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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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