A biological fireworks show 300 million years in the making

Scientists using the Advanced Photon Source have determined that amphibian eggs release showers of zinc upon fertilization, just like mammalian eggs. This research could have implications for human fertility studies.

Drifter or Homebody? Study First to Show Where Whitespotted Eagle Rays Roam

It’s made for long-distance travel, yet movement patterns of the whitespotted eagle ray remain a mystery. Between 2016 and 2018, scientists fitted 54 rays with acoustic transmitters and tracked them along both the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts of Florida, which differ in environmental characteristics. Results of the study reveal striking differences in travel patterns on the Atlantic coast compared to the Gulf coast. Findings have significant conservation and adaptive management implications for this protected species.

Marine organisms use previously undiscovered receptors to detect, respond to light

Single-celled organisms in the open ocean use a diverse array of genetic tools to detect light, even in tiny amounts, and respond. The discovery of these new genetic “light switches” could also aid in the field of optogenetics, in which a cell’s function can be controlled with exposure to light.

Stunning Discovery Reveals Bonefish Dive 450 Feet ‘Deep’ into the Abyss to Spawn

Using active acoustic telemetry and sonar data, a study provides the first detailed documentation of a shallow water fish diving 450 feet deep to spawn. Prior research has shown that bonefish dive about 164 feet to spawn, but this new and unprecedented study reveals that they reached depths of 450 feet, and moved below 325 feet for two hours before spawning in a rush upward to 220 feet deep.

This ‘squidbot’ jets around and takes pics of coral and fish

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have built a squid-like robot that can swim untethered, propelling itself by generating jets of water. The robot carries its own power source inside its body. It can also carry a sensor, such as a camera, for underwater exploration. The researchers detail their work in a recent issue of Bioinspiration and Biomimetics.

Marine animals live where ocean is most ‘breathable,’ but ranges could shrink with climate change

Research shows that many marine animals already inhabit the maximum range of breathable ocean that their physiology allows. The findings are a warning about climate change: Since warmer waters harbor less oxygen, stretches of ocean that are breathable today for a species may not be in the future.

Ocean ‘breathability’ key to past, future habitat of West Coast marine species

Historical observations collected off California since the 1950s suggest that anchovies thrive where the water is breathable — a combination of the oxygen levels in the water and the species’ oxygen needs, which are affected by temperature. Future projections suggest that the waters off Mexico and Southern California could be uninhabitable by 2100.

URI appoints NASA scientist to lead Graduate School of Oceanography

KINGSTON, R.I. – MAY 11, 2020 – The University of Rhode has announced the appointment of NASA scientist Paula S. Bontempi as dean of the Graduate School of Oceanography. An alumna of GSO and a biological oceanographer for more than 25 years, Bontempi joins URI from the Earth Science Division, Science Mission Directorate of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.

Genetic variation gives mussels a chance to adapt to climate change

Existing genetic variation in natural populations of Mediterranean mussels allows them to adapt to declining pH levels in seawater caused by carbon emissions. A new study by biologists from the University of Chicago shows that mussels raised in a low pH experimental environment grew smaller shells than those grown at normal pH levels, but the overall survival rate of mussels grown under both conditions was the same.

Many cooks don’t spoil the broth: Manifold symbionts prepare their host for any eventuality

Deep-sea mussels, which rely on cooperative symbiotic bacteria for their food, harbor a surprisingly high diversity of these bacterial “cooks”: Up to 16 different bacterial strains live together in the mussel’s gills, each with its own abilities and strengths. Thanks to this diversity of symbiotic bacterial partners, the mussel is prepared for all eventualities. The mussel bundles up an all-round carefree package, a German-Austrian research team including Jillian Petersen from the University of Vienna and Rebecca Ansorge and Nicole Dubilier from the Max-Planck-Institute for Marine Microbiology now reports in Nature Microbiology.