Recycled oil rigs could aid life in the deep seas

This post contributed by Nadine Lymn, ESA Director of Public Affairs Typically the size of a football field and reaching a height of several hundred meters, the production life of an offshore oil or gas rig is over once it’s drained its location’s energy supply.  Then a company must retire and remove the rig. Conceived by the former U.S. Minerals Management Service (now reorganized as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management) the...

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Ecological research in images

(Click the below image to view the photo gallery.) This week, the American Museum of Natural History launched the exhibit “Picturing Science: Museum Scientists and Imaging Technologies” which explores the images produced by scientists while performing research. The images range from bug genitalia to staghorn coral (see video at the end of this post). As quoted in a recent Wired Science article, “‘A lot of people come to the museum...

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Mississippi floods out humans and wildlife

In late April, two major storm systems across the Mississippi River watershed brought about one of the most catastrophic floods upon the Delta region in generations. Thousands of homes have had to be evacuated and there have been a number of deaths. President Barack Obama has declared bordering counties in Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky as federal disaster areas. The flooding along the Mississippi River has also sparked a great...

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Scientists detect aquatic ecosystem warning signal

Scientists have found what appears to be the stress signals of a lake ecosystem that is on its way to collapse. Stephen Carpenter of the University of Wisconsin, Madison and colleagues carefully monitored the food web in a Wisconsin lake as they gradually introduced largemouth bass into the ecosystem. The researchers noticed a shift in the algae populations that were directly related to the altered feeding behavior of smaller lake...

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Tracking seed-dispersing piranha in the Amazon

Fish are probably not the first animals that leap to mind when thinking of seed dispersers. Squirrels are well-known examples, but researchers have recently tracked a species of frugivorous—that is, fruit-eating—piranha in the Amazon that distribute seeds over more than five kilometers of flood plains. As Daniel Cressey described in a Nature News article, “Although fish have long been suspected of having an important role in seed...

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Gulf seafood safety and the government’s response

This post contributed by Terence Houston, ESA Science Policy Analyst.                   Since oil began leaking from a rig in the Gulf of Mexico last April, concerns regarding the safety of the region’s seafood abounded. Now, more than two months after the leak was sealed, public officials, federal scientists and even President Obama have all been saying that seafood from the Gulf region is...

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Field Talk: Local spearfishing stories tell of fish depletion in Chile

Historically, spearfishing involved a diver, a harpoon (or spear or trident) and access to an abundant source of fish. However, it has evolved over the centuries—especially within the last few decades—to include boats, masks, snorkeling gear, scuba tanks, wet suits and even spearguns. The modernization of equipment means divers are able to stay underwater for hours and fire mechanically propelled spears at faster rates than a person...

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From the Community: bearded gobies, animal warfare and sea turtle relocation

Bearded gobies preying on jellyfish in anoxic water, conspiracies of animal warfare, sea turtle relocation in a time of environmental disaster and instances of cheating in the animal kingdom. Here are stories in ecology from the second week of July. Bearded goby: According to research recently published in Science, gobies are not only tolerant of anoxia (lack of oxygen in water) they are the main predators of jellyfish (see above...

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