May another month of research and sustainability tips be with you!
MAY 5: RESEARCH SUMMARY - ATTACK ON ABALONE
Abalone face many extremes while living in the intertidal zone, including ever-changing turbidity and salinity levels. Worsening human impacts could make these changes even more extreme, negatively impacting abalone populations. In this experiment, researchers exposed two types of abalone eggs to various salinities and turbidites to see how they would be affected. At both low salinity stress and high turbidity stress, the abalone hatchlings had high development abnormality rates and low survival rates.
RESEARCH: Short-term fluctuations in salinity and turbidity: effects on the embryonic stage of two abalone species, Haliotis discus discus and Haliotis gigantea. Pham et al. 2022.
MAY 6: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - SHELLFISH SAVIORS
Abalone are heavily desired for their yummy taste and beautiful shells. Unfortunately, White Abalone and Black Abalone species are both endangered from overharvesting and are protected under the Endangered Species Act. There are sustainable sources of abalone though! Brown lip, Greenlip, and Roe Abalone are all certified sustainable to the Marine Stewardship Council’s Fisheries Standard. Be a shellfish savior and check out the MSC webpage for more sustainable shellfish sources!
MAY 12: RESEARCH SUMMARY - WHALE WONDERS
In a paper released last year, scientists tagged blue whales in the Southern Ocean to track their dives and used acoustic sound measurements to show how much krill the whales were eating on their dives. Using this technology, they were able to calculate that mysticetes (whales that feed using baleen filters) cycle 1,200 tonnes of iron per year from the deep sea to the sea surface. Protecting whales is important to support productivity in the ocean!
MAY 13: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - BE WHALE AWARE
Whales are protected in most places around the world, but what do you actually know about the rules and regulations? Familiarize yourself with the rules with The Pacific Whale Foundation - they have a Be Whale Aware page on their website where you can learn about the rules so you know how to protect whales and how to alert people if you see the rules being broken or abused. Check out their website to learn more!
By protecting whales, we can continue to support healthy productivity and nutrient cycling in the ocean for a more resilient and full ocean.
MAY 19: RESEARCH SUMMARY - INSIGHT INTO THE PAST
Due to the coelacanth's morphological similarities to its fossil ancestors, scientists have used it to study the evolutionary jump from ocean-based life to land-based life. Research confirmed that this fish does seem to evolve slower than other vertebrates. The reason for this is unknown, but a static habitat and a lack of predation could be a contributing factor to a lower need for adaptation.
This same research also concluded that the closest living fish to the tetrapod ancestor is the lungfish, not the coelacanth, BUT the coelacanth is still important to our understanding of this transition. New genetic sequencing techniques have allowed researchers to study evolutionary rates and compare proteins and gene sequences in order to further understand how a complex organism like a vertebrate can change its way of life.
RESEARCH: The African coelacanth genome provides insights into tetrapod evolution. Amemiya et. al. 2013
MAY 20: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - KNOWING YOUR WORLD
Nobody should expect to be an expert on everything, but it's always good to have some curiosity about the ocean around you!
In 1938, Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, the curator of a small natural history museum in South Africa, found a large, strange looking fish among some specimens delivered to her by a local trawler. As it turned out, she’d just made one of the biggest zoological finds of the century!
Next time you head out into the ocean, perhaps you too can find something new! It’s always great to look up the common species of an area before visiting, and who knows, if you bring a camera with you, you may see something nobody’s ever seen before!