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Steller’s sea cow – candidate for de-extinction?

Today in Evolunch, we discussed de-extinction.  One species we evaluated for post-extinction-reintroduction via the magic of genetics is the Steller’s sea cow, extinct in the wild since 1768 (less than 30 years after it was “discovered”) . Below is an excerpt from The Unnatural History of the Sea by Callum Roberts that describes the discovery and subsequent […]


Living Shorelines

Living Shorelines

Jared Brumbaugh of the eastern NC NPR affiliate did a great piece and interview with Rachel Gittman (a 5th year PhD student in my lab) about her work on salt marsh conservation and living shorelines. Protecting shorelines with natural, vegetative barriers is not only better for the ecosystem, it’s a more effective means of slowing shoreline […]


When sponges take over

Below is a guest post by UNC student Kati Moore: Overfishing, pollution, and most of all, climate change, are destroying corals, causing the collapse of ecosystems and fishing industries around the world. “Corals are the backbone of the entire ecosystem,” said Emily Darling, a marine and climate change researcher at the University of North Carolina […]


Interview with Abel Valdivia about lionfish and biotic resistance

Interview with Abel Valdivia about lionfish and biotic resistance

I LOVE this interview PeerJ just posted (and excerpted below) with Bruno lab PhD student Abel Valdivia about our new paper on lionfish and biotic resistance.   PJ: What were your motivations for undertaking this research? AV: The invasion of lionfish into the Caribbean basin over the past ten years provides a unique possibility to study marine […]


NOAA to close key fisheries lab in Beaufort, NC

The excellent Fisheries Blog has a great piece on the proposed closing of the facility on Pivers Island.  I was shocked when I first heard this news.  Duke/UNC organized a congressional visit to the facility that could change minds. Despite the incredible work done by the approximately 100 NOAA Beaufort Laboratory employees (see page 8), […]


Graph of the day: projected coral bleaching under different RCPs

Graph of the day: projected coral bleaching under different RCPs

From van Hooidonk et al. 2013 PDF. Learn about RCPs here.


Really Dumb Idea #247: Training sharks to eat dead lionfish

Below is a repost from the graduate student-written Under The C blog by Serena Hackerott.  Since the lionfish invasion hit the news, people have suggested that native predators will eat and control invasive lionfish. For more information check out our previous posts The Great Debate: Predators vs Lionfish and Who’s “Lyin’” about Lionfish?. But with current evidence suggesting […]


New report: what we know about climate change

Below is a guest post by Dana Haine, a K-12 Science Education Manager at the Environmental Resource Program (ERP) here at UNC. A new report on climate change was released by AAAS yesterday.  According to the New York Times, “the language in the 18-page report, called “What We Know,” is sharper, clearer and more accessible than perhaps anything the scientific community […]


How can we represent complex results in transition journals?

Below is a cool piece, reposted from the Wares Lab.  I run into this issue too and I think the answer is modern journals like PeerJ that allow movies plugged right into the paper.    When I first started doing science, visualization of our data and results was a bit easier. Sequence a gene from […]


The 10 warmest years on record globally have all happened since 1998

The 10 warmest years on record globally have all happened since 1998

The dangers of data deficiency

The dangers of data deficiency

Below is a guest post by Chris Mull, a PhD student in the Dulvy Lab at Simon Fraser University.  Chris studies shark biology and evolutionary neuroecology.  You can read more about his research here. Over this past week science headlines have been flooded with the news that one-quarter of all chondrichthyans (sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras) are […]


Graph of the day: climate velocity of marine taxa

Graph of the day: climate velocity of marine taxa

From Pinsky et al. 2013 Science “Marine Taxa Track Local Climate Velocities”. Predicted and observed northward latitudinal shifts of marine taxa in the N Atlantic and N Pacific oceans. The velocity of climate (as first described by Burrows et al. 2012 PDF for the oceans) is an imperfect but fairly good predictor of geographic shift in […]


Graph of the day: manta population trends

Graph of the day: manta population trends

From “Global Population Trends and Human Use Patterns of Manta and Mobula Rays”  Ward-Paige et al. 2013 PLOS ONE


Parliament of Fools

new from Monbiot: The US disease has arrived in Britain: representatives waging an all-out war against science. By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 17th September 2013 A “flat-earth love-in”. That’s how one MP described the debate he witnessed in parliament last week(1). The politics with which citizens of the US, Canada and Australia are […]


Graph of the day

Graph of the day

Oceanic whitetip sharks!

By the amazing Austin Gallagher


Galapagos field site

Galapagos field site

How about a Galapagos picture break. This is Lindsey Carr’s field site on Fernandina.  In this bay a crazy diversity of critters coexist, including hermatypic corals and penguins, orcas and white tip sharks, sea lions, marine iguanas and many-a-sea cucumber.  This is one of the few places I’ve been in the Galapagos that is truly […]


Galapagos flightless cormorant

Galapagos flightless cormorant

How about a Galapagos picture break.


Call me coral


Christmas tree worm

Christmas tree worm

Christmas tree worms are  polychaetes (marine segmented worms) that live in the skeletons of corals. They retract their feeding appendage (seen above) when threatened.  You can see the little trap door that closes behind them on the upper right   I took this close up photo off the central Pacific island of Raiatea while on a cruise on the SSV Robert C […]


How high will the oceans rise?

How high will the oceans rise?

There is a nice article in the NYT today by Justin Gillis about new research designed to answer this question.  The team is identifying fossil beaches from the pliocene (~ 3 millions years ago) that were formed when the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide was (naturally) what it is now (not naturally).  Then, as now, the […]


2012 will be the warmest year on record in the USA

2012 will be the warmest year on record in the USA

read more at ClimateCentral or NOAA or ClimateProgress The January-November period was the warmest first 11 months of any year on record for the contiguous United States. The national temperature of 57.1°F was 3.3°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0°F above the previous record warm January-November of 1934. During the 11-month period, 18 states were record warm and an additional 24 states were top […]


Climate 101 with Bill Nye