Food Web News

Photo: Schmidt Ocean Institute

Subsea Robotics: SOI Mission Discovers New Hydrothermal Vent and Species

moon, because it is hard to map underwater. This is the frontier.” The vents at the Southern Pescadero Basin offer a unique opportunity to compare microbial and animal community compositions between vents with different chemistries and mineral deposits.Microbes at these vents form the basis of the food web here, and gaining insight into the vent communities helps us understand the whole ecological system

The 180-foot RV Lake Guardian is the largest research vessel in the EPA fleet and the largest research vessel operating on the Great Lakes. It has a berthing capacity of 41 people, including 14 crew members and 27 visiting scientists. (Photo: EPA)

EPA Launches Research Vessel to Monitor Lake Ontario

, set priorities for research and monitoring, and outline further action by governments and the public for its 2018-2022 LAMP.The priority of this year’s monitoring is to improve the understanding of nutrients entering the Lake Ontario ecosystem and their impacts on water quality and the aquatic food web.Using various research vessels, the agencies will be evaluating nutrients, plankton, prey fish and predator fish. Smaller research boats will focus on near-shore activities such as evaluating nutrients and mussels, as well as performing algae research and diver surveys. The agencies will be using

Photo: Schmidt Ocean Institute

Scientists Set Record with Self-Driving Robots

the world’s oceans. Additionally, the LRAUV-collected samples containing microbial community DNA, will be analyzed back on shore with genomic studies aimed at understanding the function, activity and environmental sensitivities of microbial populations that form the foundation of the ocean’s food web

Photo: Corie Charpentier, post-doc research associate at Rutgers University

Glider-Based Ecosystem Study

between multiple trophic levels (phytoplankton, zooplankton and fish) and their relationships to the physical hydrographic driving forces such as sea ice and currents.   A key component to this investigation is the AZFP's ability to differentiate key species within this important Antarctic food web. Species of specific interest include various copepods, crystal krill (Euphausia crystallorophias), and Antarctic silverfish (Pleuragramma antarcticum). The glider was also instrumented with a CTD, a WET Labs BB2FL ECO puck to measure phytoplankton biomass and an Aandera Optode dissolved oxygen

Quagga mussels (Photo: GLERL-NOAA)

Tiny Quagga Mussels Have a Big Impact

year in Nature’s Scientific Reports.   Another impact the researchers found from their field studies is that quagga mussels are changing the way phosphorous is cycled in the lake. Normally, the amount of phosphorous, a vital nutrient needed for diatoms and other species important in the food web, rises during the winter when it is released from particulate matter resuspended from coastal sediment during storm events and turbulence. The sediment then gets transported from shallow areas to deeper regions in the lake.   “Because quagga mussels carpet the bottom of the lake, the

A satellite image shows Falkor’s track and the colors in ocean water. Colors indicate the amount of chlorophyll, where red is the highest and blue the lowest. (Image: NASA/ Norman Kuring)

New Tech Gives Insight to Ocean Color for NASA Satellites

wide variety of oceanic ecosystems. The focus of chief scientist Dr. Ivona Cetinic´, USRA/NASA, and her multidisciplinary team of oceanographers, engineers, biologists and computer scientists was to explore ocean particles, and more specifically the tiny phytoplankton that make up the base of our food web. These important organisms are difficult to study in the lab, making the opportunity to observe them at sea critical. The research will allow the science team to learn how plankton and other living things in the ocean contribute to global climate. The team will use the collected information to ground-tru

Using a new method to distinguish fresh water from oil or salt water, scientists are exploring beneath the continental shelf off New England to look for large pockets of trapped fresh water. This water may be continually filling from groundwater flowing from land or, alternatively, may have been left behind by ice-age glaciers. (Image: Eric S. Taylor, WHOI Graphic Services)

Fresh Water below the Seafloor?

sky, so it doesn’t have any iron,” Lizarralde explained. “But if its gets into the ground, it absorbs iron and other nutrients. So it has a higher nutrient content when it comes out and would be providing nutrients to the ocean.”   This has huge implications for the ocean food web and Earth’s climate. Nutrients fertilize the productivity of tiny marine phytoplankton, which convert carbon dioxide into organic carbon to grow and draw the greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere.   Signs of weakness In some places, the ocean floor has created a watertight seal above

Photo of what seaweed community looks like after introduction of invasive seaweed (Dasysiphonia japonica) (Photo: Kristen Mello/UNH)

Sea Habitats Altered by More Invasive Seaweed-Study

for many juvenile species of fish (pollock, cod, and flounder), juvenile and adult shellfish (lobsters and crabs), seals and birds (terns and gulls).   “While the changing seascape has dramatically altered and increased the diversity and number of small creatures at the base of the marine food web, we still don’t know how these changes in the ecosystem will propagate through the entire chain. Even though there may be more creatures at the base, it’s not clear what their effects will be on fish or other crabs in the habitat, and how much protection the new landscape will provide

Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut/Jaroslav Obu

Retreating Arctic Coasts Cause Drastic Changes

of the protective sea ice cover, and the rising sea level," says AWI permafrost expert and co-author Professor Hugues Lantuit. He adds that “during the ice-free season the waves can hit the coast higher and affect more land”. An erosion of that magnitude will without a doubt alter the food web in the coastal zone, and will affect those people who depend on fishing and who cultivate their traditional way of life along Arctic coasts. The main reason why research on this topic has not been carried out so far is linked to logistics. Much of the arctic coastal and shallow water zones are

Control site Ambient. Photo source :Alfred Wegener Institute PR

Tropical Coral reefs lose their Zooplankton through Ocean Acidification

acidification. Instead of densely branched branching corals, robust mounding species of hard coral grow, offering the zooplankton little shelter. In a study published on 19 September 2016 at the online portal of the journal Nature Climate Change, the researchers report that the impact on the food web of the coral reefs is far-reaching, since these micro-organisms are an important food source for fish and coral. The volcanic carbon dioxide sources off the coast of Papua New Guinea are a unique natural laboratory. "Here, we can already observe under natural conditions how the reefs may

No Red Tide Expected on Florida’s West Coast

, which under certain conditions can outcompete other non-toxic algae. According to USF marine scientists, in years of the worst outbreaks, red tide has been responsible for millions of dollars in losses in the shellfish, finfish, recreation and tourism industries. Red tide toxins that end up in the food web can be transferred to other forms of life, from tiny zooplankton to birds, fish and aquatic mammals. State testing is conducted to ensure that commercially harvested seafood is safe for human consumption. Red tide toxins often cause fish kills, and can become aerosolized, causing human respiratory

Algae. Pic: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Ice algae: The Engine of Life in the Central Arctic Ocean

 Algae that live in and under the sea ice play a much greater role for the Arctic food web than previously assumed.    In a new study, biologists of the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) showed that not only animals that live directly under the ice thrive on carbon produced by so-called ice algae.    Even species that mostly live at greater depth depend to a large extent on carbon from these algae. This also means that the decline of the Arctic sea ice may have far-reaching consequences for the entire food web of the Arctic Ocean.

Adélie penguin populations have increased by 69% in East Antarctica over the past 30 years. (Photo Louise Emmerson)

Adélie Penguin Population Doubles

Southwell said the counts were then compared with historical counts made at the same sites 30 years ago. “Adélie penguins are top level predators that mainly eat krill and fish in the sea-ice zone, so the population increase likely reflects underlying changes in the lower levels of the food web and the sea-ice environment,” Dr Southwell said. “Limited data on East Antarctic ecosystems makes it difficult to identify exactly how changing environmental conditions could have affected population growth, however, there are some possible explanations. “Two aspects of the

RV Polarstern

RV Polarstern Sets Course for Spitsbergen

making its presence felt in the Arctic, as reflected in the record low figures on the sea-ice extent. At the same time, the ice is growing thinner and thinner, affecting the underwater light conditions. When more sunlight penetrates the ice, it means that algae, which make up the very beginning of the food web, have more energy for growth – just like their “cousin” plants on land, algae in the ocean need nutrients to grow. “Our goal is to explore how the earlier melting of sea ice in the Arctic influences the distribution of nutrients and algae growth, and in turn what the impacts

The high diversity of phytoplankton has puzzled biological oceanographers for a long time. There are over 200,000 species of of these tiny marine plants that use sunlight and nutrients to grow and reproduce at the ocean's surface. (Courtesy of Samantha DeCuollo,University of Rhode Island)

Coexisting in a Sea of Competition

seek out nutrients in different ways   Diversity of life abounds on Earth, and there's no need to look any farther than the ocean's surface for proof. There are more than 200,000 species of phytoplankton alone, and all of those species of microscopic marine plants that form the base of the marine food web need the same basic resources to grow—light and nutrients.   A study by a team of scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), University of Rhode Island (URI), and Columbia University, published April 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals

Whitcomb and his post-doctoral student Christopher McFarland’s technical efforts on this expedition focused on the development of NUI’s novel navigation, control, and acoustic telemetry systems, which were first prototyped on the Homewood Campus with Whitcomb’s underwater testbed vehicle, the JHU ROV, in his Hydrodynamics Laboratory in Krieger Hall.

Adventure Under Ice

arctic sea ice. This is a magical and unfamiliar world. Each summer, bolstered by round-the-clock daylight, the waters below the Arctic’s azure floes grow cloudy with blooms of phytoplankton that soak up the sunlight that penetrates the ice. These uncountable single-cell plants are the base of a food web in the Arctic Ocean that weaves itself outward and upward from microscopic animals to the fish and the birds, through the pinnipeds and polar bears, all the way to whales that are among the biggest creatures ever to traverse the planet. “The underside of the ice was dotted with dark algal

L-R: Thomas Sciscione, Coordinator, Aquatic Habitat Toronto; Scott Fortnum, Executive Director, The Living City Foundation; MP Trottier; Rick Portiss, Manager, Restoration Services, Toronto Region Conservation Authority; and Gord McPherson, Senior Manager, Restoration Services, Toronto Region Conservation Authority.

Canada to Restore Recreational Fisheries Habitat

; which are desirable angling species. Shoreline enhancement work will consist of installing coarse woody debris to improve structural habitat; regarding the shoreline using a variety of substrates to create diverse fish habitats and by planting zones of emergent and riparian vegetation to improve food web dynamics. Interpretive signage will be placed at the trailhead and at the site to provide information to visitors. Under the first round of the Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnerships Program, up to $1,239,000 had been made available for 16 projects in Ontario. Up to $5.5 million for

Marine Technology Magazine Cover Mar 2019 - Oceanographic Instrumentation: Measurement, Process & Analysis

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