Killing Rock Vomit in Whiting Harbor, Alaska: A Thought Experiment

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Researchers prepare samples of Rock Vomit for use in immersion experiments that test possible methods of control. Photo by Kimberly Holzer (SERC)

Guest blog post by Monaca Noble, Marine Invasions lab, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

How do you control an invasive species? This is the question we are asking you to ponder through our thought experiment. For this experiment we have provided information about the invasive tunicate, the impacted area, and the results from a recent research project that tested various control methods and are asking you to use this information to generate ideas for control. Sure, we can come up with ideas on our own, but it is much more fun and interesting to hear what ideas others have. As an incentive, we will be taking the best ideas submitted by December 16th and posting them on our website in January.

In …

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Algal biofuel technology in the state of Qatar

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Microalgae culture plates in a growth chamber at QUCCCM

It is our responsibility to reduce CO2 emissions and develop sustainable, environmentally-friendly biofuels for the future.” Mr. Hareb Al Jabri

 

In 2010, Qatar University initiated an algal biofuel project funded by Qatar Airways, and Qatar Science and Technology Park with a 3-year budget of USD 12 million. Completion of the first phase of the project, led by Prof. Dr. Malcolm Potts, is expected by the end of 2013. The main goals of this initial phase were to obtain candidate biofuel microalgae and test their performance outdoors in Qatar’s climatic conditions.

The state of Qatar is situated east of the Arabian Peninsula surrounded with a 1000km coastline within the Arabian Gulf. The landscape is mostly desert with less than 100mm annual rainfall. While …

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Microorganisms and salt, a conference in Storrs, CT

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Halophiles 2013

Guest blog post by Bonnie Baxter and R. Thane Papke

Halophiles 2013: The International Congress on Halophilic Microorganisms is a multidisciplinary international conference, with a strong history of regular triennial meetings since 1978. As the title implies, our research passions are found at the interface of salt and microorganisms, and our motivation for organizing such a conference is to bring together, into a single forum, researchers from a wide diversity of investigation interests (e.g., biodiversity and evolution; proteins and biochemistry; genetics and biotechnology; biogeochemistry and astrobiology). By doing so, we hope to integrate and synthesize ideas and data from all three domains of life, and viruses/phage from a single environmental condition; salt concentrations greater than seawater. This conference provides exceptional opportunities …

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Life below the surface, featuring a Q&A with Ove Hoegh-Guldberg

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Teeth

When it comes to climate change, we know a hundred times more about how life on land is going to respond than life in the sea. 1

Coral reefs are a massive store of biodiversity, an untapped genetic reservoir and a key font of resources, but they are declining at a rapid rate. A recent longitudinal analysis of coral health in the Great Barrier Reef shows a decline in coral cover of 50.7% over 27 years.

The Catlin Seaview survey is a collaborative scientific endeavour to investigate and document coral reef health, starting with the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea in 2012. The survey was unveiled at the World Ocean Summit in Singapore …

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Tourism in salinas as a source of development and sustainability

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Beautiful flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) feeding in the ponds of a salina in Figueira da Foz.  The pink flamingos are one of salinas’ greatest attractions, present throughout the year in the main Portuguese wetland areas. (Photo: Nelson Afonso)

This is a follow-up to a previous blog post, Artisanal Portuguese salinas: remembering the past, building the future.

For many centuries, the salt extraction industry was among Portugal’s main economic activities, a catalyst for internal and external commercial growth. Although it was visibly responsible for boosting population in several coastal regions, from the mid-20th century onwards it also became clear that the salt industry faced a deep crisis in the form of territorial pressures, changes in the hydric system, the development of cold storage techniques and competition from low-price industrial salt. The resulting low rate of profitability led to an increasing desertion of artisanal salinas and their subsequent destruction, frequently with the intention of converting them into fish farms.

 

The …

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Artisanal Portuguese salinas: remembering the past, building the future

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Troncalhada salina, Aveiro

For centuries, salt detained a preponderant role in worldwide economy and had a great influence on the culture of those connected with it. Portugal’s great geographic and climatic conditions, as well as the use of adequate techniques for the development of the salt industry, have turned Portuguese salt in one of the most sought-after products in the country. The perspective was of a large scale production, targeting very specific and amply known ends such as its use as seasoning (it was done by the Romans and Greeks and other ancient civilizations), conservation of meat, fish and other food or even in the preservation of furs and leathers. This activity gave origin to many others, stimulated taxes, revenues and mercantile techniques …

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Window on Underwater World Closes

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Image from NASA, in the public domain

During the last 25 years, the Aquarius Reef Base has served as an underwater platform for over 100 scientific missions to the coral reefs of Florida.  Situated in 60 feet of water in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary off Key Largo, the Aquarius is the last remaining underwater habitat devoted to scientific research.  During 10-day missions, or “saturation dives”, the pressurized habitat hosts 6 aquanauts who can work on the reef for as long as 9 hours at a stretch. The capacity for divers to stay on the bottom for long periods, without concern of decompression sickness, is what makes missions to the Aquarius so significant. But, in a climate of declining …

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Coral reef fish and parasite biodiversity

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Figure 1

Coral reefs are hotspots for biodiversity, both for invertebrates and vertebrates. Many marine species spend all or parts of their life on reefs, benefitting from its productivity and structural habitat. Reefs are also very important for humans as they provide economic benefits in terms of tourism, fisheries, and protection of shorelines from storms and waves. Ocean acidification and climate change are threatening the health of coral reefs and the animals dependent on these unique habitats.

In terms of diversity of fishes, coral reefs support thousands of species. Less well known is the fact that fish also represent habitats for a wide range of  parasites associated with their guts, gills, and exterior surfaces. Extinction of the host fish species might as …

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Microbial threat for the blue crab industry

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crab

Five years ago commercially important blue crab populations in Chesapeake Bay reached alarmingly low levels, leading local management agencies to impose strong catch restrictions to aid in recovery.Five years later, blue crab numbers have rebounded to levels not seen since the 1990s, providing support for the continued need for science-based management of critical marine resources.

Despite the rebound of crab populations, concerns over the long term health of the bay have not gone away, particularly in light of continued problems with hypoxia, algae blooms and environmental pathogens. One such problem is the presence of the harmful parasitic dinoflagellate Hematodinium, which has the potential for strongly impacting blue crabpopulations.

The research findings of Pitula and colleagues, published this …

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No publication charge on articles submitted to Aquatic Biosystems before June 2012

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To celebrate the recent re-launch of Aquatic Biosystems from its previous title Saline Systems, the journal has introduced an article processing charge free period until 1st June 2012 for all new submissions.

Aquatic Biosystems publishes high quality articles on all aspects of basic and applied research on aquatic organisms and environments. Amongst the first articles published this year is research on the hunting strategies and prey items of killer whales in Canada, and a review focusing on the strategy of extremophilic enzymes when functioning at low water activity.

The journal has recently expanded its scope and its Editorial board to cover all aquatic biosystems. Please do submit your manuscript now to take advantage of the free …

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