Thanks to the Trees: A Six-Century Record of California Upwelling

Coastal upwelling, or the wind-driven replacement of warm, nutrient-depleted water at the ocean’s surface with cool, nutrient-rich deep water, became more variable along the U.S. coast of California over the past 60 years than almost any other time during the past 600 years, according to a new study.  Bryan Black and colleagues used tree rings from blue oaks, some of which were more than 400 years old, as well as data on California’s fish and seabirds, to reconstruct the region’s wintertime climate over the past 576 years. This tree-ring approach could be used to interpret variability in other, similarly coupled marine-terrestrial ecosystems as well, they say.

Read more about this research from the 19 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Daniel Griffin, University of Minnesota. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Thanks to the Trees: A Six-Century Record of California Upwelling

Coastal upwelling, or the wind-driven replacement of warm, nutrient-depleted water at the ocean’s surface with cool, nutrient-rich deep water, became more variable along the U.S. coast of California over the past 60 years than almost any other time during the past 600 years, according to a new study. Bryan Black and colleagues used tree rings from blue oaks, some of which were more than 400 years old, as well as data on California’s fish and seabirds, to reconstruct the region’s wintertime climate over the past 576 years. This tree-ring approach could be used to interpret variability in other, similarly coupled marine-terrestrial ecosystems as well, they say.

Read more about this research from the 19 September issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Daniel Griffin, University of Minnesota. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Corals and Reef Fish Follow Their Noses

Efforts to restore degraded coral reefs that have been overrun by seaweed could be complicated by some new findings. Danielle Dixson and colleagues studied coral larvae and young reef fish from the coastal waters of Fiji and found that both of these aquatic drifters were attracted to chemical signals released by healthy corals and repulsed by similar cues coming from seaweed. The researchers compared water from protected areas, where fishing had been outlawed, to water from non-protected areas, where few fish—but lots of seaweed—lived. Time and time again, the researchers found that their young corals and fish chose to explore the water from protected areas while avoiding as best they could the water from non-protected areas. 

Read more about this research from the 22 August issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Danielle Dixson. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Corals and Reef Fish Follow Their Noses

Efforts to restore degraded coral reefs that have been overrun by seaweed could be complicated by some new findings. Danielle Dixson and colleagues studied coral larvae and young reef fish from the coastal waters of Fiji and found that both of these aquatic drifters were attracted to chemical signals released by healthy corals and repulsed by similar cues coming from seaweed. The researchers compared water from protected areas, where fishing had been outlawed, to water from non-protected areas, where few fish—but lots of seaweed—lived. Time and time again, the researchers found that their young corals and fish chose to explore the water from protected areas while avoiding as best they could the water from non-protected areas.

Read more about this research from the 22 August issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Danielle Dixson. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Sensors Help Catfish Hunt in the Dark

Finding food in the dark can be tricky. That may be why the Japanese sea catfish, Plotosus japonicas, evolved sensors that can detect slight changes in the water’s pH level, researchers say. John Caprio and colleagues, who identified these previously unrecognized sensors on the fish, suggest that they allow these nocturnal feeders to sense the “breathing” of their prey in the dark, murky waters they call home.

Read more about this research from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Courtesy of Kagoshima Aquarium. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Sensors Help Catfish Hunt in the Dark

Finding food in the dark can be tricky. That may be why the Japanese sea catfish, Plotosus japonicas, evolved sensors that can detect slight changes in the water’s pH level, researchers say. John Caprio and colleagues, who identified these previously unrecognized sensors on the fish, suggest that they allow these nocturnal feeders to sense the “breathing” of their prey in the dark, murky waters they call home.

Read more about this research from the 6 June issue of Science here.

[Courtesy of Kagoshima Aquarium. Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Working up the Nerve to Mate 

It takes nerve to make a move in the dating world, and now a new study in fish reports that nerves, specifically nerve cells, also play a role in a female’s inclination to mate with a male she’s known.

Read more about this research from the 3 January issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Dr. Kiyoshi Naruse (National Institute for Basic Biology). Please click here for more information.]
© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Working up the Nerve to Mate

It takes nerve to make a move in the dating world, and now a new study in fish reports that nerves, specifically nerve cells, also play a role in a female’s inclination to mate with a male she’s known.

Read more about this research from the 3 January issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Dr. Kiyoshi Naruse (National Institute for Basic Biology). Please click here for more information.]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Straight From the Mouths of the Most Primitive Jawed Vertebrates

Preserved muscle tissue on an ancient fish fossil may provide insight into the early evolution of vertebrates, according to a new study from Kate Trinajstic at Curtin University in Perth, WA, Australia, and colleagues.

Read more about this research from the 13 June issue of Science Express here.

[Image courtesy of John A. Long. Click the image for more information.]

History Lessons Needed to Keep Fish Stocks Afloat

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A new study suggests why the recovery of overexploited fish populations has been slower and less certain than researchers have expected. According to Philipp Neubauer and colleagues, who analyzed data on global fish stocks, the costs of overfishing have been greater than models have predicted and many depleted fish populations won’t be able to recover from their current status.

Read more about this research from the 19 April issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of John Manderson. Click the image for more information.]

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Human Mood-Modifiers Alter Fish Behavior Too

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Pharmaceutical drugs that end up in the world’s waterways after being excreted, flushed and treated at wastewater treatment plants may lead to unexpected ecological impacts over time, according to a new study of wild European perch. Tomas Brodin and colleagues found that the fish ate faster, became bolder and acted less social after being exposed to an anxiety-moderating drug, known as Oxazepam.

Read more about this research from the 15 February issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Bent Christensen. Click the image for more information.]

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Fast-Evolving Fish Support “Early Burst” Model

A study of fish that have evolved with unusual speed shows how high population density may encourage groups to specialize and enhance their fitness in varying ways during the early stages of adaptive radiation. The study uses the idea of adaptation as a topographic landscape, which contains peaks representing high levels of fitness and valleys representing low levels of fitness. Christopher Martin and Peter Wainwright examined the adaptive landscape of three species of Cyprinodon pupfishes, which are endemic to San Salvador Island, Bahamas.

Read more about this research from the 11 January issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Chris Martin. Click the image for more information.]

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Monitoring More Fisheries Would Pay off

Roughly 80 percent of the world’s harvested fish species aren’t currently monitored the way salmon, cod and tuna are, but such monitoring could greatly benefit many of these species, new research suggests. To determine whether fisheries that do not receive regular formal assessments are anywhere near sustainability, Chris Costello at the University of California at Santa Barbara and colleagues applied a method for estimating status based on harvest, population and ecological data to thousands of fisheries worldwide.

Read more about this research from the 27 September issue of Science Express here.

[Click the image for more information. Image © Jason Houston]

© 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Photonic Crystals Help Fish See in the Murk

An unusual eye structure helps elephantnose fish see in their dim habitat, according to Dr. Kreysing at University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and colleagues. These freshwater fish use electrosensing to navigate their dark environment, but they also depend somewhat on vision.

Read more about this research from the 29 June issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Gerhard von der Emde. Click the image for more information.]

© 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.