marine biology

Marine life typically thrives in the tropics – so why do whales prefer the poles?

 Marine life typically thrives in the tropics – so why do whales prefer the poles?

Life in the sea isn’t easy. Talk to most people about the ocean and they are likely to imagine a tropical scene with a stretch of golden sand and warm, clear water. The reality is often quite different – the marine environment can be a surprisingly cold place.

Starfish can see in the dark (among other amazing abilities)

Starfish can see in the dark (among other amazing abilities)

If you go down to the shore today, you’re sure of a big surprise. Many will have witnessed the presence of a starfish or two when visiting the seashore or a public aquarium. Starfish come in an exciting range of colours and sizes, but have you ever given a thought to how this multi-armed wonder manages to exist in our oceans when it’s so unlike the other animals we know?

Jellyfish have superpowers – and other reasons they don’t deserve their bad reputation

Jellyfish have superpowers – and other reasons they don’t deserve their bad reputation

People rarely enjoy meeting a jellyfish. On the beach they appear limp, amorphous, and blistered in the sun. In the water it’s often a brush of a tentacle on exposed skin followed by a sting. They hardly evoke the serene elegance of a turtle or the majesty of a breaching humpback whale. But despite making a poor first impression, jellyfish are among the most unusual animals on Earth and deserve a second chance to introduce themselves.

Why ocean scientists hope someone gets your message in a bottle

Why ocean scientists hope someone gets your message in a bottle

The world’s oldest message in a bottle recently washed up on the North Sea island of Amrum, in Germany. It was one of 390 such bottles placed in the ocean by scientist George Bidder back in August 1906. During the 110-year voyage, the bottle had travelled just a few hundred miles – hardly a Robinson Crusoe-style call for rescue from a far corner of the globe. But nonetheless Bidder was on to something: such messages were and still are vital for scientists seeking to understand ocean circulation patterns.

Rapid Plankton Growth in Ocean Seen as Sign of Carbon Dioxide Loading

Rapid Plankton Growth in Ocean Seen as Sign of Carbon Dioxide Loading

A microscopic marine alga is thriving in the North Atlantic to an extent that defies scientific predictions, suggesting swift environmental change as a result of increased carbon dioxide in the ocean, a study led a by Johns Hopkins University scientist has found.

FAU Harbor Branch Scientists Discover New Camouflage Mechanism for Fish in the Open Ocean

FAU Harbor Branch Scientists Discover New Camouflage Mechanism for Fish in the Open Ocean

The vast open ocean presents an especially challenging environment for its inhabitants since there is nowhere for them to hide. Yet, nature has found a remarkable way for fish to hide from their predators using camouflage techniques. In a study published in the current issue of Science, researchers from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University and collaborators show that fish scales have evolved to not only reflect light, but to also scramble polarization. They identified the tissue structure that fish evolved to do this, which could be an analog to develop new materials to help hide objects in the water.