On the dock in Buenaventura, Colombia, the fisherman needed help identifying his catch. “I don’t have any clue what this is,” he said, holding a roughly 50-centimeter-long, grayish-brown fish. Gustavo Castellanos-Galindo, a fish ecologist, recalls the conversation from last October. “I said, ‘Well, this is a cobia, and it shouldn’t be here.’ ”
The juvenile cobia had probably escaped from...
The deep, dark ocean bottom teems with far more oases of life than once thought.
Searching along the sunless seafloor where tectonic plates pull apart, regions known as spreading ridges, researchers discovered that heat-spewing hydrothermal vents are at least three to six times as abundant as previously assumed. The finding also significantly boosts the likely number of marine ecosystems...
A “dirty blizzard” bombarded the Gulf of Mexico seafloor with pollution from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill for months after workers sealed the leak, new research shows.
Marine snow, an organic material that floats down from the ocean’s upper layers, carried the pollution to the seafloor, researchers report the week of May 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences...
A sick bat caught by hikers not far from Seattle has now been confirmed to have the first case west of the Rockies of the deadly bat disease white-nose syndrome.
First noticed in North America in the winter of 2006-2007, the disease exterminated some whole colonies of hibernating bats on the East Coast, though some species have proved less susceptible. White-nose syndrome has now swept...
News in Brief
A sick bat caught by hikers not far from Seattle on March 11 has now been confirmed as the first case west of the Rockies of the deadly bat disease white-nose syndrome.
First noticed in North America in the winter of 2006–2007, the disease exterminated some whole colonies of hibernating bats on the East Coast, though some species have proved less susceptible. White-nose syndrome has now...
Beyond the small mining town of Newman in Western Australia lie the first fairy circles scientists have described outside of Africa.
These patches of bare soil dot outback grasslands in almost regular polka-dot patterns, just like the puzzling circle landscapes known from Namibia, says ecologist Stephan Getzin of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research-UFZ in Leipzig, Germany. He...
Masses of plankton add swirls of green to the blue waters of the Arabian Sea in this February 3 snapshot from NASA’s Aqua satellite (Iran and Pakistan at top of the image; India, to the right). Most of the vibrant color probably comes from algae living in the single-celled bodies of the dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans.
N. scintillans started appearing in the Arabian Sea in large...
Reading Chris Samoray’s deep dive into the surprising new marine habitat created by human pollution, I found myself repeating Jeff Goldblum’s famous line from Jurassic Park: “Life finds a way.” It’s one of those short memes that sticks with you, but the extended passage from Michael Crichton’s book is perhaps even more apropos: “Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully,...
Oceanfront property doesn’t come cheap. Except, perhaps, for some seafaring microbes.
Steady streams of tiny plastic pieces making their way into the ocean give microbial squatters a place to take up residence. Each plastic home comes equipped with a solid surface to live on in an otherwise watery world. These floating synthetic dwellings and their microbial inhabitants have a name: the...
Reviews & Previews
A Naturalist Goes FishingJames McClintockSt. Martin’s Press, $25.99
In A Naturalist Goes Fishing, James McClintock shares personal stories of the decades-long avocation that helped steer him into a career as a marine biologist. It hasn’t always been idyllic frittering away a warm summer’s day on the banks of a lazy river.
In Antarctica’s cold, where fish have natural antifreeze in...