The history of insects living on the open ocean tracked with the history of the currents they ride

The open oceans are harsh and hostile environments where insects might not be expected to thrive. In fact, only one insect group, ocean skaters, or water striders, has adapted to life on the open seas.

How these insects evolved to conquer the high seas, however, was not known.

Now, a study of the genetics of skaters by scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego provides a clue. The answer has to do with when major currents in the eastern Pacific Ocean came into existence with each species of skater evolving to match the unique conditions of those currents.

Male dragonflies lose their ‘bling’ in hotter climates

A study led by Michael Moore at Washington University in St. Louis finds that dragonfly males have consistently evolved less breeding coloration in regions with hotter climates. The work reveals that mating-related traits can be just as important to how organisms adapt to their climates as survival-related traits.

Study Confirms Origin of Vervet Monkeys Living Near an Urban Airport for Decades

Scientists have confirmed the species and origin of a colony of wild African vervet monkeys that landed in Dania Beach more than 70 years ago. They escaped from the Dania Chimpanzee Farm in 1948 and settled in a thick mangrove forest near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in South Florida. The facility acted as a zoo and also provided primates imported from Africa as research subjects in the development of the polio vaccine and other medical research.

Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss Addressing Climate Change, Environmental Protection in 2021

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 12, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Pamela McElwee are available for interviews on how President-elect Joe Biden and his incoming administration could strengthen efforts to address climate change and protect the environment. Kopp, a professor in…

Big Differences in How Coral Reef Fish Larvae are Dispersed

How the larvae of colorful clownfish that live among coral reefs in the Philippines are dispersed varies widely, depending on the year and seasons – a Rutgers-led finding that could help scientists improve conservation of species. Right after most coral reef fish hatch, they join a swirling sea of plankton as tiny, transparent larvae. Then currents, winds and waves disperse them, frequently to different reefs.

COVID-19 Pandemic had Big Impact on Commercial Fishing in Northeast

With restaurants and supply chains disrupted due to the global coronavirus pandemic, two-fifths of commercial fishermen surveyed from Maine through North Carolina did not go fishing earlier this year, according to a Rutgers study that also documented their resilience and adaptation. Of those who kept fishing, nearly all reported a decline in income compared with previous years, according to the survey of 258 fishers in the Northeast published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Vietnam’s Vulnerability to Floods

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 23, 2020) – Rutgers Professor Pamela McElwee, an expert on Vietnam environmental issues, is available for interviews on the devastating flooding in that country this month and the flood threat posed by Typhoon Saudel. McElwee, who has done research…

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss 10 Ways to Adapt to Coastal Flooding

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 14, 2020) – Rutgers coastal expert Vanessa Dornisch is available for interviews on 10 steps residents can take to prepare for sea-level rise and adapt to increased coastal flooding. Dornisch, coastal training program coordinator at the…

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss Global Climate Change Mortality Study

New Brunswick, N.J. (Aug. 3, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Robert E. Kopp is available to discuss a major study released today on the global consequences of climate change on death rates. The study by the Climate Impact Lab,…

UW researchers to study resilience, well-being among King County residents during pandemic

University of Washington researchers have launched the King County COVID-19 Community Study — or KC3S — to gather data through April 19 on how individuals and communities throughout King County are coping with the measures put in place to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Sea-Level Research Must Change So Communities Can Better Plan for the Future

New Brunswick, N.J. (Dec. 4, 2019) – With sea-level rise threatening hundreds of millions of people, researchers must do a better job engaging communities and other stakeholders so they can make the best-informed decisions on how to adapt in the…

Red Algae Thrive Despite Ancestor’s Massive Loss of Genes

You’d think that losing 25 percent of your genes would be a big problem for survival. But not for red algae, including the seaweed used to wrap sushi. An ancestor of red algae lost about a quarter of its genes roughly one billion years ago, but the algae still became dominant in near-shore coastal areas around the world, according to Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Debashish Bhattacharya, who co-authored a study in the journal Nature Communications.

Brave new world: Simple changes in intensity of weather events “could be lethal”

Hurricane Dorian is the latest example of a frightening trend. Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, more severe and more widespread as a consequence of climate change. New research from Washington University in St. Louis provides important new insights into how different species may fare under this new normal. Faced with unprecedented change, animals and plants are scrambling to catch up — with mixed results.

Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss U.N. Report on Climate Change, Oceans

New Brunswick, N.J. (Sept. 25, 2019) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Malin Pinsky and Rutgers coastal expert Lisa Auermuller are available to comment on a new United Nations report on climate change and ocean, coastal, polar and mountain ecosystems. More than…