CO2 Kills Fishes’ Brain!

Major news! According to this article, carbon dioxide is affecting the brains and nervous system of fishes and other living things in the ocean. High CO2 levels in sea water disrupts a key brain receptor in fish, causing odd behavior and changes in their sensory ability. Professor Philip Munday reports that, ” By the end of this century, CO2 concentrations will interfere with fishes’ ability to hear, smell, turn and evade predators.” This is terrible! This won’t be good for our fishing industries since we depend a lot on fish resources.

They did a research on baby clown and damsel fishes and how they performed alongside their predators in high-concentrated Co2 water. They found out that even though the predators were affected, the baby fishes were the ones who suffered higher rates of attrition. This is unbelievably something we have to concern ourselves with. Already the natural order of balance is starting to shift rapidly.

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In what ways are CO2 affecting marine wildlife?

How will this sudden change impact humans?


Australian Dolphins Conching

I was reading this article about Australian Dolphins in the Western Australian Shark Bay that were spotted “conching”.  Conching is a method used by the dolphins to catch fish by trapping them in a conch shell, then bringing that shell to the surface and shaking that shell with their beak inside the conch so that the fish fall into their mouth.  It said that conching was a learned behavior that and they are observing and mimicking other dolphins catching fish.

Do you think that if more and more dolphins figure out how to catch fish this way, that fish populations will decrease?


Tiger Sharks Taking Advantage of Disoriented Terrestrial Birds?

In the Gulf of Mexico, research has proven that tiger sharks prey on birds. Although, not seabird; terrestrial birds.

The research started in 2009 when a tiger shark was captured for tagging. When the shark was brought on board, it coughed up feathers. This interested Marcus Drymon, of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, who had been researching fish off the coast of Alabama since 2006. Him and his team decided to turn their focus to the tiger shark’s diet of birds. After studying the coughed up feathers in the lab, he discovered they did not belong to a seabird. The next two years, the team caught 50 Tiger sharks. Over half of them had either feathers, claws, beaks, or other miscellaneous body parts. Birds such as woodpeckers, tanagers, and meadowlarks were found in the stomachs.

How does a tiger shark get its jaws on land bird?

Lights on oil rigs are often so bright they disorient and confuse migratory birds crossing the Gulf. Many collide with the rigs and crash into the water, and others just crash into the water from exhaustion. “It could just be that tiger sharks in this area have learned to take advantage of this prey resource,” Drymond said.

According to the American Bird Conservancy, more birds are killed each year by colliding into oil rigs, than in the 2010 Gulf Spill.

What can we do to prevent migratory birds, song birds, and even sea birds from flying into oil rigs?

Incredible new oil clean up technology

After the BP spill, a contest was born, (mostly out of frustration) called the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE. A veteran oil clean up company called Elastec/American Marine, out of Carmi, Illinois, won the 1.4 million dollar competition. They were just one team out of the 350 chosen to enter the competition.

The state of the art technology plus the determined minds of spill victims came together to create a system that can suck 4,670 gallons of spilled oil per minute! The machinery is 89.5% efficient, and only 10.5% of the oily mix in the recovery tanks was water. This huge technology advance that makes the past two oil disasters in our county’s past spills look shameful. The Exxon Valdez recovery crew was only able to recover 14% of the spilled oil and the BP spill in the Gulf was able able to recover a whopping 3% of the 4.9 million barrels spilled. Now we are more prepared than ever for another disaster.

Creator of the competition, Wendy Schmidt, said the challenge was created to “challenge the status quo, and to do so in a matter of months, not years.” The XPRIZE competition was was founded in 1996, and has had many competitions through out the years encouraging scientists to “prompt research collaborations to tackle urgent world challenges in energy and environment, education, life sciences, and space and ocean exploration.”

Its acts like these that keep our world’s  innovative wheels turning. What other competitions like these do you think could come out of natural or man made disasters? What technology is important enough to try to improve with a 1.4 million dollar purse? Everything starts with just an idea.


Bottom Trawling and Sponges & Corals in Alaska

We have learned that there is a great diversity of amazing coral & sponge species living here in Alaska. Your task is to read this article carefully.  Next, write a minimum 2 paragraph COMMENT in complete sentences with correct spelling and grammar, that answers the following:

  • Summarize what the article was about in your own words, include a few specific facts/statistics that stood out to you .
  • Do you think this article is important/significant? Explain why or why not.  Be sure to support your answer!

Temporary Positive Impacts of Global Warming?

An interesting new article on the effects of climate change on the wandering albatross discusses how wind-pattern changes brought on by climate change have altered the birds foraging habits. As a result of increasing southern-bound wind-speeds, the albatross is now requiring less time to forage for its food, as it can now access its feeding grounds more rapidly, which has resulted in greater breeding success and an average weight gain of approximately 1 kilogram per bird (that’s approximately 2.205 lbs; an increase equal to roughly 10% of the bird’s body weight). The methodology for examining these changes consisted of analyzing and combining data on the albatross collected over the course  of more than forty years.

Although this is considered by scientists to be a positive change in the albatross’s habitat, scientists postulate that it will very likely be a short-lived one. Climate scenarios for the following decades predict that the winds will continue to move in a southerly direction, which is to suggest that the average distance required for the albatross to fly in finding food will surely increase. This could either restore the albatross to its previous state or worse.

The questions I have for the reader to consider are these: (1.) Even if we assume that these climate change postulations are not to occur, can the ecosystem sustain the albatross’s current habitat? (2.) Will the albatross be able to adapt if these sorts of changes come more at an unprecedented rate?

Frozen Coral!

In Australia  scientists have frozen coral embryonic cells to create a bank of the species. this is something that is good for the environment because it makes sure that if the species were to die off they could possibly reproduce it. It could also be a great opportunity to do further studies involving coral and the benefit it has in our day to day lives.  The specimens will be held in a specialist facility for genetic material at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo in New South Wales. I think its cool because the cells are frozen but at the same time they are kept alive, this is a good things for the survival of coral.

1. Do you think this will work? will they be able to reproduce the coral?

2. Do you think this is the best way to susstain a species