For decades, biologists have captured tiny sea star larvae in their nets that did not match the adults of any known species. A Smithsonian team recently discovered what these larvae grow up to be and how a special superpower may help them move around the world. Their results are published online in the Biological Bulletin.
“Thirty years ago, people noticed that these asteroid starfish larvae could clone themselves, and they wondered what the adult form was,” said staff scientist Rachel Collin at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). “They assumed that because the larvae were in the Caribbean the adults must also be from the Caribbean.”
Scientists monitor larvae because the larvae can be more sensitive to physical conditions than the adults and larval dispersal has a large influence on the distribution of adult fishes and invertebrates. Collin’s team uses a technique called DNA barcoding to identify plankton. They
Marine geologist and oceanographer André Droxler knows Charles Darwin’s theory about atolls is incorrect. But Droxler, who’s studied coral reefs for more than 40 years, understands why Darwin’s model persists in textbooks, university lecture halls, natural science museums and Wikipedia entries.
“It’s so beautiful, so simple and pleasing that everybody still teaches it,” said Droxler, who recently retired from Rice University. “Every introductory book you can find in Earth science and marine science still has Darwin’s model. If they teach one thing about reefs or carbonates in marine science 101, they teach that model.”
Droxler, a professor of Earth, environmental and planetary sciences at Rice for 33 years, is hoping to set the record straight with a 37-page, tour de force paper about the origins of atolls. Published this month in the Annual Review of Marine Science, the paper was co-authored by Droxler and longtime collaborator Stéphan Jorry, a
The summer of 2020 was supposed to be one of exploration, discovery, and mentorship for students in the geosciences.
But then the pandemic happened.
Laboratories shuttered their doors; research vessels stayed docked.
Many of the mentorship programs students applied to are now navigating the still-uncharted waters of the “new normal” and working to provide quality, albeit remote, mentorship.
STEMSEAS—short for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships—is one such program.
Run out of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, the National Science Foundation–funded initiative has been a gateway for more than 125 students to experience ocean science up close every summer since 2016. In a normal year, STEMSEAS gives undergraduates the opportunity to spend 6–10 days aboard a U.S. Academic Research Fleet research vessel with experienced faculty mentors as the ship makes transits between expeditions.
“Going to sea is really quite life changing the first time one
After a year spent drifting across the top of the world, frozen in sea ice, a German research ship returned home Monday, ending the largest Arctic science expedition in history, one aimed at better understanding a region that is rapidly changing as the world warms.
The ship, the Polarstern, docked at its home port of Bremerhaven nearly 13 months after it left Norway. In October, it became deliberately frozen into the ice north of Siberia, about 350 miles from the North Pole, and drifted north and west for thousands of miles, leaving the little remaining ice for good late last month between Greenland and Norway.
The expedition, with a rotating contingent of about 100 scientists, technicians and crew, encountered nosy polar bears, fierce storms that damaged equipment, changing ice conditions and, most
Turkey expects to raise its estimate for the amount of natural gas discovered in the Black Sea and plans to announce the new guidance as early as next week, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The government will outline a sizable revision to the initial discovery of 320 billion cubic meters of recoverable gas, unveiled in August, once exploratory drilling is completed this month, the people said, asking not to be named due to the sensitivity of the find.
The energy discovery in the Black Sea is critical for Turkey’s current-account balance which is dragged down by the need to import nearly all of the 50 billion cubic meters of gas the country consumes annually.
Drilling to a depth of around 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) at the Tuna-1 discovery would penetrate two additional formations that appear promising, a senior
A study conducted at the Politecnico di Torino, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, presents a solar desalination device capable of spontaneously removing accumulated salt. In the future, this discovery could lead to the development of sustainable desalination systems with stable efficiencies over time
The Achilles’ heel of water desalination technologies is the crystallization of salt particles within the various components of the device. This clogging phenomenon causes a reduction in performance over time, thus limiting the durability of these devices. Tackling this problem is important to ensure a constant production of freshwater over time. Recently, innovative nanostructured materials with anti-clogging properties have been proposed, with the potential of limiting salt accumulation. However, the high cost of these materials makes large-scale production of commercial prototypes difficult.
September 2020 was the warmest September on record globally, according to scientists at the European Union’s Earth observation program Copernicus. The agency also revealed that the Arctic sea ice is at its second lowest extent since satellite records began in 1979.
September temperatures were well above average in many regions across the globe, including off the coast of northern Siberia, in the middle East, in parts of South America and Australia, with the exception of eastern tropical Pacific. The month was 0.05 C warmer than September 2019, the previous warmest September on record.
Pollution off the Pacific shoreline of the remote Kamchatka peninsula has caused the mass death of marine creatures, Russian scientists said Tuesday.
Locals sounded the alarm in late September as surfers experienced stinging eyes from the water and sea creatures including seals, octopuses and sea urchins washed up dead on the shore.
Coming on the heels of a massive oil leak in Siberia, the latest incident has sparked a large-scale investigation with fears that poisonous substances in underground storage since the Soviet era could have leaked into the water.
A team of divers from a state nature reserve found a “mass death” of sea life at a depth of five to 10 metres (16-33 feet), Ivan Usatov of the Kronotsky Reserve said, adding that “95 percent are dead.”
Oct. 5 (UPI) — GPS-enabled decoy eggs could help authorities track sea turtle egg poachers and disrupt illegal wildlife trade networks.
In a proof-of-concept study, published Monday in the journal Current Biology, researchers placed 3D-printed, GPS-enabled decoy eggs in the nests of endangered sea turtles in Central America.
Using the ingeniously named InvestEGGator, scientists were able to track the contraband from the beach to restaurants and bars where the eggs are sold as a delicacy.
“Our research showed that placing a decoy into a turtle nest did not damage the incubating embryos and that the decoys work,” lead study author Helen Pheasey said in a news release.
“We showed that it was possible to track illegally removed eggs from beach to end consumer as shown by our longest track, which identified the entire trade chain covering 137 kilometers,” said Pheasey, conservation biologist and doctoral student at the University of Kent.