Corals Carefully Organize Proteins to Form Rock-Hard Skeletons

Charles Darwin, the British naturalist who championed the theory of evolution, noted that corals form far-reaching structures, largely made of limestone, that surround tropical islands. He didn’t know how they performed this feat. Now, Rutgers scientists have shown that coral structures consist of a biomineral containing a highly organized organic mix of proteins that resembles what is in our bones. Their study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, shows for the first time that several proteins are organized spatially – a process that’s critical to forming a rock-hard coral skeleton.

Overfishing of Atlantic Cod Likely Did Not Cause Genetic Changes

Overfishing likely did not cause the Atlantic cod, an iconic species, to evolve genetically and mature earlier, according to a study led by Rutgers University and the University of Oslo – the first of its kind – with major implications for ocean conservation.

Controlling Sloshing Motions in Sea-Based Fish Farming Cages Improves Fish Welfare

Sea-based fish farming systems using net pens are hard on the environment and fish. A closed cage can improve fish welfare, but seawater must be continuously circulated through the cage. However, waves can cause the water to slosh inside the cage, creating violent motions and endangering the cage and fish. A study using a scale-model containment system is reported in Physics of Fluids and shows why violent sloshing motions arise and how to minimize them.

Fishes Contribute Roughly 1.65 Billion Tons of Carbon in Feces and Other Matter Annually

Scientists have little understanding of the role fishes play in the global carbon cycle linked to climate change, but a Rutgers-led study found that carbon in feces, respiration and other excretions from fishes – roughly 1.65 billion tons annually – make up about 16 percent of the total carbon that sinks below the ocean’s upper layers.

Nuclear War Could Trigger Big El Niño and Decrease Seafood

A nuclear war could trigger an unprecedented El Niño-like warming episode in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, slashing algal populations by 40 percent and likely lowering the fish catch, according to a Rutgers-led study. The research, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, shows that turning to the oceans for food if land-based farming fails after a nuclear war is unlikely to be a successful strategy – at least in the equatorial Pacific.

How to Identify Heat-Stressed Corals

Researchers have found a novel way to identify heat-stressed corals, which could help scientists pinpoint the coral species that need protection from warming ocean waters linked to climate change, according to a Rutgers-led study.

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.

Planning Ahead Protects Fish and Fisheries

Conservation of fish and other marine life migrating from warming ocean waters will be more effective and also protect commercial fisheries if plans are made now to cope with climate change, according to a Rutgers-led study in the journal Science Advances.

U.S. Seafood Industry Flounders Due to COVID-19

The pandemic is putting a hurt on the seafood industry, finds the largest study of COVID on U.S. fisheries, which suggests that American fishmongers may flounder – or go belly up – without more government aid.

-Monthly fresh seafood exports declined up to 43%
-Monthly imports fell up to 37%
-Catches dropped 40% some months.

Over the first six months of 2020:
-Total U.S. seafood exports are down 20%
-Imports are down 6%
-Further losses are likely as restrictions increase to address COVID-19.

Boo! How Do Mexican Cavefish Escape Predators?

When startled, do all fish respond the same way? A few fish, like Mexican cavefish, have evolved in unique environments without any predators. To see how this lack of predation impacts escape responses that are highly stereotyped across fish species, scientists explored this tiny fish to determine if there are evolved differences in them. Findings reveal that the dramatic ecological differences between cave and river environments contribute to differences in escape behavior in blind cavefish and river-dwelling surface cavefish.

Fish, Seaweed Inspire Slippery Surfaces for Ships

Fish and seaweed secrete a layer of mucus to create a slippery surface, reducing their friction as they travel through water. A potential way to mimic this is by creating lubricant-infused surfaces covered with cavities. As the cavities are continuously filled with the lubricant, a layer is formed over the surface. In the journal Physics of Fluids, researchers in South Korea conducted simulations of this process to help explain the effects.

Rutgers-Led Project Will Buy 76,000 Oysters From Farmers Struggling During COVID-19 Pandemic

New Brunswick, N.J. (Sept. 10, 2020) – A Rutgers-led project will buy 76,000 oysters from New Jersey oyster farmers who are struggling to sell the shellfish following the shutdown of restaurants and indoor dining as a result of the COVID-19…

Land Development in New Jersey Continues to Slow

Land development in New Jersey has slowed dramatically since the 2008 Great Recession, but it’s unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to fight societal and housing inequality will affect future trends, according to a Rutgers co-authored report. Between 2012 and 2015, 10,392 acres in the Garden State became urban land. That’s 3,464 acres a year – far lower than the 16,852 acres per year in the late 1990s and continuing the trend of decreasing urban development that began in the 2008 Great Recession.

New Device Can Measure Toxic Lead Within Minutes

Rutgers researchers have created a miniature device for measuring trace levels of toxic lead in sediments at the bottom of harbors, rivers and other waterways within minutes – far faster than currently available laboratory-based tests, which take days. The affordable lab-on-a-chip device could also allow municipalities, water companies, universities, K-12 schools, daycares and homeowners to easily and swiftly test their water supplies. The research is published in the IEEE Sensors Journal.

Seafood Products Made From Cells Should be Labeled Cell-Based

Companies seeking to commercialize seafood products made from the cells of fish or shellfish should use the term “cell-based” on product labels, according to a Rutgers study – the first of its kind – in the Journal of Food Science. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture require food products to have a “common or usual name” on their labels so consumers can make informed choices about what they’re purchasing.

Mangrove Trees Won’t Survive Sea-Level Rise by 2050 if Emissions Aren’t Cut

Mangrove trees – valuable coastal ecosystems found in Florida and other warm climates – won’t survive sea-level rise by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions aren’t reduced, according to a Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Science. Mangrove forests store large amounts of carbon, help protect coastlines and provide habitat for fish and other species. Using sediment data from the last 10,000 years, an international team led by Macquarie University in Australia estimated the chances of mangrove survival based on rates of sea-level rise.

How Old are Whale Sharks? Nuclear Bomb Legacy Reveals Their Age

Nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s have helped scientists accurately estimate the age of whale sharks, the biggest fish in the seas, according to a Rutgers-led study. It’s the first time the age of this majestic species has been verified. One whale shark was an estimated 50 years old when it died, making it the oldest known of its kind. Another shark was an estimated 35 years old.

Global Cooling After Nuclear War Would Harm Ocean Life

A nuclear war that cooled Earth could worsen the impact of ocean acidification on corals, clams, oysters and other marine life with shells or skeletons, according to the first study of its kind.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Global Fisheries Management Study

New Brunswick, N.J. (Jan. 13, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Olaf P. Jensen is available for interviews on new marine fisheries management research to be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study is the most comprehensive…

Fish Scattering Sound Waves Has Impact on Aquaculture

Fisheries acoustics have been studied for over 40 years to assess biomass and optimize aquaculture applications, and researchers in France have examined the phenomenon of how fish scatter acoustic waves in a dense school of fish contained in an open-sea cage. They developed an approach to help overcome issues encountered in aquaculture relating to the evaluation of the total biomass of dense schools of fish. They will discuss their work at the 178th ASA Meeting.

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss Proposed High Seas Biodiversity Treaty

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 16, 2019) – Rutgers University environmental law expert Cymie R. Payne is available to comment on a proposed international treaty aimed at conserving high seas biodiversity. The treaty, which is under negotiations at the United Nations,…

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…