Category Archives: Marine Science

Monthly Fishbits- May 2016

 

Anchovies hunted by Trevally in Moofushi Kandu, Maldives. Credit: Bruno de Giusti

Anchovies hunted by Trevally in Moofushi Kandu, Maldives. Credit: Bruno de Giusti

Sink up to your gills in our May Fishbits! Fish with legs (long ones!), comparing yourself to a shark, and a World Oceans Day event.

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Monthly Fishbits- April 2016

Coral reef ecosystem at Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Photo credit: Jim Maragos/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Here are your April fishbits: How to be a modern ecologist, getting addicted to stats and new coral reefs!

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Shark Share: Lending a helping fin.

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Black-tip reef shark at Aliwal Shoal, South Africa. Photo L Meyer

This guest post is by Madi Green who is completing her PhD at the University of Tasmania. Madi primarily works on tropical shark and ray species using genetic tools to understand their movements and connectivity between oceans.  Madi is also the co-founder of Shark Share Global . Below she tell us a little bit about the Shark Share Global project. Continue reading

Fish Thinkers online: 2015 in review

 

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Photo credit: Top centre Aussie Fly fisher, top right John Harding & all others Fish Thinkers.

I was reading one of the bigger ecology blogs that I find myself returning to fairly regularly and they posted a review of their blog year, mostly for themselves to reference.  I found it interesting so went to have a look at our own blog and social media stats. I thought  I’d post a fish thinkers summary mainly as a record for myself but also on the odd chance anyone else is vaguely interested (its also a sneaky way to kick off a year in which I plan to post on here more regularly). Continue reading

Ocean Acidification – The Ocean’s other problem with CO2

This guest post is from Elliot Scanes, a PhD candidate from Western Sydney University who runs cool experiments to understand the impact of climate change on our molluscs. Elliot has a great Instagram research account with Dr Vicky Cole called seao2, so give them a follow to keep up to date with their work.


Ocean Acidification – The Ocean’s other problem with CO2 

by Elliot Scanes

Humans are currently emitting CO2 faster than has occurred on Earth for millions of years. Currently, atmospheric CO2 concentrations are at their highest point in 800,000 years and don’t look like slowing any time soon. Inevitable global warming as a consequence of the excess CO2 and other pollutants causing the “greenhouse effect” is well established among scientists (despite what politicians might say). This warming of the earth will eventually also cause warming of the oceans, most notably affecting species ranges. But this is not the only way excess CO2 is going to change the world’s oceans. The oceans have already absorbed 40% of the CO2 emitted by humans, and will keep continuing to do so. As CO2 dissolves in seawater, it forms carbonic acid, which, in turn causes the oceans to acidify. So far, oceanic pH (the measure of acidity) has fallen 0.1 units, and is predicted to fall 0.3 – 0.4 pH units by 2100 unless drastic global action is taken to curb emissions.

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Collecting Sydney rock oysters (Saccostrea glomerata) for experiments in Port Stephens.

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Opening flat oysters (Ostrea angasai).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This small decrease in pH may seem insignificant, however pH is measured on a natural logarithmic scale (for those mathematicians) which means that each unit is an order of magnitude larger than the previous. A 0.3 unit drop in pH means that calcium carbonate, the mineral that all shelled animals shells are composed of, is now soluble in seawater. Predictably, scientists are most concerned about the shelled animals of the ocean like molluscs, crustaceans and cnidarian (corals). Investigations by our lab at Western Sydney University have shown that under these scenarios Sydney rock oysters will have difficulty forming their shell, especially in their juvenile stages. These difficulties waste vital energy, which is especially important in an environment where you always need an edge on your competitor. Similar studies have found comparable effects in sea urchins, corals, scallops and almost every shelled animal in the ocean that you can think of. Continue reading

Dragging the chain – does anchoring by large ships impact our marine life?

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be joining a multidisciplinary team of researchers, supported by UOW’s Global Challenges program, to investigate the potential impact of large ships anchoring on our marine life and seafloor habitats.

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As an island nation, we are heavily dependent on shipping, with large ships transporting 99% of our trade by volume. Prior to entering our ports these large vessels may anchor in deep water, often for many days, waiting for their turn to exchange cargo.

Now when I say ‘large’ I mean freakin huge (see pic below). These ships are between 200-300 metres long and to anchor they require an anchor chain up to 250 metres long where each individual chain link can weigh up to 200 kilograms! Continue reading

Designing a fish identification survey app for use underwater in the Caribbean

Lionfish in the Caribbean.  http://www.islamarexp.com/

Lionfish in the Caribbean. Copyright Duane J Sanabria http://www.islamarexp.com/

My fellow PhD candidates over in Puerto Rico, Chelsea & Evan Tuohy are undertaking a lot of interesting marine research. One of their current projects they are working on is developing a fish identification and surveying app for Caribbean reef fish ID and underwater surveys. Chelsea explains in more depth in her guest blog below.

I first started diving in 2008, and it was an undergraduate field course hosted at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez’ Isla Magueyes field station that introduced me to the work of a field scientist. I lived in un-airconditioned dorms, woke up early to dive every morning, and spent the afternoons pouring over fish identification books. This was my first time trying to identify Caribbean reef fish, and I had zero background on this subject. Continue reading

The global tracking map: your key to discovering how the marine world moves.

VEMCO researchers map

VEMCOs researchers map: ‘Help us help you collaborate with the best researchers in the world and let us “Put You on the Map”! Red pins represent studies using VEMCO products, the dark pins represent institutes’.

For those that have an interest in animal movement in the oceans, I’d like to draw your attention to a handy and interesting tool on the VEMCO website; the global tracking map. This tool Continue reading