Family Bythograeidae: Highly Specialized Crabs

By Rachael Ragen, SRC intern The Family Bythograeidae are marine crabs that live near thermal vents. Most of them are colorless, but some may be yellow in color. The eggs and megalopa, which is a post-larva stage of the crab, tend to be orange or red. This coloration is likely due to carotenoids produced by hydrothermal vent bacteria, on which the crabs may be preying. Bythograeidae crabs are influenced by their environment including gametogenesis, which is part of the reproduction process for crabs. As different biological factors in their surroundings fluctuate, the size of oocyst and the rate of gametogenisis … Continue reading

Swimming and Diving Energetics of Dolphins Can Help Predict the Cost of Flight Response in Wild Odontocetes

By Chelsea Black, SRC MPS student There are many occasions when high-speed swimming might be demanded by free-ranging marine mammals. This behavior will come at an energetic cost to the animal, which is why it is usually only performed when necessary for survival of the animal. Williams et al. (2017) demonstrates the physiological consequences of oceanic noise on diving mammals, in the hopes of providing a tool for predicting the biological significance of escape responses by cetaceans facing anthropogenic disturbances. The physiological response of fleeing marine mammals has been challenging to study due to the difficulty of simultaneously measuring both … Continue reading

Tsunami-driven rafting: Transoceanic species dispersal and implications for marine biogeography

By Grant Voirol, SRC intern On March 11, 2011, the Tohoku coast of Honshu, Japan was struck by a tsunami reaching heights of 125 feet. The tsunami caused widespread destruction along the coast, casting boats, docks, and other objects into the western Pacific Ocean. Many of these items were homes for marine communities or were soon colonized, turning these floating debris into life support rafts traveling across the Pacific. Circulating through the ocean, these rafts eventually began to make landfall on the western coast of North America and Hawaii (Figure 1). In the five years following the arrival of the … Continue reading

Declining oxygen in the global ocean and coastal waters: A summary

By Abby Tinari, SRC intern Oxygen is not only important for life on Earth, but it also regulates major nutrient and carbon cycles globally. All the past major extinction events have been associated with oxygen-deficient oceans and warm climates. Over the last 50 years, the anoxic (no oxygen) volume of the ocean has quadrupled, and hypoxic (low oxygen) zones have increased by the size of the European Union (Figure 1). In the summary below, Breitburg et al 2018 describe the causes (Global warming and nutrient enrichment), good and bad effects and responses (effects of ocean deoxygenation & biological responses and … Continue reading

Expanding fisheries management and marine conservation across borders

By Mitchell Rider, SRC master’s student In 2006, the U.S. Congress reformed the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) – an act that directs marine fisheries management – by amending the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act. This new amendment directed Secretary of Commerce to recognize foreign nations identified as participating in the bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMRs) by including them in a biennial report presented to Congress. The responsibility of identifying participating foreign nations was delegated to NOAA Fisheries. The procedure for identification was delineated as follows: Once participation in bycatch is confirmed, NOAA must … Continue reading

Adaptation or Extinction: the Necessity of Fish Reproductive Acclimation in the Face of Climate Change

By Trish Albano, SRC intern In an ever-changing marine environment, organisms must respond to their surroundings in order to remain reproductively successful.  However, with the current rate of climate change predicted to raise sea surface temperatures by approximately 3°C by the year 2100 (Collins et al., 2013), species are faced with a choice: shift geographic range or gradually adapt to changes cross-generationally.  In fishes, reproductive regulation and temperature are innately intertwined.  Changes in environmental temperature have the ability to impact the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis in the reproductive system of many species of fish.  This gland controls the regulation of reproductive … Continue reading