Fish in the Sahara? Yes, in the early Holocene

Catfish and tilapia make up many of the animal remains uncovered in the Saharan environment of the Takarkori rock shelter in southwestern Libya, according to a study published February 19, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Wim Van Neer from the the Natural History Museum in Belgium, Belgium and Savino di Lernia, Sapienza University of … Read more

Ocean fish farming in tropics and sub-tropics most impacted by climate change: UBC study

In a study published in Global Change Biology, researchers at the University of British Columbia looked at how climate change could impact 85 species of fish and molluscs that are most commonly farmed in seawater. They found that certain species like Atlantic salmon, European seabass and cobia, while certain areas like the tropics and the Arctic, … Read more

Cuttlefish eat less for lunch when they know there’ll be shrimp for dinner

When cuttlefish know that shrimp – their favourite food – will be available in the evening, they eat fewer crabs during the day. This capacity to make decisions based on future expectations reveals complex cognitive abilities. “It was surprising to see how quickly the cuttlefish adapted their eating behaviour – in only a few days … Read more

Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems face a perfect storm

A combination of climate change, extreme weather and pressure from local human activity is causing a collapse in global biodiversity and ecosystems across the tropics, new research shows. The study, published today, mapped over 100 locations where tropical forests and coral reefs have been affected by climate extremes such as hurricanes, floods, heatwaves, droughts and … Read more

Researchers track down Australia’s ‘missing’ manta rays

More than 11,000 manta ray sighting records – from scuba divers, aerial surveys and online submissions – have helped researchers better understand reef manta ray distribution around Australia, and they have confirmed ‘missing’ ray populations. The study, led by University of Queensland PhD candidate Amelia Armstrong, is the first step towards understanding the connectivity of reef … Read more

The wisdom of many nature users can produce a science-equivalent understanding of ecological relationships

In 1906, Francis Galton was at a country fair where attendees had the opportunity to guess the weight of an ox. Galton took the guesses of 787 fair-goers and found that the average guess was only one pound off of the correct weight- even when individual guesses were off base. This concept, known as “the … Read more

Going big with marine conservation

In the first days of 2020, the Pacific Ocean archipelago nation of Palau took the momentous step of protecting 80% — 500,000 square kilometers — of its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) from fishing. The move is at once a cultural tradition, a far-sighted strategy for future generations and an example of the level of conservation … Read more

The effects of microplastics on organisms in coastal areas

Microplastics (plastic particles under 5 mm) are an abundant type of debris found in salt and freshwater environments. In a Limnology & Oceanography Letters study, researchers demonstrated the transfer of microplastics through the food chain between microscopic prey and larval fish that live in coastal ecosystems. They also found that microplastic ingestion interferes with normal growth in … Read more

How fish fins evolved just before the transition to land

The new study by paleontologists from the University of Chicago, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses CT scanning to examine the shape and structure of fin rays while still encased in surrounding rock. The imaging tools allowed the researchers to construct digital 3D models of the entire fin of … Read more