A disco clam shows off it's bright red tissue and flashing display. Lindsey Dougherty, University of Colorado at Boulder Biology Oceanography 

Disco Clam, Colorful Mystery

By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) Dazzling bright-red tentacles first lured Lindsey Dougherty to the study of disco clams, which are found in coral reefs in the tropical waters off the coast of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. In a recent study, Dougherty’s research team found that the disco clam’s colorful tissues are noxious (unpleasant or distasteful) and are involved in its chemical defense against one of its predators. This is the first study to demonstrate that bivalve tissues can chemically deter predators. Most bivalves, such as clams, mussels, and oysters, are dull in…

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marine mammals Marine and Freshwater Biology Oceanography 

Marine Mammals Need a Voice in the Fishing Industry

Marine mammals such as dolphins, porpoises, and whales are often injured or killed by commercial fishing. New policies are needed to reduce the harm. By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) You might feel satisfied with your consumer choice after buying fish with a “dolphin-friendly” label. But you might want to look closer. It is likely that your tuna fishery is not actually friendly to dolphins, because most “sustainable” fishing labels do not consider the welfare of marine mammals, an issue that has long been neglected from fishing policies. The well-being of marine…

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mass extinction events Environment Oceanography Paleontology 

The Forgotten Mass Extinction

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Yes, we are in a mass extinction event Recent research has spotted a new major mass extinction, termed the “end-Guadalupian (259.8 Ma),” according to a scientific paper in the journal Historical Biology. Previously, scientists knew of only five mass extinctions in the history of Earth: the end-Ordovician (443.8 Ma), the Late Devonian (372.2 Ma), the end-Permian (251.9 Ma), the end-Triassic (201.4 Ma), and the end-Cretaceous (66 Ma). Our current biodiversity crisis has been called the sixth mass extinction, but with these new findings it will probably…

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Oceanography SciStarter Blog 

Diving into Citizen Science with Ocean Sanctuaries

by Michael Bear Since 2000, I’ve been an avid scuba diver in Southern California. When the Yukon, a 366 ft. long Canadian warship, sunk off the coast of San Diego in July of 2000, it became an artificial reef for divers to explore, piquing my interest in and igniting a lifelong passion for diving. In late 2006, my dive buddy, Barbara Lloyd, and I found ourselves at a crossroads. Both of us had earned various diving certifications, up to and including Rescue Diver and Master Diver. We had logged over…

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