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First tally of US-Russia polar bears finds a healthy population

Wed, 14 Nov 2018 14:43:15 EST ~ The first scientific assessment of polar bears that live in the Chukchi Sea region that spans the US and Russia finds the population is healthy and does not yet appear to be suffering from declining sea ice. Find out more...

Salmon are shrinking and it shows in their genes

Wed, 14 Nov 2018 10:43:56 EST ~ Male salmon are maturing earlier and becoming smaller, and it shows in their genes. This was the discovery of a study that examined scale samples from salmon over a 40-year period, and looked at the population genetic profile of a gene that determines salmon's age of maturity and size. The results show that the 'big salmon gene version' has become rarer in the population over time, and has been replaced by the 'small salmon gene version'. Find out more...

'Rare' jellyfish not so rare

Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:54:38 EST ~ When the Rhizostoma luteum jellyfish was discovered at the beginning of the 19th century in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, only nine specimens were identified. For years, it was so inconspicuous that later, in the 20th century, it failed to turn up for six decades. A team of scientists, with the help of a citizen initiative, has now confirmed that it is not really as difficult to find as previously believed. Find out more...

Deepwater Horizon oil spill's dramatic effect on stingrays' sensory abilities

Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:03:53 EST ~ Marine fishes rely on their sensory systems to survive. A study is the first to quantify the physiological effects of whole crude oil on the olfactory function of a marine vertebrate -- the Atlantic stingray. Results of the study, confirm that exposure to crude oil, at concentrations mimicking those measured in coastal areas following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, significantly impaired olfactory function in the Atlantic stingray after just 48 hours of exposure. Find out more...

Rising sea levels may build, rather than destroy, coral reef islands

Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:03:14 EST ~ Rising global sea levels may actually be beneficial to the long-term future of coral reef islands, such as the Maldives, according to new research. Low-lying coral reef islands are typically less than three meters above sea level, making them highly vulnerable to rising sea levels associated with climate change. However, research has found new evidence that the Maldives -- the world's lowest country -- formed when sea levels were higher than they are today. Find out more...

Business as usual for Antarctic krill despite ocean acidification

Tue, 13 Nov 2018 08:09:30 EST ~ A new study has found that Antarctic krill are resilient to the increasing acidification of the ocean as it absorbs more C02 from the atmosphere due to anthropogenic carbon emissions. Krill are one of the most abundant organisms on Earth and a critical part of the Southern Ocean marine ecosystem. Find out more...

Escape responses of coral reef fish obey simple behavioral rules

Mon, 12 Nov 2018 19:17:15 EST ~ The escape response to evade perceived threats is a fundamental behavior seen throughout the animal kingdom, and laboratory studies have identified specialized neural circuits that control this behavior. To understand how these neural circuits operate in complex natural settings, researchers recorded and analyzed escape responses in wild coral reef fish. Their results show how a sequence of well-defined decision rules generates evasion behavior in a wide range of coral reef fish species. Find out more...

Fish's brain size influenced by habitat

Mon, 12 Nov 2018 13:15:46 EST ~ This is the first known study to connect habitat with varying brain size in a single lake fish population. The finding may provide clues about how fish and other creatures will respond to mounting environmental stressors from pollution to climate change. Researchers say bigger brains contain more neurons, and more connections among them, that lend its owner cognitive and behavioral smarts that may help it adapt to new environments. Find out more...

New light cast on fishing throughout history

Mon, 12 Nov 2018 09:59:42 EST ~ A new study has revealed new insights into ancient fishing throughout history, including what type of fish people were regularly eating as part of their diet. Find out more...

Plastic microfibers found for first time in wild animals' stool, from S. A. fur seals

Fri, 09 Nov 2018 18:57:23 EST ~ For the first time, plastic microfibers have been discovered in wild animals' stool, from South American fur seals. The findings were made by scientists who suggest examining scat from pinnipeds can be an efficient way to monitor environmental levels of microfibers and microplastics in the environment. Find out more...