David Shiffman • Thursday Afternoon Dredging • December 8, 2016 •
Cuttings (short and sweet):
- Rays chew. Who knew? From this paper by Kolmann and friends
From Kolmann and friends 2016, “Always chew your food. Freshwater stingrays use mastication to process insect prey.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
- Follow Dr. Leanne Currey @LeanneMCurrey, a postdoc working on the Global FinPrint project, on twitter! Follow her for great videos of sharks and other marine life approaching baited underwater video stations around the world.
- Our friends at the Fisheries Blog surveyed their readers about their peer review habits. Do these results match your experience?
Kersey Sturdivant • climate change, Fun Science Friday, Natural Science, Open Science, Science • December 2, 2016 •
Science brings us many wonderful things (honestly if you enjoy the benefits of the modern era, go out and hug a scientist). One of humanities age old desires is the ability to convert something invaluable, or a nuisance, into something desirable. The old midas touch if you will. Recently some scientist stumbled onto the process of converting CO2, a primary culprit of anthropogenic climate change, into alcohol… though not the kind you drink, the kind that humanity could use as fuel.
(Photo credit: Getty + Space Images)
Producing fuel from CO2 is huge because it lets us take a nuisance compound, and converts it into a productive one. This was accomplished by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee by using common materials (copper and carbon), but arranging them with nanotechnology. The researchers were attempting to find a series of chemical reactions that could turn CO2 into a useful fuel, such as ethanol. They figured they would go from CO2 to methanol, and then work out the logistics of going from methanol to ethanol, when they realized the first step in their process managed to do it all by itself. Science for the win!
David Shiffman • Thursday Afternoon Dredging • December 1, 2016 •
Cuttings (short and sweet):
How a sawfish uses its saw, from Wueringer and friends (2012), the function of the sawfish saw, Current Biology
Andrew David Thaler • #OceanOptimism, A Renewed Sense of Wonder, Conservation, Education • November 25, 2016 •
That ambassador is Bathynomus giganteus, the giant, deep-sea isopod.
A giant deep sea isopod on the sea floor. Photo via NOAA Photobank.
Conservation has long had the concept of Flagship Species—popular, charismatic species that serve as rallying points for conservation awareness and action. Formalized within the framework of conservation marketing, flagship species are focused around particular goals and audiences. Think of the WWF’s Giant Panda, Polar Bears and a thousand different arctic or climate change campaigns, or even the American Bald Eagle, whose decline galvanized the country into action. These animals are iconic. They connect people to species and ecosystems in crisis. They are Flagship Species.
The Giant Deep-sea Isopod is not a flagship species. The Giant Deep-sea Isopod addresses a much more fundamental issue: despite being the largest, most diverse ecosystem on the planet, most people have no direct connection, no frame of reference, for the deep sea. (more…)