly into the South China Sea. It includes major formations of stalactites and stalagmites, and several large chambers. The lower portion of the river is subject to tidal influences. Until the 2007 discovery of an underground river in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River was reputed to be the world's longest underground river. -Wiki

Erwin Laird

# 53955



What is Octopus Ink?
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Not knowing what octopus ink is made of, I decided to research the topic to see if it had any similarity to the ink that humans know and use toady. Octopus ink is composed of highly concentrated melanin, the same dark pigment that humans have. Melanin is responsible for coloring our hair and our skin. Octopi naturally make this ink and store it in an ink sac. Octopuses have the ability to control the direction of their squirts of ink that are used as distractions from predators. The ink contains a the compound tyrosinase that can irritate predators eyes and temporarily paralyze their sense of smell. Melanin is red but appears to be black sometimes when it is highly concentrated. The pen ink that we use nowadays is not the same ink used by octopuses, but Sepia, a ink used by historical artists, is the only kind of ink that is related to octopus ink. 
Macon Blount 27365

Fresh Water Shark
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 I came across an article on the Science and the Sea website, about Bull Sharks and their ability to survive in both fresh and salt water. I guess what shocked me the most is that I have lived my entire life not knowing that a certain shark could live in fresh water. After reading the article I did some research to see if they are any in American fresh water systems. Yess! They have been reported to swim up the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers as far as Indiana and Illinois. This article will always be in the back of my mind the next time I am relaxing at the lake, or tubing down a River! 

 http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=257&Itemid=6

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bull_shark

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Marcus Gonzalez

27360

Fri 2-4

 

California Sea Lions
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California Sea lions, also known as zalophus californianus are known for their playfulness, intelligence, and noisy barking. They are found on a wide range of western coast from Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico. Sea Lions like to travel in groups and are social animals. They can be seen floating on the oceans surface and even surfing on break waves. These cute animals have faces that resemble dogs. California sea lions feed on octopus, herring, squid, rockfish, mackerel and small sharks and are preyed on by killer whales and great white sharks.  Many types of sea lions are affected by disease, pollution, lack of food sources, maternal separation, and the effects of El Nino among other things, but the population of California Sea Lions is slowly increasing.
sea lions  
Macon Blount 27365

Hydrothermal Vent Worms
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In the article entitled "Creatures of the Thermal Vents", the wondrous creature called the tube worm is explored. These organisms become attached to the bottom of the sea floor and regularly form around hydrothermal vents. In the harsh environment of hydrothermal vents, factors such as toxic chemicals, high pressures, and total darkness are present. However, the giant tube worm thrives within these communities. "Measurements at the site have since shown that individual tube worms can increase in length at a rate of more than 33 inches per year, making them the fastest-growing marine invertebrates. That means tube worms can colonize a vent more rapidly than scientists once thought." I find it amazing how certain creatures that inhabit our Earth can withstand and even prosper in extreme environments such as the infamous hydrothermal vent communities. This makes us wonder how many other phenomenal species there are left undiscovered.  

http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/ps_vents.html

Rachel Ryza

Section # 53920

Power of Waves
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After reading a Science and the Sea article, I have learned of new devices being used to harvest energy from waves in the ocean. This is another way of generating clean energy similar to wind farms. The long cylindrical device has been placed off the coast of Portugal. The way these new devices work is that waves rock the long “snake like” device causing pressures that drive hydraulic motors that in return generate electricity. The electricity is then sent back to shore and stored in an electricity grid for later consumption. Having lived in Corpus Christi I saw a rise in wind farms around the city. I am now interested if maybe the Gulf Coast will one day house wave farms?

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=142&Itemid=6

 

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Marcus Gonzalez 

27360

Fri 2-4

 

Lighting up the Waves
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Chapter 16, section 16.7 explains harmful algal blooms, or red tides. I had heard of red tides but never really knew what they were. The water doesn't necessarily turn red either, and may be either toxic or nontoxic. Luckily, the people in San Diego just witnessed a red tide as a reporter said, but many reported seeing blue light or even greenish, which a professor from Scripps Insitute said was actually caused by the bioluminescent dinaflagellates, not a harmful toxic species. This tide allowed people to even see surfers at night, since the waves were lighting up! However, there are many types of toxic dinoflagellates that can be marine toxics and cause harmful blooms. Luckily for this area, the dinoflagellate were just producing bioluminesence, a species commonly known to humans.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/science/how-does-red-tide-light-up-ocean-waves.html?_r=1&ref=oceans

Amy Johnson

27370

Free Willy- err, Shamu
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Recently, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a lawsuit against Sea World for it's "enslavement" of orca whales. Their argument? The whales may not be kept as slaves, protected under the 13th amendment. PETA and supporters believe that the whales were caught under violence and forced to live in mere "wading pools" and should be released back into their natural habitat. The company believes that they actually aim to rescue and to conserve the species, and that they are treated with the utmost care in matters of food and health. The use of the whales in their shows is for the sole purpose of giving the public a better appreciation for and understanding of these animals. SeaWorld is adheres to the policies listed by the Marine Mammals Protection Act, which allows public displays of the creatures if permits are obtained and the facility offers and education/conservation programs for the public. Popular opinion is that the lawsuit will not hold up in courts, seeing as how the 13th amendment was not made to apply to animals and that PETA had no reason to make these claims. However, it is in the hopes of many that this will push the issue of animal treatment. Kendra Huskey, 53910
http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/11/peta_sues_seaworld.html
http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/9539-peta-sues-seaworld-for-enslaving-killer-whales
http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/peta-sues-seaworld-slavery-killer-whales

Nudibranchs
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  Last week in lab, my T.A. talked about how cool the benthic organism Nudibranch is. She said that they basically are tiny organisms with a huge ego, which naturally interested me. How can such a small, defenseless blob be so confident in its security? According to a Science and the Sea podcast, a nudibranch's defense is based off recycling from their prey. So they eat anemones, sponges, stinging corals, and others, then instead of digesting their stinging parts, it moves them onto its own skin as its own defense barrier. Its bright coloring serves as a warning to any predators that it will sting them or give them a stomach ache. I think it's really cool that such a defenseless organism can adapt to create such a strong defense.

 

http://allencentre.wikispaces.com/Nudibranchs

Alex Wilkins, #53925

Tidal electricity
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Electricity may be generated through the use of tidal energy harnessed by turbines. These turbines are placed underwater in areas of high energy. The energy is acquired through the natural ebb and flow of the ocean. There are several reasons why tidal energy is a good choice for us. 1) It is non-polluting, 2) Tide currents are reliable and predictable, and 3) A variety of machines today effectively use this energy. Two ways to achieve tidal energy are to build barrages across estuaries and to harness offshore streams. Although the equipment used to pursue this are expensive, tidal energy has many positive effects on the environment. It is renewable, emits no gases, and could possibly reduce the need for nuclear power. My question is, if this is such a great form of energy, why isn't it harnessed more often? Are finances the main concern, or is it just laziness on the part of society?
Kendra Huskey, 53910

A Shark's Sense of Smell
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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/science/30obshark.html?ref=sharks
   
I find sharks very interesting creatures, and I very much enjoy any time we discuss them in class. I know the typical things about sharks that most people do, and I've learned some new things from this course like their ability to use counter shading to their advantage. But, I still have some questions. I wanted to learn more about how they hunt their prey and how they use their senses. In an article titled, "Sharks Have Sense of Timing in Hunt for Food." Prior to reading this article I knew that sharks use their sense of smell to actually hunt down prey, but I was not aware that use smell more intensely and accurately that what we'd normally expect. The article says that they time which nostril smells the food first and that "the difference in timing between the scent hitting one nostril and the other can be as small as a tenth of a second"! By using this timing they can accurately turn in the correct direction and head to their food faster and more efficiently. It's funny to think that we I, as a human, smell something, I smell something in general and do not think that one nostril smells something first. This amazing sense of smell for sharks aids them in retrieving their food. 
Gabriella Guajardo
Section #27315

Flexible Scales Add to the Speed of the Shortfin Mako
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http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/science/30obshark.html?ref=sharks
 
From the beginning, one of the things I looked most forward to in this class was learning about underwater creatures, fish, sharks, and any other marine life. I'm obsessed with shark week, and I love learning new things about sharks. I googled what the fastest shark was, and the answer I found was the shortfin mako shark. I learned that they can swim up to 20 mph and are said to be able to catch some incredibly fast fish. From there, I was curious to what aided these sharks in being capable of moving so quickly. I found an article on the New York Times about these sharks in particular. In this article they stated that the reason for their extraordinary speed was due to "the variation in size and and flexibility of the teethlike scales embedded in its skin." The main, important job of these scales, the article said, was to give the shark the ability to turn around quickly without slowing down! These sharks are able to hunt down their prey quickly and react with great speed when it's necessary simply because of these 0.2 millimeter scales!
Gabriella Guajardo
Section #27315

Shark Finning
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As many as 2,000 hammerheads, Galapagos and whale sharks have been slaughtered for their fins in Columbia's pacific waters.  A team of divers were the ones to discover the mass killing of these sharks which were found in the waters surrounding the rock-island known as Malpelo.  "When the divers dove, they started finding a large number of animals without their fins. They didn't see any alive," Bessudo said (the Colombian president's top adviser on environmental issues).  What draws illegal fishing boats to this site is the high concentration of sharks.  These boats from nearby nations trap the sharks, strip them of their fins, and then throw them back into the water.  Issues such as these are still trying to be controlled.  If you google "shark finning" you'll see why!  
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/oct/19/shark-massacre-colombia
Jaclyn Elder - 53970
 

Bluefin Tuna
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Since 2001, Scientists at the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) spawned bluefin tuna and other tuna in the Balearic Sea.  The analysis of information was obtained during five cruises, each of which covered 200 sampling stations distributed around the Balearic Sea.  The samples were placed at different depths and various plankton hauls, some of them lead to the sample of micro and mesozooplankton and others toward the capture of tuna larvae.  The analysis in the end showed higher growth rates and better conditions during the warmest year, giving the conclusion of the relationship between warm periods and greater abundance of the Atlantic bluefin stock reported by various authors.  
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101118084050.htm
Jaclyn Elder - 53970
 

Shrimps killing each other for love
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  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111095520.htm

Okay, so it's not for love. But it's not for survival or food either - this particular type of cleaner shrimp, the Lysmata amboinensis, live in monogamous pairs. That's probably why the cleaner shrimp in finding Nemo is French.

Anyway, in an experiment where they are placed in groups of more than two, these shrimp would kill one another during the night, after their opponent has moltened (shed their shell or outer skin). The researchers tried to create the least competitive environment possible (by giving them limitless food and seperating them into groups of similiar-sized shrimp), but the shrimp kill one another until only one pair is left.

It's also kind of cool to note that they start as males, and as they grow, become female. I guess females really are more mature, in any species.

The Angler Fish
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In class and in our lab we discussed different ways that fish protect themselves from their surroundings. Some fish use counter shading in order to not be seen by predators while other attach themselves to other organisms in order to feed off them. We discussed fish who use bioluminescence to distract predators, attract prey, and signal mates. The link is a short video that shows an Angler fish and how it uses bioluminescence to survive in deep water. The Angler fish uses the light he creates to attract his prey, also shown is how expandable the fishs mouth could be.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXl8F-eIoiM

Fracking cause of Oklahoma Earthquakes?
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http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=did-fracking-cause-oklahomas-largest-recorded-earthquake

In class we have discussed techtonic plates and the various ways they effect us. On November 5 Oklahoma was struck by the largest earthquake in it's history. A magnituted 5.6 temblor caused minor damage but was the biggest quake since the magnitude 5.5 quake in 1952. Some argue that the cause of this is fracking which is a way of drilling through rock for natural gas. While Oklahoma has earthquakes yearly the reports of quakes felt have increased in the past several years. Oklahoma lies along the Wilzetta Fault and Randy Keller, director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey said, "It seems the east side of the fault moved a bit southward." While the cause of the larger earthquakes in Oklahoma are still not fully known Keller says that fracking cannot be the cause of earthquakes of such magnitude. What do you think? Was fracking the cause of the quakes and if not what could it be?

The Loneliest Whale in the World
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During the summer while browsing the internet I came across a really interesting article. This article was about the loneliest whale in the world. Apparently there is a whale that does not follow the migration route of any whale species. To make matters worse it also has vocal problems that chases lady whales away. This whale has been tracked by the NOAA since 1992.
 
Paola Reyes
Section # 53925

Southern Right Whale
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This picture from National Geographic shows a Southern Right Whale, a baleen whale species commonly found in the Southern Hemisphere and mostly near the Pacific. They are known for having many callouses on their heads, no dorsal fin, and a mouth that starts right beneath their eyes. That's a big mouth.
These whales have such a thick layer of blubber from living near the Antarctic pole during the summer that they cannot cross the warmer equatorial waters because they cannot release their internal body heat through their blubber layer. Consequently, they spend winter in the water between Australia and Chile, and are often seen in Argentina on the Atlantic side.
One of my friends was lucky enough to see these whales up close on the Argentine coast last fall. She said they are incredibly huge and really amazing to watch. Class trip, anyone?
Section: 53960

Fish Flu!
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A team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology has stumbled upon a genetic structure that could decrease the reproduction of the infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV), more commonly known as the “fish flu.” Some fish farms with high mortality rates have recently learned that the fish flu has been found in wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest. This could decrease the population of salmon as well as the food web it supports. There is a vaccine that could be used but it has to be injected, and injecting thousands of salmon is not practical for the agriculture industry. Scientists are looking into a drug or vaccine from the biological perspective that could prevent the fish flu from spreading and would be more practical to deliver. 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111109161301.htm
Lauren Dempsey (27335)

Global Warming Could Cause Animals to Shrink
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The growth and development of animals of animals increase at different rates as the temperature warms. Recent studies have shown that rates fundamental to all organisms such as mortality, reproduction and feeding, may not change in synch with one another in a warming world. This could have a serious effect on the ability to understand how organisms work, and impact on entire food webs and the world's ecosystems. Scientists hope that their work will help others investigating the potential impacts of climate change on the animals of the world.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110927112413.htm
Lauren Dempsey (27335)

Fish You Shouldn't Eat
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  While many dieticians recommend fish as a good source of protein, some fish can actually be bad for you due to the levels of contaminents in their systems from the polluted waters they swim in. In a recent yahoo health article, 5 types of fish include Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, Atlantic Salmon, Atlantic Flatfish, Imported King Crab, and Imported Shrimp. Besides the contamination in these fish, yahoo also stated that many of these fish are overharvested and currently at a level lower than necessary to sustain long term fishing. Both of these reasons should be encourage us to not pollute the waters, or over fish, so that that fish can be a healthy source of food for many years to come. For alternatives to the 5 fish mentioned, visit http://health.yahoo.net/experts/eatthis/5-fish-you-should-throw-back

Phytoplankton Population Drops 40 Percent
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http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=phytoplankton-population
 
As we learned in class and lab, phytoplankton is so important and vital to the survival of many things in the ocean. Known as "the foundation of the ocean's food web," they are said to produce as much oxygen as plants on land! Learning about how essential phytoplankton are, I wanted to know more. I began searching for articles about them and came across one that talked about their population declining. I was very surprised by reading this, but even more surprised to find out that the article said the drop was 40% since 1950. As I saw this, my first question was, what could be causing this? I believed this was the perfect article to answer my question. I read that what most researchers think is to blame for this is rising sea surface temperature. What is scary to think about is that this affects the bigger picture of the world's carbon cycle as a whole and that these temperatures are said to be "depriving phytoplankton of some of the materials they need to turn carbon dioxide and sunlight into energy." Could there also be other factors affecting the survival of phytoplankton? I hope to find out soon. This obviously would have a chain reaction and eventually lead to declination among other species. 
Gabriella Guajardo
Section #27315

Global Warming Shrinks Animals
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In class we have discussed many negative affects of global warming such as rising sea level, melting of glacier ice, changing in animal migrations, etc. This article discusses a bizarre effect of global warming: animal shrinking. After studying copepods and gathering 40 years of data, scientists realized that the development rate of these plankton, how fast they pass through their life span, is more sensitive to TEMPERATURE than growth rate. Therefore, a species grows AND matures faster at warmer temperatures. Smaller adult sizes are the result of this "temperature-size rule" phenomenon. However, all of this data makes me wonder what effects can result from this shrinking not only on the level of the individual species, but also on the level of whole ecosystems!
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110927112413.htm
#27315

Gondwana Land Link Found
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Very recently scientists have discovered two sunken islands that may help to re-create the theory of plate tectonics. Because of their flat tops, they believe these islands may have been at sea level before they started to submerge. Researchers are returning with hundreds of kilograms of dredged material which they hope will provide them with an accurate history of these sunken islands. 
Caity Martin
53935

Deepest Volcanic Sea Vent
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As we learned in class, deep ocean vents are found on ocean floors. These vents are found near volcanically active places, areas where tectonic plates are moving apart, ocean basins, and hotspots. These vents exist because the earth is both geologically active and has large amounts of water on its surface and within its crust. Three miles below the surface of the Caribbean Sea, great volcanic vents blow subterranean water hot enough to melt lead. This vent was found via robotic submersibles on April 6, 2010. These two story tall "black smokers" are the world's deepest known hydrothermal vents, scientists announced. "It was like wandering across the surface of another world," geochemist Bramley Murton, speaking in a press statement, said of steering a submersible around the record breaking volcanic vents. 

 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/04/100412-worlds-deepest-undersea-volcanic-vents-hydrothermal/

Evelyn Hernandez

27375

Monday, November 14, 2011

Shark Fins
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In lab we discussed about sharks, as I was researching I found this interesting article about sharks. Workers at a Taiwanese fishing port clean and process a haul of shark fins in new pictures taken by the U.S.-based Pew Environment Group. Released October 19, the images show fins and body parts of vulnerable shark species--- including the scalloped hammerhead and oceanic whitecap--being prepared for sale. "Unfortunately, since there are no limits on the number of these animals that can be killed in the open ocean, this activity can continue unabated," Pew's Matt Rand said in a statement. "This strip-mining of the world' sharks is clearly unsustainable." Up to 73 million sharks are caught each year for the global fin trade, this is because of the demand for shark fin soup. Fishers usually slice the animals' fins off and throw their still-living bodies overboard. On October 21 the Taiwan Fisheries Agency announced a ban starting next year on shark finning, but the ban only mandates that caught sharks be taken back to shore with their fins attached. 

 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/10/pictures/111028-shark-conservation-ecology-preservation-biodiversity-animals/

Evelyn Hernandez

27375

Tubenoses
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The Science and the Sea article “A Nose Knows” by Mandy Calkins documents the eating habits and survival of petrels due to their keen sense of smell. These petrels are “pelagic birds” that only survive on land to care for their young. The use of “tubenoses,” aka tube-shaped nostrils, allows them to smell more efficiently than other animals. The sense of smell is incredibly powerful in these creatures, allowing for an advantage in seeking food. This sense of smell allows for them to find their nests, search for food, and familiarize themselves at sea. The “turbenose” is crucial for their efficient navigation. The photo below identifies the “turbenose” structure.
 
http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=350&Itemid=6
Julia Duke (JAD3826) #27310

Decorator Crabs
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While exploring the Science and the Sea website, I found the article “Exterior Decorator” by Mandy Calkins. I was fascinated by the fact that crabs camouflage themselves to protect themselves against predators. Apparently, these critters swarm shallow waters. Interestingly, their shells are covered with “setae.” This “setae” is used to grasp environmental materials to be used as camouflage. The article expands on the longnose spider crab. This longnose spider crab uses brown algae, chemically prone, to deter fish. This defensive crab camouflaging itself is shown below.

 

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=356&Itemid=6

Julia Duke (JAD3826) #27310

Great Eastern Garbage Patch
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Our discussion on the island of garbage located in the Pacific Ocean sparked my interest on the topic. According to the “TOXIC: Garbage Island” article published in CNN World, the Great Eastern Garbage Patch was unreported for the longest time and could only be found in environmental magazines of some sort. The disastrous island, the size of the state of Texas, was something the general public was basically unaware of. According to the article, the Garbage Patch is located at a natural collecting point at the center of a set of revolving currents called the North Pacific Gyre. The issue at large is more consequential than most assume. In relation to this issue, I am worried about the further threats on our world. 80 percent of the trash originates on land, so the American public is responsible for changing their ways. After reading the article, in my opinion, society must find alternatives for trash, before we further damage our organisms at sea. The photo below reveals the extremity of the issue at hand. 

 

http://articles.cnn.com/2010-02-16/world/vbs.toxic.garbage.island_1_north-pacific-gyre-pacific-ocean-currents/2?_s=PM:WORLD

Julia Duke (JAD3826) #27310

BP Oil Spill
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On April 20, 2010 the BP Oil Spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill was caused by an explosion at an offshore drilling rig and flowed for three months. In May 2010, new estimates showed that the undersea well had spilled between 17 to 39 million gallons. This spill was bigger than the Exxon Valdez, which makes it the worst spill in American history. The National Wildlife Federation also reported that more than 150 threatened or endangered sea turtles were already dead by this date. And 316 sea birds, mostly brown pelicans and northern gannet, had been found dead along the Gulf Coast as a result of the spreading oil. This topic interested me since we discussed in lab and lecture about marine life. It goes to show that one little mistake can be devastating for underwater creatures. 
 
http://www.care2.com/causes/10-most-horrifying-facts-about-the-gulf-oill-spill.html
Evelyn Hernandez
#27375

Eating Poisonous Fish
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Lionfish have become introduced to the Atlantic coast of the US, far from their native Pacific Ocean regions.  The lionfish is an interesting looking creature but very poisonous.  According to the story, the lionfish is destroying ecosystems off the Eastern coast of the US, killing other fish and destroying coral reefs.  Since the lionfish has no natural predators in this area, it is proving nearly impossible to defeat.  So chefs on the Eastern coast have put the lionfish to a new use:  as a culinary delicacy.  The fish sometimes does not die immediately upon being caught, so chefs must put the lionfish on ice to successfully kill it.  Eating this poisonous fish is unlike the most famous poisonous fish cuisine, fugu, which is famous for the paralytic effect it has on the lips (when prepared correctly) due to tetrodotoxin.  However, the reason for serving the lionfish is mainly to circumvent its presence in a non-native habitat. 

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/hunting-poisonous-lion-fish-wiping-out-fish-atlantic-coast-14168647

Alex Messenger 53935

Whales in the Sahara
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 Water in the Sahara desert seems like an oxymoron to most people. However, in prehistoric times the northern part of the Sahara desert was actually covered in water and teeming with marine life. But how did whale bones end up in one of the driest places on earth? During the Mesozoic era north Africa was actually under water and marine life like crabs, coral reefs and yes even whales. By tectonic activity the land was up lifted and the sea that covered northern Africa slowly shrank depleting the home of many marine organisms whales and organisms became trapped and there remains now lay in the Sahara desert one of the driest places on earth.        
 
 
http://www.independent.co.uk/migration_catalog/article5183289.ece/ALTERNATES/w380/9HK-garry-shaw-wadi-el-hitan-800-dorudon-atrox.jpeg
Braden Hendrickson
mns 53975

Great Pacific Garbage Patch
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In our Pre-Lecture assignment this week, it mentioned the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Since I knew little about this garbage, I decided to blog about it to inform other people who also knew nothing about this.  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific Gyre, is the largest garbage swill in the world, measuring about the same size of Texas. It is located in the North Pacific Ocean between the United States of America and Hawaii.  A garbage swill is plastic waste that accumulates in swirling seas of debris, where the ratio of trash to sea life is 6 to 1. In these areas, birds and mammals are dying of starvation and dehydration with bellies full of plastics. Fish are also being harmed because they are ingesting toxins at such a rapid rate that they will soon be unsafe to eat. 
 
 
http://www.greatgarbagepatch.org/ 
Evelyn Hernandez
#27375

San Andreas Fault
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In class and in chapter 3, we discussed plate tectonics and faults. This topic was of interest to me, therefore, I decided to find more information about a particularly famous fault, the San Andreas Fault. The San Andreas Fault is the most famous fault in the world, it is known for the horrendous 1906 San Francisco earthquake and also because it passes through California, a highly-populated state that is always on the news. This fault is a place where two plate tectonics meet, the North American and Pacific Plates. The plates are made up of crust and the upper mantle of the Earth. The San Andreas Fault is about 700 miles long and about 800 miles if its curves are measured. It is about ten miles deep, and reaches from Salton Sea in Imperial county to Cape Mendocino in Humboldt county. All states and all continents have faults, but California has the most. What makes this fault particularly different is the fact that it is a plate boundary and that it is on land, whereas the rest are in the ocean.
 
http://www.sanandreasfault.org/Information.html
Evelyn Hernandez
#27375

Surfers Love Waves
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In lecture and lab, we discussed waves and tides. What interested me the most about this topic was the fact that people, surfers to be exact, benefit from these natural occurrences that are not man made so I decided to get some more information on them. The most commonly seen waves in the ocean are wind generated, the energy of the wind is transmitted to the water by friction and this energy moves to form waves. No two waves are identical, but they all have and share common traits. Every wave has a measurable wave height, wind speed, duration, and other things. The maximum height in feet is usually one half or less the wind speed in miles per hour. Wave height decreases gradually as the wind dies and the wave approaches shore. When it touches bottom, it slows, the back overtakes the front, forcing it into a peak, curves forward, and dissolves into foam and water called a breaker. Spilling breakers, a favorite with surfers, are turbulent water with foam cascading down the front. They form on gently sloping or flat shores and roll great distances before breaking.Plunging breakers form when the bottom rises abruptly toward the shore. As the crest folds over, it creates a large air pocket, followed by a smooth splash-up. Experienced surfers can sometimes crouch under the falling crest and lock themselves inside the air tube. To get more information about waves, you can also click the link on the bottom of the blog and get the more details on these fascinating wonders of nature.

 

 

 http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/your-surfing-photos/#/adventure-surf-sea-ocean-pictures-20_32816_600x450.jpg

Evelyn Hernandez

#27375

Weird Sea Creature
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In lecture we discussed how most of the ocean floor is unknown to us, this made me wonder what weird mysterious creatures are in the ocean floor that we cannot possible see. With this in mind, I googled weird sea creatures and came to find an Axolotl. Australians and New Zealanders refer to the Axolotl as the Mexican Walking Fish, although the Axolotl is not a fish but an amphibian, a salamander. These creatures vary in colors, including gray, shades of brown, leucistic (whtie with black eyes), golden albino, white albino, as well as other varieties, such as the melanoid (a near black animal). The Axolotl is a fascinating creature for a number of reasons, including its appearance, its ability to regenerate, and primarily the fact that it exhibits the phenomenon known as neoteny. Usually, amphibians go through metamorphosis from egg to larva, and finally to adult form but the Axolotl remains in its larval form throughout its life. This means that it retains its gills and fins, and does not develop the protruding eyes, eyelids and other traits of salamanders. It grows larger than a salamander, and it reaches sexual maturity in this larval stage. This animal is completely aquatic, it breathes primarily through its gills and to a lesser extent, its skin. To read more about this weird animal, click the link below!
 
http://www.axolotl.org/
Evelyn Hernandez
#27375

A Longhorn...Cowfish?
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As I researched about the Axolotl, I came across a longhorn. When i say longhorn, I don't mean Bevo, I am actually referring to a fish. This cowfish received their name by their two pair of longhorns. The funny thing is that their horns often break off but grow back in a few months. It is assumed that they evolved the horns because it makes them harder to eat for predators in shallow water. These fishes are fund in many colors including: green, light orange, yellow, and are know to bear white or blue spots on their body and also display hexagonal or honeycomb patterns. But just like UT Longhorns, these longhorns are not to be messed with! Longhorn cowfish have poisonous flesh, another characteristic that makes them unattractive to predators. They also release ostracitoxin when they become stressed by sudden movements, bright lights and loud noises. To get more details on these fish, or to buy one, just click the link below. 

 
Hook 'em!
http://marinebio.org/species.asp?id=1463
Evelyn Hernandez
#27375

Protests Against Overfishing for Tuna
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The following site is taken from a blog on the Greenpeace website.  Greenpeace has been helping stage and publicize "Mermaid parade" as demonstrations against the company Chicken of the Sea from overfishing tuna (the mermaid is the company's logo).  I appreciate that there is some coverage of these protests against overfishing for tuna and coverage of the cause's popular support.  However, I would find the blogger's entry more striking if they had provided some statistics.  However, we learned in class about the perils of overfishing, and how now there are cards that help to differentiate between overfished fish and other fish that are better to eat.  Tuna is classified as overfished on those cards.  It seems like the attention Greenpeace is trying to bring to this is necessary. 

http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-and-blogs/campaign-blog/mermaid-parades-spread-word-about-chicken-of-/blog/37821/

Alex Messenger 53935

Viperfish
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During Lab 10, our focus on the coloration of fish in the deep sea was quite fascinating to me. The photos, shown in lab of fish with little to no coloration, frightened me. While conducting more research on this lack of pigmentation in fish, I stumbled upon the frightening “Viperfish.” According to the article, “10 Horrible Deep Sea Creatures” published in Weird Science, the number one wicked fish is the “Viperfish.” Apparently, most are black all over and some contain photophores. As defined in lab, photophores are light organs of bioluminescence. These “Viperfish” are termed transparent because of their vulnerability to predators. Their large eyes are so that they can gather light in the deepest of oceans. The photo below depicts their frightening nature.

  

http://www.oddee.com/item_79915.aspx

Julia Duke (JAD3826) #27310

Bioluminescence
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While a myth persists that bioluminescence is the same as florescence, bioluminescence is actually caused by a chemical reaction rather than radiation from an actual source of light.  Bioluminescence is a kind of chemiluminescence, where light is produced by the energy from a chemical reaction.  A chemical called luciferin is the cause of bioluminescence  when catalyzed by luciferase.  The result is bioluminescence and another chemical called oxyluciferin.  One thing I found very interesting was that generally luciferin cannot be produced by the organism in question; often it has to be brought into the body from an outside source.  In most cases, that outside source is a special type of bacteria that is ingested and helps to start this chemical reaction.  Marine organisms can then store up luciferin in their bodies to use when necessary. 

http://www.lifesci.ucsb.edu/~biolum/chem/

Alex Messenger--53935

Giant Jellyfish: Arctic Lion's Mane
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I have always been quite interested in how jellyfish kill and eat their prey. While observing their frightening tentacles and jelly like bodies in lab, I decided to research more. After reading the article, “Giant Jellyfish: Arctic Lion's Mane” on the Extreme Science webpage, I came to find out that they have been in existence long before dinosaurs. As discussed in lab, their bodies are made up of over 95% of water, they have no bones or cartilage, no heart or blood, and no brain! I was intrigued by the concept that they might have eyes that can detect light. Their sting has always frightened me, and apparently the Lion’s mane jellyfish sting can be fatal to humans. They use their tentacles to hunt prey. According to the article, they hunt other living creatures in the animal kingdom. The photo below reveals the mammoth size of this jellyfish creature.

  

http://www.extremescience.com/giant-jellyfish.htm

Julia Duke (JAD3826) #27310

Bleached Coral
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An article in the "New York Times" science section (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/science/earth/21coral.html?ref=oceans) discussed how the extreme heat this year has been bleaching the corals and putting them under extreme stress. This is endangering both under water ecosystems and fisheries that people rely on for food. This is occurring from Thailand to Texas and corals are shedding their corals trying to survive while many have died. This is only the second known bleaching of corals that has ever existed. The article states, "Coral bleaching occurs when high heat and bright sunshine cause the metabolism of the algae to speed out of control, and they start creating toxins." This is the worst coral bleaching that has ever occurred and if they continue to die the ecosystem will be very negatively affected.


Unit #27340

Extremophiles
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While reading Chapter 16, "The Plankton: Drifters of the Sea" of an Introduction to the World's Ocean I learned of extremely amazing organisms called Extremophiles. These organisms thrive in conditions that would be fatal to other life forms. From extreme temperatures of both hot and cold, to high levels of acid or salt with no oxygen or sunlight, these organisms live and thrive in the harshest of conditions. These conditions vary per organism, and ones that enjoy the heat, require very high temperatures in the excess of 80 degrees Celsius for maximum growth. An example of an organism that loves the heat is a Pyrolobus fumarii. It was found at a depth of 3650 m in a hot vent in the mid-atlantic ridge southwest of the Azores. Its name means "fire lobe of the chimney" because of its shape and the black-smoker vent where it was found. It stops growing below 90 degrees Celsius and reproduces at temperatures up to 113 degrees Celsius. It uses hydrogen and sulfur compounds as sources of energy and can also use nitrogen gas. It is able to live with or without oxygen, which is crazy to think about.
 
Source: http://docp.edublogs.org/pyrolobus-fumarii/
Michael Tyler 
section#27380  

Cloaks of Invisibility for Protection
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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/15/science/cloaks-of-invisibility-switched-in-a-flash.html?ref=fishandothermarinelife
 
In lab we've talked about different means of protection when underwater creatures use transparency, camouflage, countershading, bioluminescence, and other ways to adapt to the environment to remain safe. We went into more detail when it came to sharks and schools of fish. For this reason I was happy to come across an article about squids and octopuses using these adaptations to remain alive. Apparently they must remain transparent to avoid predators that see their shadows at the ocean floor and go in to attack them. At the same time, in some occurrences, they have to change to a dark color quickly to blend in with the water because other predators rely on this "biological searchlights that reflect off of clear fish" to eat these cephalopods. So, I learned that they become transparent to avoid some predators, but other predators rely on this feature to hunt them as well. So how are these animals able to fight off both of these predators so quickly? They have an amazing ability that people refer to as an on and off switch. They are able to change to that dark color when they spot a predator like dragonfish who, again, rely on this transparency to catch them. But they can change right back to being transparent when they need to avoid predators like hatchet fish who want to find their shadows at the bottom of the ocean to find them. I was amazed to read that "in less than a second, it's on and off." This article is intriguing because of how much we talked about this topic in lab. The ability to react so quickly in order to shun a predator's attack is awesome. 
Gabriella Guajardo
Section #27315

Meroplankton
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  We recently learned about meroplankton and discussed it further in lab, but I still find it very interesting that an animal such as a starfish can look like the photo below as the juvenile stage of the organism but eventually evolve into what we know as a starfish today.  Meroplankton are organisms that are plankton for only a part of their life cycles (usually the larval stage).  Since meroplankton are widely dispersing, they are difficult to study.

 

http://www.esf.edu/efb/schulz/marineecology/MEPlank1.html

Section #53955

New Solution for Fish Flu
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On Science Daily, an article caught my interest about a disease for fish commonly known as "fish flu". Just last week in lecture we talked about the issue of the declining population of fish, and fish flu (technically infectious salmon anemia virus) could definitely be contributing to the issue. Fish that develop this virus have a 90% mortality rate. As of right now, the only solution is a vaccine that must be injected individually in each fish, which is unrealistic. A team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology is researching a new, more practical method to stop the spread of this disease by looking at its genetics. This new drug would interfere with the virus' ability to replicate genetically. I believe this could be a great solution, and could help fisheries or places with dwindling fish populations.

 

http://images.sciencedaily.com/2011/11/111109161301-large.jpg

Alex Wilkins, #53925

 

Melting Glaciers
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Due to the increase in carbon dioxide emissions, the ozone layer has been getting smaller causing earth's temperatures to rise. These rising temperatures have been the cause of melting glaciers and icebergs, especially in the poles. As these glaciers melt the ocean level rises and the more it rises, the less coastal area there will be. The rising waters will take over the coastlines. Melting glaciers are also causing the salinity of the oceans to decrease. As the oceans get more freshwater, species will die off if they do not have enough salt to survive. These melting glaciers can be very dangerous to the health of our planet so things need to be done in order to decrease carbon emissions or these melting glaciers will continue to put Earth at risk.


Unit #27340

Bull Shark
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A fish that I find very interesting is the Bull Shark. It is able to live in both salt water and fresh water. I remember learning about this during Shark Week and I was shocked that Bull Sharks had been found in the Mississippi River because I thought all sharks could only live in salt water. They are also identified as the deadliest and most dangerous sharks.  They even eat other bull sharks. They can grow to be 11 feet long and weigh up to 700 pounds. These sharks are the only sharks that are able to live in both salt water and fresh water.


Unit #27340

From rope to electronics
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Back in the day, sailors would have to drop rope to the ocean floor just to check the depth. Nowadays, complex electronic systems are made to view not only how deep the ocean is, but also what type of material is on the ocean floor. For example, Lowrance electronics is the proud maker of the High Definition System (HDS) Depthfinder, which is a fisherman's dream. With the use of a dual beam sonar (meaning that the sonar transducer uses two different sized cones to scan the bottom), the HDS is able to give depth and fish readings to extreme depths. On top of that, the unit is able to pinpoint its sattelite location while charting the vessel's trip on its built in GPS. The HDS is also able to store information such as contour lines for depth, waypoints, boat lanes in intercoastal waterways, and other important information that would be used by the avid fisherman. Lowrance HDS's also use what is called Down and Side Scanning technology which enables people to see exactly what type of structure is covering the ocean bottom, whether it be a man made structure or natural, as well as actual fish swimming by. This is enabled by the use of a special type of transducer that is mounted on the bottom of the back side of the vessel that scans the water as the boat moves. This is a revolutionary technology that is used by many fisherman, the coastguard, and marine enthusiasts.

With the use of Down Scanning, you are looking at a school of bait fish on the top left side of the screen and a school bus on the right side of the screen. Long way from dropping a rope down.

http://www.lowrance.com/Products/Marine/HDS-High-Definition-System/

Cody Levy

53920

Beluga Sturgeon
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The Beluga Sturgeon is a large fish that can live for up to 100 years, weigh 2,000 pounds and grow to the length of a pickup truck. Caviar from these fish are one of the most expensive foods in the world. These fish have been in danger for some time. Countries dumped pollutants into the seas and the population dropped by 90%. Then in the late 90s a "killer" type of jellyfish entered the Caspian Sea where the Beluga Sturgeon is found. These jellyfish  bred and produced so many new jellyfish which ate the majority of the plankton. The fish that the Sturgeon relied on for survival had less plankton to eat because of the new jellyfish and many of them died, causing the Sturgeon population to drop even more. I found the information on this animal interesting because it really shows how if one part of the food chain is affected it affects a large amount of animals with it.


Unit #27340

Human Threat to Coral Reefs
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According to this NY Times article:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/weekinreview/05reefs.html?ref=oceans the air is not the only thing affected by global warming. Increased heating of corals cause them to expel the algae that gives them their color, turning them pale and white, and usually killing them. In addition, increased CO2 emissions increase the acidity of the ocean, another threat to coral growth. Overfishing is also a threat to corals. Some scientists say that up to 19% of the world's corals have already been lost. This is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, corals are habitats for a number of marine species, the decrease of which would make a large impact on the food web. Secondly, corals provide food for some humans as well. In addition, corals protect shorelines from coastal storms, and also attract tourists who provide coastal towns with millions of dollars. I have been snorkeling in Hawaii, and have seen some of the beauty corals have to offer. I would hate for that experience to be lost to future generations because of carelessness on our part. We should pay more attention to the impact of our habits on the environment.
 
Ashleigh Bearden - Section #53960

How Corals Are Being Saved
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111110130100.htm
   
I had heard that life of coral reefs were declining, but when I read this article I saw that some recovered. I was curious to how this was happening and what was protecting the corals. The article mentioned that surgeonfish and parrotfish that eat algae was the answer. They found this because researchers observed that corals in Moorea were recovering and receiving live coral back again that was once lost, but corals in the Caribbean don't retrieve that live coral once it is lost. These researchers were curious to why this was happening, and as I continued to read, I was curious too. They said they found that once the live coral first left in Moorea, fish and other things that eat algae increased intensely. The parrotfish and surgeonfish mentioned before are also benefitting from eating this algae. These fish are called "lawnmowers" because they get rid of the algae in order for the corals to receive their live coral they lost. They saw that the reason that corals in the Caribbean, for example, were declining was because they did not have an abundance of these parrotfish and surgeonfish. I thought this was a very interesting situation in which the corals benefit from these fish feeding on the algae covering them, while the fish are also benefitting. It's awesome to see how these occurrences happen so naturally, and that my question of how these corals were recovering was answered. 
Gabriella Guajardo
Section #27315

Megalodon
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  The other day, I was watching TV when I came across a program about the prehistoric ocean. There were a lot of interesting (now-extinct) marine animals shown, such as Megalodon, or Charcharodon megalodon. I found this interesting because I cannot even begin to imagine how much more terrifying the film Jaws would have been if Megalodon was not extinct. Case in point, megalodon is believed to reach lengths of up to sixty feet! To put that into perspective, here is a scale with (the maximum size) megalodon shown in grey, today's great white shark shown in green, and the tiny human in blue. 
  Okay, so that second picture isn't real, but you get what I'm trying to say. This shark was huge! The reason we know this is because very large megalodon teeth have been found, in excess of 7 inches long! Megalodon used these large teeth to eat giant prehistoric whales. Some speculate that the global decrease in whale population may have forced the sharks to eat other megalodons, and they might have cannibalized themselves to extinction. Either way, I think nature weeds out species for a reason, and perhaps it was to keep boaters away from these mega-sharks! I for one, do not miss them one bit!
If you want to learn more about megalodon, you can check out this page:http://dinosaurs.about.com/od/otherprehistoriclife/a/megalodon-facts.htm, or the animal's wikipedia page.
Ashleigh Bearden - Section #53960

Payment for Plastic
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It was recently announced that the EU is setting plans that would pay local fisheries for rounding up harmful plastics littering and disrupting marine habitats.  A trial is being set up in the Mediterrean, in hopes that payment for plastic will relieve some of the losses involved by one of their recently passed fishing laws.  Essentially, the EU is hitting two birds with one stone: their recently passed law regulates the quality of edible fish released into the ocean, while their plan to ease the burden of fisheries will help eliminate plastic debris.  Some believe this plan could really hit it off, eventually becoming its own market as it's benefits are seemingly exponential.  By sustaining fisheries, plastic will eventually be so scarce, their impact would be sufficiently eased on marine habitats; thus creating healthier and strong fish.  Healthier and stronger fish directly equates to a higher profit in the fishing industry.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/04/eu-fishermen-catch-plastic
 

New Species found on Dead Whale Skeletons
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921091601.htm
   
I was looking at new information on science daily and came across many articles about whales. One talked about the idea of when they die and fall to the bottom of the sea floor, their remains serve as food for many other organisms. They even provide essential nutrients for other species. I was curious to what species exactly fed on the remains of these dead whales. As I was searching for the answer, I found an article that discussed new species known to us found on these dead "whale cadavers." I was shocked that such a thing would bring about new information on new species. Not only something like two or three new species were found, but NINE new ones! Some of these were known as "cryptic bristleworm species." Basically, these findings are so important because they lead us to new information about the whereabouts of certain species, the discovery of these new species, and overall broaden our knowledge of what's happening in the ocean. 
Gabriella Guajardo
Section #27315

Fighting Shrimp
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While it is well know that larger animals must often times compete with eachother for food and power in a group, it turns out that this is also true of smaller organisms as well. Cleaner shrimp, which generally live in monogomous pairs will often viciously kill one another if their group becomes any larger than two. For more information see http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011112925.htm

Bubble rafting snail
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Everytime I would see an episode of Spongebob and saw Gary the snail, I always wondered, "are there really even snails in the sea?" Recently, while looking at Science Daily, I found out that there are really such things as underwater snails, and some of them are actually quite interesting. For example there is one type of snail, the bubble rafting snail that floats upside down with modified egg masses. Recent studies have been conducted to find out more about this special snail and it's origins. For more information read http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011112925.htm 

 

Blue Whale Song
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I was browsing through my article aggregator and I came across this interesting article about the pitch change in the songs of blue whales. While scientists do not have a firm reason for this change, there are a few theories. One theory is that the pollution in the ocean affects that way that sound travels through that water, but the scientists say that the change in pitch is too great to be accounted for the the small shifts that the pollution would cause. Another more disturbing cause could be a consequence of the recent hunting that almost caused blue whales to become extinct. Lower pitches travel farther in the water, so the whale may be trying to communicate with more scattered populations than before the mass predation by humans. While the answer to this problem may still be far away, it is interesting to watch science learn and grow by observation of natural systems and our possible effect on those systems.
 
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/blue-whale-song-mystery/

Interesting TED video: Plastic in the Sea
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Captain Charles Moore on the seas of plastic
Duration: (7:21)
User: TEDtalksDirector - Added: 2/25/09

 

I love watching videos from the website, http://www.ted.com. They always have interesting scientists who speak about problems or cool technology in the world. While browsing through some of the videos, I found one with Captain Charles Moore sharing the epidemic of plastic in the ocean. As we covered in class, our oceans are being polluted with mass debris, including plastic. Because plastic is very hard to decompose, more and more bottles are being circulated around the world. In this video, Moore shares places where pollution is evident. This is a quick 8 minute video that everyone should watch. It's definitely an eye opener to where are litter is heading.
Brianna Walker
Section number: 53970


Box Jellyfish
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It is hard to believe that a certain species of jellyfish can be much different from all of the other species.  However, the article "Watch Where You're Going" from Science and the Sea describes how the box jellyfish is unique compared to all of the other species of jellies.  The box jellyfish actually has complete control over which direction it is going and can even make sharp turns and avoid harmful objects in its path. This agility is enabled by six eyes on the jellyfish, two of them being more complex than the others. These complex eyes are similar to the advanced eyes of other fish in the sea. Box jellyfish hunt close to shore, providing more objects to avoid than other jellyfish species have to deal with. An interesting fact that scientists have noticed is that the eyes are actually underfocused.  This is probably to allow it to focus on the large objects it needs to avoid while not focusing on the smaller floating objects that do not affect them.

 

Clara Bailey

27340

Friday - 10:00 am

Chinook Salmon in Grants Pass, Oregon
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In Grants Pass, Oregon, conservation groups are seeking Endangered Species Act protection for chinook salmon in the Klamath River that runs from Southern Oregon to Northern California. The petition, which was filed earlier this year, is in response to the decreasing number of salmon within the river. The numbers are down to between 300 and 3,000 that survive to spawn each year. Although the Fall Chinook numbers are better, the numbers are still down compared to how they used to be. The spring Chinook were once the most prized and numerous of the salmon returning to the Klamath, and the members of Grants Pass would like to help restore them to their former greatness. As I learned in Lab 10, Chinook salmon use a form of camouflage known as counter shading to protect themselves from predators. Counter shading is accomplished by shading of the fish from a dark dorsum (upper surface) to a lighter ventral (lower surface). Let's hope that the conservation groups in Grants Pass can get this species it's necessary Endangered Species Act protection. 

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/29/klamath-chinook-salmon-gr_n_815301.html

Michael Tyler section#27380 

Sargassum Fish
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The article "Hiding in Plain Sight" from Science and the Sea is about the sargassum fish that gets its name from the habitat it lives in.  These little fish almost entirely disappear in the sargassum we find washed up on shore.  These creatures spend most of their live tangled up in this habitat.  They blend in both with their creamy dark color as well as their weedy appearance.  Their dark bars and fringed edges also resemble the sargassum plant. The sargassum fish have even adapted their movement to survive in this habitat.  Along with swimming, the fish can use their pectoral fins to maneuver through the seaweed, similar to how we use our arms. This camoflage is also used to sneak up and attack its prey, as well as to protect it from danger.  Very handy!

 

Clara Bailey

27340

Friday - 10:00 am

Amazon River Dolphins
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While researching on marine life I came across this article over the Amazon River Dolphins. What drew my attention to them was the picture in the article which featured a kind of dolphin that I had never seen before. According to the website what makes these dolphins different is their color and that they have no fin. What I really liked about these dolphins is that they are sometimes pink!
 
Paola Reyes
Section #53925

Cold-Water Coral Reef
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I have always thought of coral as one of the most beautiful parts of the sea, and I enjoyed reading "A Cold World" from Science and the Sea.  This article is about the less well known cold-water coral reefs.  One of the largest of these can be found near northern Norway.  This beautiful reef does not get the sunlight most coral needs to survive so it relies on symbiotic algae instead. This algae uses photosynthesis to provide nutrients for the corals. These cold-water coral reefs have to survive by catching tiny organisms and organic matter from the water.  This is why they have branching, treelike forms.  Scientific advances have made it possible for scientists to learn more about these cold-water dwellers.  I hope that this increase in information can be used to make a strong case to protect these pretty reefs from damaging trawlers.

 

Clara Bailey

27340

Friday - 10:00 am

Blue Sharks
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I think that sharks are some of the coolest creatures in the sea.  I found a particular article about blue sharks titled "A Well-Traveled Shark" from Science and the Sea interesting.  The article writes about how these blue sharks make journeys across the sea covering thousands of miles. It is usually female blue sharks making these major journeys in order to deliver their pups in the nursery grounds off the European and African coasts after mating in the western Atlantic.  Another interesting fact about sharks that we learned about in lab is how they stay hidden in the ocean.  Their bodies have countershading so that fish looking up at them or down at them have a hard time seeing them.  They are light on the bottom to blend in with the sunlight from the surface and dark on the top to blend in with the darkness of the deeper ocean.  This shading is shown in the picture.  Although I would never want to witness this in person, it is pretty cool to learn about.

 

Clara Bailey

27340

Friday - 10:00 am

Polar Bear's Tipping Point
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Due to the melting of the ice in the Arctic, the polar bear population is predicted to decline gradually and then fall off completely at a "tipping point" instead of declining steadily. This is because the polar bear's survival is directly related to the Arctic ice. For example, a study was done in the Hudson Bay area where biologists found that polar bears were healthier during longer ice periods and skinnier when the ice was broken up earlier. A recent study done in 2010 made models trying to predict the trends of polar bears in different sea ice variations. These models predicted the mating behaviors and fasting habits in the summer based on the melting of the ice. Male polar bears mate by sniffing the female's tracks in the ice. There will be a decline in mating as ice continues to melt. Also, during the summer time, polar bears rely on their fats in order to fast and survive the warm climate. Biologists are worried that polar bears will not have enough fats and protein to support them during the winter as a result of the longer no-ice periods. The models found a significant increase in polar bears that would die from starvation during the summer from 3-6 percent over a period of 120 days up to 28-48 percent over a period of 180 days. This is the tipping point where the polar bears will eventually die off more rapidly than predicted. This is very sad news to me because polar bears are so reliant on the ice. I would hate to see polar bears become an endangered species and to die off because of the climate change. This truly shows how the change in climate effects every aspect of life. The impact of melting glaciers is significant and hopefully the models will help these biologists come up with a solution to help the polar bears survive this change.
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2zdD8E/news.discovery.com/earth/make-the-southern-ocean-the-soundtrack-to-your-work-day.html

Ming-Ming Chen
#27340

Hermaphroditic cleaner shrimp kill each other for resources
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The species Lysmata amboinensis, the hermaphroditic cleaner shrimp, are known to usually live in single pairs.  However, according to new research in the journal Frontiers in Zoology, groups of cleaner shrimp larger than two kill each other until only a single pair remains.  Researchers placed cleaner shrimp in groups of four, three, and two of equal size with endless amounts of food.  They also placed them in aquariums with the same volume of water that included perches.  This setting was used to minimize competition for resources among the shrimp.  
 After 42 days, researchers discovered that all groups of shrimp larger than two had one or more shrimp killed.  Moreover, they also discovered that the shrimp were attacked at night during the process of molting, when they would be more vulnerable to attack. Scientists concluded that the reason for the attacks was competition for food as well as to increase the possibility to produce offspring.  This conclusion was confirmed by the knowledge that more shrimp equals less food and that the larger two groups of shrimp had their molting delayed.  Once groups decreased to two shrimp, molting increased, which would allow the hermaphroditic shrimp to lay eggs.
 
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111111095520.htm
Zachary Roche
27340

The Basking Shark
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While surfing the web, I stumbled upon an article about the Basking Shark. The appearance of the shark makes one think it would be a harmful predator similar to the great white. It is one of the largest sharks of the ocean (only the mighty whale shark is larger than it) and has a huge jaw/mouth opening. However, despite its intimidating look and large body, the basking shark is actually a filter feeder that feeds on plankton. This was very interesting to me because this huge shark seems like a threatening and dangerous shark, when really it "basks" and travels leisurely throughout the ocean feeding on tons of plankton. One basking shark that weighs eight tons can filter up to a thousand tons of sea water for plankton. It is crazy to think that tiny species such as plankton support a such a massive body such as the basking shark's.
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2yERYg/www.bbc.co.uk/science/earth/surface_and_interior/mid_ocean_ridge


Ming-Ming Chen
#27340

Camouflage
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Scientists have discovered a species of octopus and squid that share the ability to change from a transparent state to an opaque red color. This type of camouflage helps them become more invisible to potential predators. Because their bodies are transparent, their eyes and guts could not but evolution allowed these body parts to become reflective. Having reflected body parts doesn't help, so they change from being transparent to an opaque red color which effectively makes them invisible. 
 
Thao Vu
Section: 53950

A Fish Schooled Me!
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Have you ever watched the discovery channel and tried to pinpoint the leader in a school of fish? I have many times. They all moved so quicky and sharply that I figured they must have a leader and that they follow. Kinda like a flock of birds. A swarm of 20 plus birds, all tend to move a once and I'm constantly trying to figure out, which one of them chirped,"Move! Turn! Land!" The other day in lab we learned of the Fish's Lateral Line. This Lateralis system, allows them to detect movement (hence why school fish don't bump into each other), feel the speed of the water, as well as potential barriers (plants or rocks). Now I know, that the real leader is the Lateralis system that aides them in navigating the seas.

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=6

Communicating with color
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As an artist I find it interesting that Cephalopods have the ability to change their skin color depending on their emotions. Over the years we have attached specific emotions to specific colors. Red is anger, love and sometimes cheer. Green is ill or envious. Blue is sad and so on and so forth. I think it would be an interesting topic to bring up in an art discussion how animals use color to communicate warnings, warn off predators, and  signal fertility and how color usage in art can send the same signals. Cephalopods change their color by contracting and releasing muscles that expose a sac of pigment. In art, the only way to see colors at once is to 1) layer paints and sand through the layers, 2) know how the color was created and visually dissect the pigment, 3) Simply place two or more colors next to each other. I am amazed that animals have a natural/instinctive ability to change their color by contracting their muscles.

http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=73&Itemid=6
GEO 307(23710) TA : Susan Linn

Sharks and their Pores
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I love Mythbusters.Yes, I know sometimes they cheat, but I still love the show. In one episode, they wanted to analyze and possibly disprove the myth that Sharks are repelled by magnets. As ridiculous as it sounds, a Shark's kryptonite is indeed Magnets. Around a Shark's snout, nose area, there a hundreds of tiny pores. These pores are openings of jelly-filled sacs known as ampullae of Lorenzini, and they give the shark the ability to sense electricity. A shark uses this ability to sense animals such as Flounder that are hidden on the ocean floor. Animals under water produce small electrical currents when they release and contract their muscles (i.e. heartbeat). Very interesting. When a sufficient magnet (not one from your refrigerator) is put into the water near a shark or other fish, the salt water and charged metal creates a weak electrical field that disrupts the shark. Even if a shark is immobile and in a state of tonic immobility, a magnet can jolt him into action.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/zoology/marine-life/shark-magnet.htm
http://www.scienceandthesea.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=71&Itemid=6

GEO 307 (27310) TA: Susan Linn

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dragon Fish
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While googling for something interesting about the deep ocean, I learned about the monstrous dragon fish. Like many of the deep sea fish, they have a light-producing photophore connected to their barbel. This light attracts the dragon fish's prey, in which it is then able to devour it with its extremely sharp fangs. They also have photophores on the sides of their bodies, which can be used to attract mates. These creepy creatures are only 6 inches in length, yet they look and seem terrifying. I think it's cool these fish that practically live in the pitch dark have a device built into them that attracts prey and mates. It is also crazy to think that we know about these creatures that live thousands of feet below. i can only imagine what crazy and sick-looking creature lives beyond that.

http://www.oddee.com/item_79915.aspx
 

Ming-Ming Chen
#27340

Rare "Cyclops" Shark Found
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http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/10/pictures/111013-shark-albino-one-eyed-fetus/?source=hp_dl2_news_cyclops20111015#/one-eyed-cyclops-shark-pup-other-sharks_41776_600x450.jpg

 
 interesting article, found at national geographic. 
after studying fishes in my lab, it provoked me to do some research on sharks, and this turns out to be quite a unique specimen. this mutation of a shark has never been caught alive. proves the ocean still has tons of mysteries. 

-Curtis Lund (53930)

Marine life has to adapt
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In Wales, the gradual warming of climate is effecting the marine life. Marine biologists observing the waters around Wales are finding that organisms in the ocean have to adapt quicker to climate change than on land. It was originally thought that adaption would be more gradual because it takes longer for the ocean to heat. This is significant because the effects of the faster pace adaption in the oceans will ultimately effect life on land. With the increase in heat in our climate, our world in the ocean and on land will go through great changes.

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/11/09/sea-species-get-a-move-on-as-climate-change-encroaches-91466-29743597/

Ming-Ming Chen
#27340

Crystal River
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While on stumbleupon.com, I came across a picture of a river that was vibrant shades of red, blue, green, and yellow. Intrigued by this colorful river, I decided to do a little research about it to see what caused this phenomenon. The river is called Crystal River and it is located on the tiny, remote island of Cãno Cristales near the town of La Macarena. I found out the the colors are a product of algal blooms that occur during a short period of time each year. During most of the year, the Crystal River look like any other ordinary river with a thin layer of green moss beneath crystal clear water, which is where it got its name from. However, between the areas wet and dry season, for a few short weeks between September to November the water level is just right for a species of algae called Macarenia clavigera to produce fabulous bright red blooms. The reason that this algae cannot be seen any other time of year is because during the wet season the water flows too deep and fast, stirring up the sediments on the bottom the river and blocking the sun from reaching the algae. During the dry season, there is not enough water to support the Macarenia clavigera. The bright red algae is surrounded by bright green and yellow sand unique to the region and the bright blue color of the water. The Crystal river is known as the "river of five colors" or the "rainbow river". Tourists are only allowed to visit the area during the times of the blooms because it is otherwise a government protected area due to fears of offsetting the natural balance. I would personally love to visit this place one day and witness one of natures natural beauties. 
 
http://atlasobscura.com/place/cano-cristales
Allison Bohanan #27325 

Leafy and Weddy Sea Dragons
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What? thought sea dragons were just a myth? Not at all. They are quite real! 
Sea dragons are some of the most ornately camouflaged creatures on the planet. Adorned with gossamer, leaf-shaped appendages over their entire bodies, they are perfectly outfitted to blend in with the seaweed and kelp formations they live amongst.
Native to the waters off south and east Australia, leafy and weedy sea dragons are closely related to seahorses and pipefish. Leafies are generally brown to yellow in body color with spectacular olive-tinted appendages. Weedies have less flamboyant projections and are usually reddish in color with yellow spots.
Sea dragons have very long, thin snouts; slender trunks covered in bony rings; and thin tails which, unlike their seahorse cousins, cannot be used for gripping. They have small, transparent dorsal and pectoral fins that propel and steer them awkwardly through the water, but they seem quite content to tumble and drift in the current like seaweed. Leafies grow to a length of about 14 inches (35 centimeters), while the slightly larger weedies can grow up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) long.
As with sea horses, sea dragon males are responsible for childbearing. But instead of a pouch, like sea horses have, male sea dragons have a spongy brood patch on the underside of the tail where females deposit their bright-pink eggs during mating. The eggs are fertilized during the transfer from the female to the male. The males incubate the eggs and carry them to term, releasing miniature sea dragons into the water after about four to six weeks. Once born, the youngsters are totally independent and take two years to reach full maturity Fully grow sea dragons eat plankton, shrimp, and small fish. 
Both sea dragons are considered to be endangered species because disappearing habitats, and are now protected by the Federal Government of Australia. Particularly around Tasmania the giant kelp beds have almost completely disappeared due to rising ocean temperatures, and being inundated by sea urchins which eat the new kelp sprouts. 
     
Sofia Uchoa 
#53910