The response of sandy beach meiofauna to nutrients from sea turtle eggs

Loggerhead turtle, species who provided the turtle eggs. (Photo from Wikipedia Commons)

By Abby Tinari, SRC intern South African scientists, Diane et. al (2017), studied how organic matter is transferred through the food web and how this influences consumer populations. Specifically, they chose to look at the interaction between sea turtle eggs and meiofauna in sandy beaches where organic matter is limited. Meiofauna are small invertebrates that live in both marine and fresh water environments. The main taxa present in the study were nematodes, insect larvae, collembola, and halacarid. Sandy beaches lack an abundance of organic matter. Diane et. al predicted that the seasonal influx of turtle eggs would generate an increase … Continue reading

Finding Nemo’s Anemone

An anemonefish next to an anemone, Entacmaea quadricolor, the kind used in the study. [Wikimedia Commons]

By Leila AtallahBenson, SRC master’s student Do you remember in Finding Nemo when the eagle ray professor asks the kids where they live, and nemo replies, with some difficulty, that he lives in an anemone? Have you ever wondered about the relationship between the clownfish and their anemone homes? It is known that these two species interact and have a mutualistic relationship. Anemones house and protect clownfish, but what do clownfish do for the anemone? Well, a group of researchers from Boston University took a deeper look at the association of clownfish and anemones. They conducted a one-and-a-half-year study, where … Continue reading

Atypical and Estuarine Habitat of the Maroni River Mouth Altering Green Turtle Behavior in French Guiana

Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas.

(Your Shot National Geographic, 2013) http://yourshot.nationalgeographic.com/photos/2387735/?source=gallery)

By Casey Dresbach, SRC intern   In this experiment, satellite telemetry was used to assess the behavioral adjustments of twenty-six adult female green turtles. Sixteen Argos-linked Fastloc GPS tags were deployed on green turtles from February to June 2012 on both sides of the Maroni River: Awale-Yalimpo and in the Galibi Nature Reserve in Suriname. At the same time, ten other females in the Amana Nature Reserve were equipped with Conductivity-Temperature-Depth-Fluorometer Satellite Relayed Data Loggers, which provided the locations of the turtles via Argos data, and recorded profiles of the dive depth, time at depth, dive duration and post-dive surface … Continue reading

Nocturnal migration reduces exposure to micropredation in a coral reef fish

Larval gnathiid isopods (bottom right) feed on the blood of fish before molting. Adult males (left) and females (right) tend to remain in the sediment. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

By Josh Ratay, SRC intern   Nocturnal migration reduces exposure to micropredation in a coral reef fish is a new study examining daily migrations of French grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum) and the exposure to parasitic isopods. French grunts are known to move off the reefs and into seagrass beds at night. Such behavior in animals is usually attributed to increased availability of prey or decreased exposure to predators. However, this study investigates the idea that the fish’s movements may serve as a method of avoiding isopods, which are far more common on the reefs than in seagrass communities. The French grunt … Continue reading

The imperiled fish fauna in the Nicaragua Canal Zone

Proposed route (solid line) and alternative routes (dashed lines) of the Nicaragua Canal. The 3 drainage basins involved are San Juan (red), Punta Gorda (blue), and Escondido (yellow). Fish-sampling locations are marked with open diamonds. (Härer et al. 2016)

By Nicole Suren, SRC intern Plans for a new canal through the isthmus of Nicaragua have just been approved by the Nicaraguan government with little to no restrictions on what preexisting waterways can be used as part of this potential new shipping route. The currently proposed route was planned based on economic and technical considerations, but ecological concerns were not factored into the planning, leading to a variety of potential ecological problems due to the construction of the canal. These ecological detriments include overexploitation of the environment, increased water pollution, water flow modification, destruction or degradation of habitat, and the … Continue reading

Novel use of epidemiological models to control the spread of unwanted behaviors in marine mammals

A California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) goes for a swim [Wikipedia Commons]

By Cameron Perry, SRC intern Animal behavior is often learned or passed down through social interactions with other individuals. However, sometimes these socially transmitted behaviors increase exploitation of human resources, which may threaten human safety and economic livelihood (Schakner et al., 2016). Schakner et al. (2016) examined a case study where California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) discovered salmonids that had migrated up the Columbia River to the fish ladders located at the Bonneville Dam. Sea lions began foraging at the dam and increased the mortality of the Columbia River’s salmon and steelhead runs, 13 of which are listed under the … Continue reading