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Marine animal news

Marine animal news
Extensive site includes news of various topics like Marine animals,Marine biology, sharks,Whales,sea mammals,endangered species, birds, turtles, penguine, seal,planktons,Fish,coral reef,coastal environment and more
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Oceans Absorbing Less CO2 May Have 1,500 Year Impact
2008-05-07 09:39:00
Global oceans are soaking up less carbon dioxide, a developmentthat could speed up the greenhouse effect and have an impact for thenext 1,500 years, scientists said on Wednesday. Research from a five-year project funded by the European Union showedthe North Atlantic, which along with the Antarctic is of the world's twovital ocean carbon sinks, is absorbing only half the amount of CO2 thatit did in the mid-1990s. Using recent detailed data, scientists said the amount absorbed is alsofluctuating each year, making it hard to predict how and whether thetrend will continue and if oceans will be able to perform their vitalbalancing act in the future. Oceans soak up around a quarter of annual CO2 emissions, but should theyfail to do so in the future the gas would stay in the atmosphere andcould accelerate the greenhouse effect, a prospect project directorChristoph Heinze called "alarming". Oceans are like a "slow-mixing machine". Carbon absorbed in the NorthAtlantic takes around 1,500 yea...
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First Animal on Earth Was Surprisingly Complex
2008-05-07 09:34:00
Earth's first animal was the ocean-drifting comb jelly, not the simple sponge, according to a new find that has shocked scientists who didn't imagine the earliest critter could be so complex.The mystery of the first animal denizen of the planet can only be inferred from fossils and by studying related animals today. To get to the bottom of that, scientists analyzed massive volumes of genetic data to define the earliest splits at the base of the animal tree of life.The tree of life is a hierarchy of evolutionary relationships among species that shows which groups split off on their own evolutionary path first.The new study surprisingly found that the comb jelly was the first animal to diverge from the base of the tree, not the less complex sponge, which had previously been given the honor. "This was a complete shocker," said study team member Casey Dunn of Brown University in Rhode Island. "So shocking that we initially thought something had gone very wrong."Dunn's team checked an...
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Dolphin kills in India
2008-05-07 09:32:00
The Kerala coastline is fast turning into killingfields for dolphins. Several instances of fishermen slaughtering thedolphins and selling the meat have come to light in places likePoonthura near here, Beypore in Kozhikode and Cherai near Kochi.“We have taken up the issue with the authorities but no action hasbeen initiated. The animal is being hunted mainly because anglers areignorant of the law. Dolphin s face an uncertain future in Kerala,”conservation campaigner Prof Kunhikkannan said.“The authorities remain silent spectators while hundreds of dolphinsare being slaughtered and sold. Similar is the plight of the oliveridley turtles which is a delicacy for many here,” he said.On Thursday, a dolphin caught in a net was auctioned despite protestsby animal right activists at Poonthura where dolphin slaughtering is aregular affair.A midsized dolphin weighing around 100kg can fetch as much asRs10,000. Most of the time, the meat makes its way to the city hotels.â...
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Rare seahorses breeding in Thames
2008-05-07 09:29:00
Colonies of rare seahorses are living and breeding in the River Thames, conservationists have revealed. The short-snouted variety are endangered and normally live around the Canary Islands and Italy. Experts at London Zoo said the species had been found at Dagenham in east London and Tilbury and Southend in Essex, over the last 18 months. The revelation coincided with new laws which came into force on Sunday to give the creatures protected status. The seahorses, or Hippocampus hippocampus, are now protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They are usually found in shallow muddy waters, estuaries or seagrass beds and conservationists said their presence in the Thames is another good sign that the water quality of the river was improving. Monitoring work Alison Shaw, from London Zoo, said: "These amazing creatures have been found in the Thames on a number of occasions in the last 18 months during our regular wildlife monitoring work. "It demonstrates that the Thames is be...
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Squid beaks may have medical application
2008-05-07 09:20:00
The razor-sharp beaks that giant squids use to attack whales — and maybe even Captain Nemo's submarine — might one day lead to improved artificial limbs for people. That deadly beak may be a surprise to many people, and has long posed a puzzle for scientists. They wonder how a creature without any bones can operate it without hurting itself.Now, researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara, report in Friday's edition of the journal Science that they have an explanationThe beak, made of hard chitin and other materials, changes density gradually from the hard tip to a softer, more flexible base where it attaches to the muscle around the squid's mouth, the researchers found.That means the tough beak can chomp away at fish for dinner, but the hard material doesn't press or rub directly against the squid's softer tissues.Herbert Waite, a professor in the university's department of molecular, cellular & developmental biology and co-author of the paper, said suc...
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Mantis Shrimp Vision Reveals New Way That Animals Can See
2008-03-28 13:09:00
Mantis shrimp can see the world in a way that had never been observed in any animal before, researchers report in the March 20th Current Biology, a Cell Press publication। The discovery--which marks the fourth type of visual system--suggests that the ability to perceive circular polarized light may lend mantis shrimp a secret mode of communication."Mantis shrimp ventured into a new dimension of vision," said Justin Marshall of the University of Queensland in Australia. Also known as stomatopods, mantis shrimp are large and particularly violent marine crustaceans that aren't actually a kind of shrimp but look something like one.Marshall describes circular polarized light as a spiraling beam that spins either to the left or the right. Scientists had shown before that some animals, such as scarab beetles, reflect that kind of light, but they hadn't shown that any animal could actually see it--until now, that is."It's complicated physics," Marshall said, "but that makes it all the ...
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Layers Of Once Molten Rock Under The Atlantic Ocean Mapped
2008-03-28 13:07:00
For the first time scientists have mapped the layers of once molten rock that lie beneath the edges of the Atlantic Ocean and measure over eight miles thick in some locations। The research, reported in Nature, gives us a better understanding of what may have happened during the break up of continents to form new mid-ocean ridges. The same volcanic activity in the North Atlantic may also have caused the subsequent release of massive volumes of greenhouse gases which led to a spike in global temperatures 55 million years ago.The scientists, led by Professor Robert White, FRS at the University of Cambridge, also developed a new method of seeing through the thick lava flows beneath the seafloor to the sediments and structures beneath. The technique is now being employed to further oil exploration of the area which was previously restricted by the inability to image through the lava flows.When a continent breaks apart, as Greenland and Northwest Europe did 55 million years ago, it is s...
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Ice seals candidates for endangered list
2008-03-28 06:53:00
A federal agency said Wednesday it will consider listing four species of ice seals as endangered, a move hailed by the environmental group that pushed for it as government recognition that Arctic marine life is threatened by global warming. The National Marine Fisheries Service accepted a petition seeking threatened or endangered status for ribbon seals, which have been losing habitat as sea ice recedes. The agency also expanded the status review to include ringed, spotted and bearded seals."While the four species of ice seals in Alaska all utilize various types of sea ice habitats, they use the ice in different ways," said Doug Mecum, acting administrator for the Alaska Region, in the announcement. "Therefore, careful status reviews of each species is warranted."Shaye Wolf, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity and the lead author of the listing petition, said the agency's action came as a surprise, given that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is two and a half mon...
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Fish may respond to sound
2008-03-28 06:52:00
Scientists are testing a plan to train fish to catch themselves by swimming into a net when they hear a tone that signals feeding time. If it works, the system could eventually allow black sea bass to be released into the open ocean, where they would grow to market size, then swim into an underwater cage to be harvested when they hear the signal.What's next, teaching them to coat themselves in batter and hop inside a fryer?"It sounds crazy, but it's real," said Simon Miner, a research assistant at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Wood's Hole, which received a $270,000 grant for the project from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.Miner said the specially trained fish could someday be used to bolster the depleted black sea bass stock. Farmed fish might become better acclimated to the wild if they can be called back for food every few days.The bigger goal is to defray the costs of fish farming, an increasingly important source of the world's seafood. If fish can...
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Giant waves break up Caribbean coral
2008-03-28 06:49:00
Unusually large waves churned by an Atlantic storm system have littered the beaches of Barbados with broken coral in what could be a sign of damage to reefs across the region, a scientist said Sunday. The amount of rubble on the island's west coast suggests the coral took a heavy pounding, said Leo Brewster, director of Barbados' Coastal Zone Management Unit, who was organizing dives later this week to survey the damage."We think it's going to be pretty extensive," Brewster said. "I think we're going to see it across the Caribbean ."The waves, reaching as high as an estimated 30 feet, lashed coastlines from Guyana to the Dominican Republic last week as a large low-pressure system idled off the northeastern United States.At their peak on Thursday morning, a buoy north of the U.S. Virgin Islands recorded swells of 15 feet — the highest since 1991, said Shawn Rossi, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan. Several countries reported flooding in coastal a...
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Giant marine life found in Antarctica
2008-03-28 06:48:00
Scientists who conducted the most comprehensive survey to date of New Zealand's Antarctic waters were surprised by the size of some specimens found, including jellyfish with 12-foot tentacles and 2-foot-wide starfish. A 2,000-mile journey through the Ross Sea that ended Thursday has also potentially turned up several new species, including as many as eight new mollusks.It's "exciting when you come across a new species," said Chris Jones, a fisheries scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "All the fish people go nuts about that — but you have to take it with a grain of salt."The finds must still be reviewed by experts to determine if they are in fact new, said Stu Hanchet, a fisheries scientist at New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.But beyond the discovery of new species, scientists said the survey, the most comprehensive to date in the Ross Sea, turned up other surprises.Hanchet singled out the discovery of "fields...
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Stingray Kills Woman on Boat in Florida
2008-03-28 06:47:00
A 75-pound stingray killed a Michigan woman Thursday when it flew out of the water and struck her face as she rode a boat in the Florida Keys, officials said. Judy Kay Zagorski, of Pigeon, Mich., was sitting in the front seat of a boat going 25 mph when the spotted eagle ray, with a wingspan of 5 to 6 feet, leaped out of the water, said Jorge Pino, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.The 57-year-old woman's father was driving the boat on the Atlantic Ocean side of Vaca Key, Pino said."He had absolutely no warning. It just happened instantaneously," Pino said.The collision knocked Zagorski backward onto the floor of the boat, Pino said.The impact likely killed the woman, and she did not appear to have puncture wounds from the ray's barb, Pino said. An autopsy is planned, Pino said.Zagorski's sister was standing next to her when the stingray appeared but was not injured, Pino said.The stingray died from the impact, officials said.Spotted eagle rays c...
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Thousands of dead starfish found on beach
2008-03-28 06:36:00
Thousands of starfish have been found washed up dead on a beach in Kent. A carpet of the dead creatures covered hundreds of yards of the beach at Pegwell Bay near Sandwich. Tony Flashman, from Kingsdown near Deal, who took a photograph [visible on the website] said: "The dead starfish stretched as far as you could see in both directions."Fishermen and bird watchers were among the 1st to stumble on the bizarre sight, and it was quickly picked up by specialist websites. The Environment Agency is investigating the incident but said it was not connected with the recent storms, pollution or climate change.Spokesman Ian Humphries said it was not uncommon for starfish to be washed up on the shore and it was likely they had entered shallow waters in search of mussels to feed on. "As they get hungry they get more desperate... they take risks and come into shallow water where they're more vulnerable." he said.There was speculation on some of the websites that the starfish, which congregate i...
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Threatened Atlantic Leatherback Turtles Split Into Two Groups To Forage, Is
2008-03-28 06:34:00
The beaches of French Guiana constitute a major reproduction site for leatherback turtles। This sea turtle, although a protected species, is threatened by human activity: it ingests plastics, get accidentally caught in fishing nets, sees its egg-laying sites destroyed and its adults hunted illegally for their meat and their eggs. Female turtles return to the same beach every two to three years to lay their eggs. What happens in the interval remains a mystery. It is sometimes possible to spot them offshore in the North Atlantic . Some even swim to very high latitudes (Canada) in search of their favorite food (principally jellyfish). Argos beacons have recently revealed that some females were swimming in two principal directions: the north as would be expected, but also towards the African coast east of French Guiana.The question is whether these locations represent two distinct feeding areas or simply an extra stopover in their migration to the far north.Several French and Belgian s...
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Delicate Partnership Between Coral And Algae Threatened By Global Warming
2008-03-28 05:43:00
Over two hundred million humans depend for their subsistence on the fact that coral has an addiction to ‘junk food’ - and orders its partners, the symbiotic algae, to make it।This curious arrangement is one of Nature’s most delicate and complex partnerships – a collaboration now facing grave threats from climate change.The symbiosis between coral – a primitive animal – and zooxanthellae, tiny one-celled plants, is not only powerful enough to build the largest living organism on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef, but also underpins the economies and living standards of many tropical nations and societies who harvest their food from the reefs or have developing tourism industries.The issue of whether the partnership is robust enough to withstand the challenges of climate change is driving a worldwide scientific effort to decipher how corals and their symbiotic algae communicate with one another, says Professor David Yellowlees of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral R...
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Iron Gets Into The North Pacific In Unexpected Ways, Will Impact Climate Ch
2008-03-28 05:38:00
Most oceanographers have assumed that, in the areas of the world's oceans known as High Nutrient, Low Chlorophyll (HNLC) regions, the iron needed to fertilize infrequent plankton blooms comes almost entirely from wind-blown dust। Phoebe Lam and James Bishop of the Earth Sciences Division at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have now shown that in the North Pacific , at least, it just ain't so. Lam, a biogeochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a guest at Berkeley Lab, and Bishop, an Earth Sciences oceanographer and professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California at Berkeley, report that the key source of iron in the Western North Pacific is not dust but the volcanic continental margins of the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Kuril Islands.Can iron affect climate change?Understanding the origins, transport mechanisms, and fate of naturally occurring iron in high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll surfac...
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Gulf Stream Leaves Its Signature Seven Miles High
2008-03-28 05:31:00
The Gulf Stream ’s impact on climate is well known, keeping Iceland and Scotland comfortable in winter compared to the deep-freeze of Labrador at the same latitude। That cyclones tend to spawn over the Gulf Stream has also been known for some time. A new study reveals that the Gulf Stream anchors a precipitation band with upward motions and cloud formations that can reach 7 miles high and penetrate the upper troposphere. The discovery, announced by a Japan–US team of scientists, shows that the Gulf Stream has a pathway by which to directly affect weather and climate patterns over the whole Northern Hemisphere, and perhaps even world wide.“Our findings gain even more significance by the fact that the Gulf Stream is the upper limb of the Atlantic portion of the ocean conveyor belt that drives the global ocean circulation,” says co-author Shang-Ping Xie, a research team leader at the International Pacific Research Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology,...
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Rabbit Fish To The Rescue Of The Reef
2008-03-28 05:26:00
While rabbits continue to ravage Australia’s native landscapes, rabbit fish may help save large areas of the Great Barrier Reef from destruction।The reason, say scientists, is the same in both cases – both rabbits and rabbit fish are efficient herbivores, capable of stripping an area of vegetation. However, in the case of the Reef, it is the vegetation that is the problem – and the rabbit fish, the answer.“When a coral reef is weakened or damaged through human activity such as climate change or pollution or by a natural disaster like a cyclone, the coral will usually recover provided it is not choked by fast-growing marine algae,” explains Professor David Bellwood of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.“The problem is that over the years we have fished down the populations of fish that normally feed on the young weed to such a degree that the weed is no longer kept in check, it can now smother the young corals and take over. Th...
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Arctic Pollution's Surprising History: Explorers Saw Particulate Haze In La
2008-03-28 05:24:00
Scientists know that air pollution particles from mid-latitude cities migrate to the Arctic and form an ugly haze, but a new University of Utah study finds surprising evidence that polar explorers saw the same phenomenon as early as 1870।"The reaction from some colleagues -- when we first mentioned that people had seen haze in the late 1800s -- was that it was crazy," says Tim Garrett, assistant professor of meteorology and senior author of the study. "Who would have thought the Arctic could be so polluted back then? Our instinctive reaction is to believe the world was a cleaner place 130 years ago."By searching through historic records written by early Arctic explorers, Garrett and his collaborator Lisa Verzella, former undergraduate student at the University of Utah, were able to find evidence of an aerosol "dry haze" that settled onto the ice to form a layer of grayish dust containing metallic particles. The haze and dust were likely the byproducts of smelting and coal combusti...
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Deadly Genetic Disease Prevented Before Birth In Zebrafish
2008-03-28 05:22:00
By injecting a customized "genetic patch" into early stage fish embryos, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St। Louis were able to correct a genetic mutation so the embryos developed normally.The research could lead to the prevention of up to one-fifth of birth defects in humans caused by genetic mutations, according to the authors.Erik C. Madsen, first author and an M.D./Ph.D. student in the Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University School of Medicine, made the groundbreaking discovery using a zebrafish model of Menkes disease, a rare, inherited disorder of copper metabolism caused by a mutation in the human version of the ATP7A gene. Zebrafish are vertebrates that develop similarly to humans, and their transparency allows researchers to observe embryonic development.Children who have Menkes disease have seizures, extensive neurodegeneration in the gray matter of the brain, abnormal bone development and kinky, colorless hair. Most childre...
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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Mark Robotic First For British Antarctic Survey
2008-03-28 05:20:00
Scientists at British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in collaboration with the Technical University of Braunschweig (TUBS), Germany have completed the first ever series of flights by autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Antarctica। This is the first time that unpiloted UAVs have been used in the Antarctic and the successful flights open up a major new technique for gathering scientific data in the harshest and remotest environment on Earth.Dr Phil Anderson of BAS says, "This is a huge technological achievement for BAS and TUBS. Apart from take-off and landing, when the UAVs are controlled by radio, the aircraft are completely autonomous, flying on their own according to a pre-programmed flight plan. Each flight lasts for 40 minutes, covering around 45 km and taking 100 measurements a second, so waiting for the UAV to return safely after its research mission was very exciting. Seeing the first UAV come back successfully was a real heart-in-the-mouth moment."Following trials during...
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Majestic Lesser Flamingos Survive In Contaminated Indian Waters
2008-03-24 12:25:00
A University of Leicester ecologist is setting out to discover why flamingos are so in the pink of health - in the poo!Dr David Harper, of the Department of Biology at the University of Leicester, has been studying lesser flamingos for nine years.His research has been carried out in the lakes of East Africa but new investigations he has carried out for the first time in India have- by his own admission -- given him 'rather a shock.'He said: "Lesser flamingos are graceful, majestic, birds. They are not the ones you can see at the zoo, because they are very difficult to maintain in captivity, but the ones that you see on television in their hundreds of thousands, crowded into a few specialist lakes in East Africa."I have been studying them, on these lakes in Kenya and Tanzania, but earlier this month I returned from India, having carried out a preliminary investigation of the population there, and I had rather a shock."In Africa the lesser flamingo, with its beautiful pink plumage, ...
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Pollution Visible From East Asia To North America In New Satellite Image
2008-03-24 12:13:00
In a new NASA study, researchers taking advantage of improvements in satellite sensor capabilities offer the first measurement-based estimate of the amount of pollution from East Asia n forest fires, urban exhaust, and industrial production that makes its way to western North America ।China, the world's most populated country, has experienced rapid industrial growth, massive human migrations to urban areas, and considerable expansion in automobile use over the last two decades. As a result, the country has doubled its emissions of man-made pollutants to become the world's largest emitter of tiny particles called pollution aerosols that are transported across the Pacific Ocean by rapid airstreams emanating from East Asia.Hongbin Yu, an associate research scientist of the University of Maryland Baltimore County working at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., grew up in China and taught there as a university professor, where he witnessed first-hand and studied how p...
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MicroRNAs Help Zebrafish Regenerate Fins
2008-03-24 12:11:00
Biologists have discovered a molecular circuit breaker that controls a zebrafish's remarkable ability to regrow missing fins, according to a new study from Duke University Medical Center।Tiny wonders of the aquarium world, zebrafish can regenerate organs and tissues, including hearts, eye parts and fins. When a fin is lost, the fish regenerates a perfect copy in two weeks by orchestrating the growth of many tissue types, including bone, nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue and skin.Scientists hope that understanding how zebrafish repair themselves will lead to new treatments for human conditions caused by damaged tissue, such as heart failure, diabetes and spinal cord injuries.The regeneration regulator is one of a group of recently discovered molecules called microRNAs: small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) that each can potentially control the activity of dozens of different genes. In humans, microRNAs play important roles in cell growth and death, among other functions. T...
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Arctic Sea Ice Still At Risk Despite Cold Winter, NASA Says
2008-03-24 12:09:00
Using the latest satellite observations, NASA researchers and others report that the Arctic is still on "thin ice" when it comes to the condition of sea ice cover in the region। A colder-than-average winter in some regions of the Arctic this year has yielded an increase in the area of new sea ice, while the older sea ice that lasts for several years has continued to decline.On March 18 the scientists said they believe that the increased area of sea ice this winter is due to recent weather conditions, while the decline in perennial ice reflects the longer-term warming climate trend and is a result of increased melting during summer and greater movement of the older ice out of the Arctic.Perennial sea ice is the long-lived, year-round layer of ice that remains even when the surrounding short-lived seasonal sea ice melts away in summer to its minimum extent. It is this perennial sea ice, left over from the summer melt period, that has been rapidly declining from year to year, and tha...
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Breath Of The Ocean Links Fish Feeding, Reefs, Climate
2008-03-11 13:23:00
An ocean odor that affects global climate also gathers reef fish to feed as they "eavesdrop" on events that might lead them to food।Dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) is given off by algae and phytoplankton, microscopic one-celled plants that float in the ocean. Release of DMSP usually indicates either that tiny animals in the plankton are feeding on the algae, or that massive growth of algae -- an algal bloom -- has occurred, said Jennifer DeBose, a UC Davis graduate student and now a researcher with the National Ocean ic and Atmospheric Administration's Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico.Once released from the ocean into the atmosphere, derivatives of DMSP promote cloud formation, so clouds reflect more sunlight back into space and cool the Earth।These sulfur compounds are also known to serve as odor signals to marine organisms and are likely to play an equally important role in marine ecology, said Gabrielle Nevitt, professor of ne...
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Antarctic Fish Species Adopts Winter Survival Strategy Similar To Hibernati
2008-03-10 12:24:00
Scientists have discovered an Antarctic fish species that adopts a winter survival strategy similar to hibernation। Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the University of Birmingham reveal, for the first time, that the Antarctic 'cod' Notothenia coriiceps effectively 'puts itself on ice' to survive the long Antarctic winter.The study showed that the fish activate a seasonal 'switch' in ecological strategy -- going from one that maximises feeding and growth in summer to another that minimises the energetic cost of living during the long, Antarctic winter.The research demonstrates that at least some fish species can enter a dormant state, similar to hibernation that is not temperature driven and presumably provides seasonal energetic benefits. Scientists already know that Antarctic fish have very low metabolic rates and blood 'antifreeze' proteins that allow them to live in near-freezing waters. This study demonstrates that Antarctic fish - which already live i...
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dead dolphins found on Texas shore
2008-03-06 07:56:00
Marine officials are worried that they may be facing another significant dolphin die-off in the Gulf of Mexico after 21 of the marine mammals were found washed up on Texas beaches over two days. The carcasses were discovered a year after about 70 dolphins washed up in the same area over a two week period."We are concerned, especially because (of) what happened last year," said Blair Maise, the marine mammal stranding coordinator for the national marine fisheries service."There may be more."Researchers weren't able to determine a cause for last year's significant die-off because the animals' carcasses were too decomposed when they were discovered.The bottlenosed dolphins found on Monday and Tuesday on the Bolivar peninsula near Galveston, Texas were also badly decomposed, but officials are hopeful they may still be able to determine a cause."We're going to take a more proactive role (this time) in trying to do aerial searches for fresher carcasses so we can get better information...
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Zebrafish Provide Useful Screening Tool For Genes, Drugs That Protect Again
2008-03-06 07:48:00
A small striped fish is helping scientists understand what makes people susceptible to a common form of hearing loss, although, in this case, it's not the fish's ears that are of interest. In a new study researchers at the University of Washington have developed a research method that relies on a zebrafish's lateral line -- the faint line running down each side of a fish that enables it to sense its surroundings -- to quickly screen for genes and chemical compounds that protect against hearing loss from some medications "The fish's lateral line contains sensory cells that are functionally similar to those found in the inner ear, except these are on the surface of the fish's body, making them more easily accessible," said James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., director of the NIDCD.* "This means that scientists can very efficiently analyze the sensory structures under different conditions to find out what is likely to cause damage to these structures and, conversely, what can protec...
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Northern Right Whales Head South to Give Birth
2008-03-05 08:12:00
Like many northerners who head south to warmer climates for the winter, many Northern right whales also head south in November and stay into April. Their destination is the only known calving ground for this rare and endangered population-the waters off Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. When they arrive, NOAA scientists are there to greet them, and to take DNA samples.Although they are large animals, finding them in the ocean is not easy. "Like people, they don't all congregate in one spot," says NOAA researcher Dr. Richard Pace of the challenge. "There may be one here, and three others 50 miles away. And you don't know who will be there this year." Pace, and colleagues from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR) and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), are primarily focused on locating right whale newborns and adults who have not yet been sampled.To find the whales, the researchers depend heavily on aerial spotting teams. Once close enough ...
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