‘Octo Girl’ Takes a Deep Dive to Discover How Diverse Octopus Species Coexist

A first in situ, long-term study explored how the common octopus, a medium-sized octopus widely distributed in tropical and temperate seas worldwide and the Atlantic longarm octopus, a small species of octopus found in the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere, coexist by examining their foraging habits and tactics, diet, behaviors and when they are active or inactive. Results show that their very different behaviors and habits is exactly how these two species coexist in a shallow Florida lagoon- even at high densities.

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.

New 3D images of shark intestines show they function like Nikola Tesla’s valve

For more than a century, researchers have relied on flat sketches of sharks’ digestive systems to discern how they function — and how what they eat and excrete impacts other species in the ocean. Now, researchers have produced a series of high-resolution, 3D scans of intestines from nearly three dozen shark species that will advance the understanding of how sharks eat and digest their food.

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.

Gulf of Mexico Mission: ‘Ocean Blue Holes Are Not Created Equal’

Scientists recently got a unique glimpse into the “Green Banana” Blue Hole thanks to gutsy divers and a 500-pound autonomous, benthic lander. Together with hand-picked, elite scuba divers, the research team is unraveling the structure and behavior of these marine environments by examining geochemistry, hydrodynamics, and biology. Findings from this exploration also may have important implications for phytoplankton in the Gulf of Mexico, including blooms of the Florida Red-tide species Karenia brevis.

FAU Lands $11 Million from U.S. Office of Naval Research for Oceanic Bioluminescence

FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute has landed an $11,179,001 four-year contract from the U.S. Office of Naval Research to develop a next-generation, high-intake, compact, bathyphotometer sensor for natural oceanic bioluminescence assessments. Bioluminescent creatures are found throughout marine habitats and their “glowing” energy released from chemical reactions is used to warn or evade predators, lure or detect prey and communicate with the same species. Research surrounding bioluminescence will soon serve as an important tool to protect U.S. coastlines.

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…

FAU Awarded $2.2 Million to Monitor Harmful Algal Blooms in Lake Okeechobee

Researchers are developing a comprehensive sensing and information visualization package that will augment Florida’s existing monitoring programs for Lake Okeechobee, the second largest lake within the contiguous U.S. It will expand water, sediment, and biological measurements using innovative harmful algal bloom detection and environmental characterization technologies to allow pinpointing problem areas prior to or early on when harmful algal blooms are emerging in Lake Okeechobee. These harmful blooms are annual occurrences due to favorable environmental conditions.

Biotelemetry Provides Unique Glimpse into Whitespotted Eagle Rays’ Behavior

Using uniquely coded transmitters and acoustic telemetry, a study is the first to characterize the ecology and fine-scale habitat use of whitespotted rays in Florida while also identifying areas of potential interactions between this species and multiple environmental threats. Biotelemetry provided unique insights into this species’ occupancy, which is not apparent at the landscape-scale. Prolonged observations showed affinities for habitats of considerable recreational and commercial importance, like inlets, channels, and clam aquaculture lease sites close to shore.

Study First to Show Tiger Sharks’ Travels and Desired Hangouts in the Gulf of Mexico

Using sophisticated satellite telemetry, a study is the first to provide unique insights into how tiger sharks move and use habitats in the Gulf of Mexico across life-stages. Data provide an important baseline for comparison against, and/or predicting their vulnerability to future environmental change such as climate variability or oil spills.

World’s Most Complete Health Analysis of Nesting Sea Turtles Conducted in Florida

The most comprehensive health assessment for a green turtle rookery in the world to date is providing critical insights into various aspects of physiology, biology, and herpesvirus epidemiology of this nesting population. Findings are hopeful for this population of green sea turtles in southeastern Florida, offer important data on the profile of health for future comparative investigations, and suggest that viruses are endemically stable in this nesting population.

Could These ‘Salt-loving’ Edible Sea Vegetables be the New Kale?

Skip the salt! Three species of sea vegetables could just be the new kale with the added benefit of a salty flavor. The 10-week study was designed to determine the optimal growing conditions for these sea vegetables that could soon be a great addition to salads, soups, pasta, rice and other dishes in the continental U.S. These nutritious plants for human consumption do not require fresh water and instead are grown in salt water.

Can’t Touch This! Video Shows Blacktip Sharks Use Shallow Water to Flee Huge Predators

Aerial drone footage provides the first evidence of adult blacktip sharks using shallow waters as a refuge from a huge predator – the great hammerhead. Before this study, documentation of adult sharks swimming in shallower waters to avoid predation did not exist. Unmanned aerial vehicles enable scientists to unobtrusively observe behaviors in the wild, providing insight into seldom-seen predator-prey interactions. When it comes to sharks, this “hammerhead” time video proves you “can’t touch this.”

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.

Scientists Develop New Way to Identify the Sex of Sea Turtle Hatchlings

Scientists have developed a new minimally invasive technique that greatly enhances the ability to measure neonate turtle sex ratios. This is the first time that differences in sex-specific protein expression patterns have been identified in blood samples of hatchlings with temperature-dependent sex determination. The technique is a crucial step in assessing the impact of climate change on imperiled turtle species and will enable more accurate estimates of hatchling sex ratios at a population level and on a global scale.

Researchers Team up with U.S. Coast Guard to Release and Track Three Baby Sea Turtles

Beach closures and other COVID-19 pandemic restrictions required scientists to get creative. They teamed up with the U.S. Coast Guard to make sure that three baby green sea turtles made it home. The turtles were outfitted with small solar powered satellite transmitters. Data will provide information to help scientists preserve sea turtles’ habitats and give them a hint about the effects of warmer temperatures on their offshore behavior.

Colossal oysters have disappeared from Florida’s ‘most pristine’ coastlines

Hundreds of years ago, colossal oysters were commonplace across much of Florida’s northern Gulf Coast. Today, those oysters have disappeared, leaving behind a new generation roughly a third smaller – a massive decline that continues to have both economic and environmental impacts on a region considered by many to be the last remaining unspoiled coastlines in the Gulf.

BYE-BYE, BEACHES

Those beaches, as we know them today at least, almost certainly will not last. By the end of the 21st century, more than $150 billion in property along our coast could be under water. That’s because the level of the sea is rising at an alarming rate, putting these areas at risk for devastating floods.