just when you thought it was safe …

There have been seven shark attacks in North Carolina since June 11. This is already more than last year, when the state saw four attacks.

Although Frank J. Schwartz, a shark biologist with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says there’s too much natural variability in weather cycles to blame the recent shark attacks on global warming, George H. Burgess, the director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History. says the link is plausible.

“Clearly global climate change is a reality and it has resulted in warmer temperatures in certain places at certain times,” says Burgess. “As warming is expected to increase, it will likely bring more sharks farther north and entice more people to get into the water, which will lead to more bites.”

National Geographic, 29 Jun 2015

 

 

whales wither away

small_whale

Scientists on the US Pacific coast are increasingly observing emaciated gray whales in what they fear is a sign that global warming is wreaking havoc in the whales’ Bering Sea summer feeding grounds.

The gray whales are migrating later, not going as far north, and are producing fewer calves, Steven Swartz, head researcher with the National Marine Fisheries Service told AFP.

Swartz, who with his team meticulously photograph and identify the migrating whales, estimates that at least ten percent of the population is seriously skinny.

Instead of looking plump coming off the summer months, they have noticeable depressions behind the head, with scapulas visible through the skin, and concave sections above the tail, he added. “This is enough to cause alarm.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Jul 2007

climate change turns fish into lemmings!

Continued exposure to carbon dioxide seriously compromises the safety of small reef fish, with research showing they lose their survival instincts and become vulnerable to predators as seawater becomes more acidic.

The study by Australian and American scientists, conducted in naturally occurring carbon dioxide seeps in Papua New Guinea’s Milne Bay, found an acidic environment made reef fish become attracted to the smell of their predators.

Results showed that more than 90 per cent of the time, fish in these waters swam into areas where predators were. Fish studied in non-acidified water consistently avoided areas with predators.

The work by scientists from the institute, James Cook University and the Georgia Institute of Technology is in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday.

Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Apr 2014

jelly balls to the rescue!

Vast numbers of marine “jelly balls” now appearing off the Australian east coast could be part of the planet’s mechanism for combating global warming.

The jellyfish-like animals are known as salps and their main food is phytoplankton (marine algae) which absorbs the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the top level of the ocean. This in turn comes from the atmosphere.

Mark Baird of the CSIRO said salps were notoriously difficult for scientists to study in the laboratory and consequently little attention has been paid to their ecological role until recently.

Dr Baird was part of a CSIRO and University of NSW marine survey last month that found a massive abundance of salps in the waters around Sydney. They were up to 10 times what they were when first surveyed 70 years ago.

Brisbane Times, 17 Nov 2008

save the whales!

whaleSouthern Ocean sperm whales have emerged as an unexpected ally in the fight against global warming, removing the equivalent carbon emissions from 40,cars each year thanks to their faeces, a study has found. The cetaceans have been previously fingered as climate culprits because they breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2) the most common grrenhouse gas. The study is lead authored by Trish Lavery of the School of Biological Sciences at Flinders University at Adelaide.Daily Telegraph, 16 Jun 2010

southern fish given the elbow!

crowded_fishClimate change is expected to considerably change Australia’s marine environment with fish stocks moving further south as ocean temperatures rise, a new CSIRO report warns.

Report co-author Dr Alistair Hobday said that global warming could have positive and negative impacts on fish numbers around the country. “The southeast of Australia will experience ocean warming that will allow some fish species to move south into temperate waters,” he said.

“That could have, for example, a positive impact for recreational tuna fishermen. The negative impact would be that southern fish species are pushed too far south, meaning their numbers will decline because they will not have a suitable habitat to survive in.”
The Age (Australia), 4 Apr 2007

a stunned mullet

Climate change is damaging fish brains and causing them to lose their survival instinct, researchers warn.

Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is absorbed into ocean waters, where it dissolves and lowers the pH of the water. Fishes sensory systems were impaired by the change, causing neurons in the brain to misfire and they were unble to distinguish predators.

‘These results verify our laboratory findings,’ said Danielle Dixson, an assistant professor in the School of Biology at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.
Daily Mail, 16 Apr 2014

worm led team looks for fishy answers

Just a few years after scientists warned of impending ocean apocalypse, a handful of simple management tools have pulled some of Earth’s fisheries back from the edge of collapse, according to a review of global fish populations and catch data.

“In most cases, when you reduce fishing pressure enough, the stock rebounds. But there’s a breaking point beyond which the system has changed so much that it may not recover,” said Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Canada’s Dalhousie University.

In a paper published Thursday in Science, a Worm-led team of fisheries experts updated those findings, providing the most comprehensive analysis to date of global fisheries.
Wired, 30 Jul 2009

stay at home coral

As the ocean gets warmer, baby coral are becoming more reluctant to leave home. A Queensland study has found that as ocean temperatures rise more coral larvae may remain on their birth reefs rather than exploring the underwater world and finding a new system on which to settle.

Study co-author, James Cook University Professor Sean Connoly, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE), said this will make it more difficult for larger systems to recover after cyclones and coral bleaching because fewer larvae will disperse from other reefs.

“The loss of connectivity can make reef systems such as the Great Barrier Reef more vulnerable,” Mr Connolly, said.
Illawarra Mercury (Australia), 30 Apr 2014 – screencopy held by this website

crocodile invasion – or maybe not

crocodileA Warming World Could Be a Crocodile-Infested One …there is one species that stands to gain from climate change: crocodiles. The heat-loving reptiles could thrive as the Earth gets hotter, growing not just in numbers but also in species variety, say British and U.S researchers in a new study.

“The past is the key to the present and the future,” said study coauthor Jon Tennant, a paleontologist at Imperial College London. “The only way we can really predict how future climate change is going to impact different groups of animals is by looking at historical fossil records revealed to us.”

“It won’t be an army of crocodiles popping up overnight, but we might see crocodiles in places we haven’t seen them before,” Tennant said. “It’s not like the movies where crocodiles take over the Earth, but we now have 23 species. In the future, we could see many different forms, or we might only see one or two new species.”
Yahoo News, 2 Oct 2015

salps move in for the krill

Human activity is driving changes in the world’s oceans at a rate not seen for several million years, a series of reports has concluded.

Oscar Schofield, of Rutgers University in the US, said environmental change had been “profound” in the West Antarctic Peninsula and was altering the food chain on which whales in this polar region depend.

Blooms of phytoplankton, or microscopic plants, had decreased by 12 per cent in the past 30 years, and the size of the cells had also shrunk.

This had allowed jellyfish-like creatures called salps, which find it easier to feed on the small cells, to start to replace shrimp-like krill, on which whales depend for food. The Age (Australia), 18 Jun 2010

damselfish in distress!

A study from scientists at James Cook University shows increased carbon dioxide levels impaired the senses of spiny damselfish, which live in the Great Barrier Reef.

Fish exposed to higher carbon dioxide levels – which are expected to increase in the oceans for several decades – showed impaired cognitive function, learning difficulties, slowed visual capacity and altered sense of smell and sound.

The damselfish also lose their ability to recognise threats, including the smells of predators when exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide – and will even become attracted to them instead. Sydney Morning Herald, 6 Oct 2014

crocodiles more choosy than previously thought!

Australia’s saltwater crocodiles appear to be in hot water, with a University of Queensland study linking climate warming to shorter dives, putting the crocs’ survival at risk.

Professor Craig Franklin of the UQ School of Biological Sciences said saltwater crocodiles exposed to long-term elevated water temperature spent less time submerged once water temperature exceeded 31.5 degrees Celsius.

Professor Franklin said further research on other crocodile performance traits that could influence the ability to survive future climate change was needed before scientists could fully understand the effects of elevated water temperatures.University of Queensland News, 16 Dec 2015

thanks to ddh

invasion – shell-crushing king crabs

King crabs may soon become high-level predators in Antarctic marine ecosystems where they haven’t played a role in tens of millions of years, according to a new study led by Florida Institute of Technology.

Lead author Richard Aronson, professor and head of Florida Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences, said the rising temperature of the ocean west of the Antarctic Peninsula — one of the most rapidly warming places on the planet — should make it possible for king crab populations to move to the shallow continental shelf from their current deep-sea habitat within the next several decades.

“Because other creatures on the continental shelf have evolved without shell-crushing predators, if the crabs moved in they could radically restructure the ecosystem,” Aronson said.
Science Daily, 28 Sep 2015

thanks to ddh

fish getting bigger but growing slower

Climate change is leading to bigger fish in shallow water, but they are growing slower at greater depths, CSIRO research in Tasmania suggests. These observations suggest that global climate change has enhanced some elements of productivity of shallow-water stocks but at the same time reduced the productivity and possibly the resilience of deep water stocks. The Australian research was published by the US National Academy of Sciences this week.
The Age, 27 Apr 2007

shrinking salmon set to soar

A new study released by Vancity says there will be a significant decline in the province’s salmon stock within the next five decades due to climate change and the drop in fish numbers would result in soaring prices.

“This is a really tangible way for people to understand the impact of climate change,” says Rashid Sumaila, one of the study’s authors who has been working with the UBC’s fisheries research unit for over 20 years.

Sumaila is urging all levels of government in Canada to take action. He says while projections are set for 2050, the move to reduce carbon dioxide emissions has to start now.

He also says the public is equally responsible for taking the initiative for change. “Make sure your carbon footprint is as minimal as you can. Get to your representatives, let them know this is serious.”
CBC (British Columbia) News, 6 Jul 2015

thanks to Joe Public

watch out for giant crabs!

Researchers from the University of Southampton have drawn together 200 years’ worth of oceanographic knowledge to investigate the distribution of a notorious deep-sea giant – the king crab.

The results, published this week in the Journal of Biogeography, reveal temperature as a driving force behind the divergence of a major seafloor predator; globally, and over tens of millions of years of Earth’s history.

“Recent range extensions of king crabs into Antarctica, as well as that of the red king crab Paralithodes camtchaticus in the Barents Sea and along the coast off Norway emphasise the responsiveness of this group to rapid climate change,” said research student Sally Hall.
Science Daily, 19/7/09

fish getting smaller

………………………………….
Global warming is likely to shrink the size of fish by as much as a quarter in coming decades, according to a groundbreaking study of the world’s oceans.

Researchers modelled the effect of rising ocean temperatures on the growth and distribution of more than 600 fish species around the world and found they were expected to shrink by 14-24 per cent by 2050.

Sydney Morning Herald, 2 Oct 2012

fish getting bigger

The tuna industry says climate change is bringing benefits. The chief executive of the Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Association, Brian Jeffriess, says Port Lincoln crews in South Australia are reporting an excellent quality and size catch. He says it can be partly attributed to the effects of climate change on the waters of the Great Australian Bight.
ABC News (Australia, 11 July 2008
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chaos as ocean fills with dizzy fish

Young coral reef fish with misshapen ear bones are more likely to get lost and die, and exposure to warmer waters makes the problem worse, according to a study of fish living around Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Monica Gagliano at the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, Queensland. Gagliano says that as-yet-unpublished work shows that exposing adult reef fish to higher water temperatures and increasingly acid water – both of which are associated with global warming – increases the percentage of offspring born with asymmetrical otoliths.

New Scientist, 6 Mar 2006, ‘Global warming poses deaf threat to tropical fish’

thanks to Andrew Mark Harding

cannibalistic lobsters

First, rising sea temperatures brought on by global warming are encouraging the crustaceans to grow quicker and reproduce more often, says Noah Oppenheim, a marine biology graduate student at the University of Maine.

Second, Oppenheim tells Mother Jones, over-fishing has rid the ocean of the lobster’s natural enemies, which include cod, herring, and other fish.The result is a lot of lobsters that have nothing eat — which is why, as footage taken by Oppenheim shows, they have resorted to cannibalism.
TheWeek.com, 24 Jul 2013

thanks to Russell Cook

invasion – Stingray

A stingray that kills its prey with a giant electric shock has been found off the coast of Britain, it emerged today. Now experts fear shoals of marbled stingray – a relative of the fish that killed Australian crocodile hunter Steve Irwin – will invade Britain this summer due to global warming.
www.mailonsunday.co.uk, 19 Jun 2008

invasion – The non-native sea squirt

While the jellyfish invasion has helped decimate the winter flounder population in Narragansett Bay, the non-native sea squirt may overrun the local oyster and blue mussel communities. ”There is evidence of jellyfish explosions around the world that appear related to the adverse impact of human activities, and those include global warming,” said a representative of the New York City-based Natural Resources Defence Council.
The Boston Globe, 2/7/02.