Oceanic warm-water events in the Gulf of California have increased in frequency during the last three decades, passing from a historic mean of one or two warm anomalies per decade to five events in the 2007-2016 period. This can lead to massive failures in seabird nesting, as anomalously warm waters accumulate in the ocean's surface, preventing the upwelling of colder, nutrient-rich waters from the ocean bottom, which in turn deprives seabirds of their food.
Today's shifting environmental conditions are creating an uncertain future for many top predators in marine ecosystems, but to protect the key habitat of a species, you first have to know where that habitat is and what threats might be affecting it. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications looks at where New Zealand's endangered Westland Petrel forages during its breeding season and shows that its range overlaps more with trawl fishing activity than conservationists realized.
Where do seabirds go when their nesting colony is buried by a volcano? In 2008, the eruption of the Kasatochi volcano in the Aleutian archipelago provided a rare opportunity to track how the island's crested and least auklet populations responded when their nesting colony was abruptly destroyed. As a new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances shows, the birds were surprisingly adaptable, establishing a new colony on freshly created habitat nearby in only four years.
An innovative, eel-like robot developed by engineers and marine biologists at the University of California can swim silently in salt water without an electric motor. Instead, the robot uses artificial muscles filled with water to propel itself. The foot-long robot, which is connected to an electronics board that remains on the surface, is also virtually transparent. The team details their work in the April 25 issue of Science Robotics.
Deep-diving whales and other marine mammals can get the bends -- the same painful and potentially life-threatening decompression sickness that strikes scuba divers who surface too quickly. A new study offers a hypothesis of how marine mammals generally avoid getting the bends and how they can succumb under stressful conditions.
Don't just expect a disaster: coastal land has a strong potential to develop into well-functional marine ecosystems, if it gets flooded with seawater.
As technology advances, demands for tellurium, a rare element, are on the rise. Some forms of tellurium are toxic, so as the element finds applications in solar panels, rubber production, electronics and more, researchers are becoming concerned about possible environmental contamination. Now, one group reports in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology that by studying lake sediments they can construct a history of tellurium as it was deposited in the environment.
Oil spills, whether minor leaks or major environmental disasters, are bound to happen. Chemical dispersants are one of the tools that can help mitigate the impact of such spills, but they become less effective as oil weathers in the environment. Now, one group reports in Environmental Science & Technology Letters that sunlight has a much greater impact than previously thought on the effectiveness of these dispersants.
In a 50-year study, researchers record the dynamics of three common species of sea urchins in Hatakejima Island, Wakayama.
Georgia Aquarium and Georgia Tech collaborated to advance a new scientific frontier -- study of the aquarium microbiome -- to better understand the millions of marine microorganisms living in the water and what role they play in keeping the ecosystem healthy.