Life between extinctions: cracking open the Cretaceous period

Earth during the Cretaceous period Credit: Ron Blakey One hundred million years ago, Earth experienced its first great peak in biodiversity. Flowers emerged and with them pollinators, dinosaurs towered over newly evolved mammals and marsupials, the steaming jungles were teeming with newly arrived ants and termites, and the oceans were filled with gigantic, air-breathing reptiles. This was life during the Cretaceous period, Earth...

Read More

Scientists and filmmakers are making “Waves” together

This post contributed by Austin Gallagher, a fish biologist and filmmaker from Boston, MA. Even though most of my face was covered by neoprene, acrylic glass and rubber, I could still feel the whiskers of the harbor seal rub against my skin as he repeatedly kissed my face. Believe it or not, the harbor seal wasn’t the only marine organism that was showing me the love during a morning of scientific diving in a marine reserve off the...

Read More

Scientists discuss some of the 5,000 new marine species discovered through census

Today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Diego, scientists participating in the Census of Marine Life (CoML) announced that the $650 million, 10-year collaboration will conclude on October 4-6, 2010 in London. More than 2,000 scientists from 80 countries have been collecting data on the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life worldwide. One goal of CoML is to provide the...

Read More

Reduced predator populations lead to algal blooms

Algal blooms are a phenomenon in which algal populations in a marine area proliferate rapidly, creating a water-column shield that blocks sunlight and oxygen. These blooms are usually attributed to rises in nitrogen levels from human agriculture and industrial runoff, which fertilize the algae. But a study in the current issue of Ecological Applications shows that overfishing of top fish predators can also lead to algal blooms....

Read More

Leatherbacks turn up by the tens of thousands

The largest population of leatherback sea turtles in the world has been identified off the coast of Gabon, Africa, and is estimated at somewhere between 15,700 and 41,400 female turtles. This seems to be a big bounceback for the endangered turtles, which are the largest living members of the sea turtle superfamily. This rough estimate was compiled during three nesting seasons between 2002 and 2007, using video to capture footage along...

Read More