243 news posts related to Marine Science

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Luke Tornabene: Curator and Ichthyology Professor

Luke Tornabene

In 2017, University of Washington ichthyologist Luke Tornabene was inside a small submersible called Idabell near the island of Roatan, Honduras. Sitting next to him were a masters’ student in his lab named Rachel Manning, and a pilot. They were collecting samples of marine life 550 feet deep when they spotted an unfamiliar bright blue and yellow fish. “We knew it was something new before we even got it into the collection tube,” Tornabene says, excitement still clear in his voice. 

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Resident orcas’ appetite likely reason for decline of big Chinook salmon

Orca and Chinook

Killer whales prefer to eat only the biggest, juiciest Chinook salmon they can find. The larger the fish, the more energy a whale can get for its meal. Each year these top ocean predators consume more than 2.5 million adult Chinook salmon along the West Coast. Except for the endangered southern resident population in Washington, all other fish-eating orca populations that live along the coast, called “residents,” are growing in number.  

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For some corals, meals can come with a side of microplastics

Researcher in lab studying coral

Tiny microplastic particles are about as common in the ocean today as plastic is in our daily lives. Synthetic clothing, containers, bottles, plastic bags and cosmetics all degrade and release microplastics into the environment. Corals and other marine organisms are eating microplastics that enter the waterway. Studies in this emerging field show some harmful effects, but it’s largely unknown how this ubiquitous material is impacting ocean life. A new experiment by the University of Washington has found that some corals are more likely to eat microplastics when they are consuming other food, yet microplastics alone are undesirable. 

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Swordfish as oceanographers? Satellite tags allow research of ocean’s ‘twilight zone’ off Florida

University of Washington researchers tagging a swordfish

Researchers from the University of Washington are using high-tech tags to record the movements of swordfish — big, deep-water, migratory, open-ocean fish that are poorly studied — and get a window into the ocean depths they inhabit. The researchers tagged five swordfish in late August off the coast of Miami: Max, Simone, Anthony, Rex and Oliver. Their movements can now be viewed in near-real time. 

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Creepy, slimy and flat-out gross: marine edition

Cymothoidae

To commemorate the season of all things spooky, gross and disturbing, we’ve compiled a list of some of the creepiest creatures to be found in the waters of the Pacific Northwest. To kick things off, we dip our toe into the salty waters of the Salish sea, where UW’s Friday Harbor Laboratories (FHL) are situated. These labs make the ideal setting to study the marine world, and provided us with no shortage of horrors to include in this list. 

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