Currently browsing category

ecology

Why getting dirty is good for all of us

Darwin extolled the virtues and dedicated his last works to it, few places on Earth are without it, and there is little doubt that human well-being benefits tremendously from it, but what is bioturbation?   It is sobering to think that at any time of day or night an army of invertebrates actively modify the soils and sediments beneath our feet, something that they have been doing for millions of years and which most people take for granted. Continue reading →

Limpets – My Favourite!

People often ask "So what do you work on?" and pre 2012 whenever I replied "On Limpets" they would get very excited and say "What the OYLIMPICS!!!" and I would then get a barrage of questions about how to acquire tickets!!! Thankfully since London 2012 that's all calmed down a bit. My lovely limpy, limpy do da's - that's the limpet song which can be heard being sung on rocky shores up and down the country by people dressed in rubber! Its a glamorous  job. Continue reading →

Foraminifera: The tiny and mighty

This post is reproduced from a 2014 cruise blog: http://slidesinthedeep.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/big-things-in-small-shells.html   Contrary to popular belief, euphemisms, idioms and trite sayings often have little relevance to real life. Foraminifera on the other hand, lend credibility to the notion that big things do indeed come in small packages. Foraminifera are small, single-celled marine plankton; more specifically known as Protists. Continue reading →

Polar marine biology

This week the course focused on marine life. How diverse, abundant and adaptable it is. However, there is one region where life has to deal with extra challenges. A changing light system, from 24 hours of sunlight to complete darkness for months, harsh sub-zero conditions and changes to the composition of seawater from the freezing and thawing of ice. This is of course the Polar Regions (Arctic in the north and the Antarctic in the south). Continue reading →

Vent Dominators

In this blog post, I will show you some examples of the creatures that dominate the communities at hydrothermal vents around the world.  I recommend following this link to an interactive map of vent sites around the world whilst reading this blog post, so you can navigate around each vent ‘province’ and learn more about the vents at which these animals thrive!  There is also a Google Earth file to download, if you’d like to interactively view the vent locations within this program. Continue reading →

Human footprint along marine ecosystems  

  Evidences accumulated over the last few decades reveal a growing human impact on marine ecosystems, but effects on biological communities are still largely unknown. Human activities such as fisheries, urban development, tourism, and maritime traffic, greatly influence distribution and quantity of marine litter from shores to deeper regions of continental margins, where may enter directly through a wide variety of maritime activities including disposal (e.g. Continue reading →

Fish diversity in the one of earth’s least explored environments: the mesopelagic zone

The mesopelagic zone comprises the entire water column intermediate from the epipelagic zone (up to 200 m depth) to the deep pelagic layers (bathypelagic zone), located ca. 1000 m depth extending down to 4000 m. Also defined as twilight zone, the mesopelagic zone is the transition from the upwards-epipelagic photic zone to the deep aphotic zone, where the sunlight is completely absent. Continue reading →

Red-Seeing Fish, Blue-Seeing Fish: Deep-Sea Vision Evolves

Talking about glowing sharks, here it is a very cool text published in the live science blog. "Fearsome-looking creatures that live in the near-dark to pitch-black waters of the deep sea, dragon fish wouldn't seem to have much need for eyes, let alone the ability to see color. However, some dragon fish have rapidly evolved from blue-light sensitivity to red-light sensitivity, and then back to blue again. Continue reading →

My Research: Christopher Bird

 The intensification and industrialisation of commercial fishing during the 20th century has caused depletions in many fish populations around the globe. As coastal and open water fisheries began to struggle, many fisheries expanded operations into deeper waters in search of new profitable fish stocks. Whilst most deep-water fishing operations only target a few species, such fishing gears are often associated with high levels of incidental by-catch of non-targeted species. Continue reading →