Cuttings (short and sweet):
Flotsam (what we’re obsessed with right now)
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Oct. 3, 2017. U.S. Navy Photo
Pollination. I think most people understand why this is important (or maybe I should say, I hope). To put it simply, the process of pollination facilitates reproduction in plants by transferring pollen from one plant to another. In the terrestrial world, this can be mediated by physical forcing (e.g., wind) or by animals (e.g., insects) – and its why people are freaking out about the loss of bees due to pesticides (because they are a primary pollinator), but I digress. Until relatively recently, pollination by animals was not thought to occur in the ocean. Unlike on land, where most flowering plants rely on creatures to carry pollen, plant reproduction in an aquatic world was surmised to rely exclusively on currents and tides. However, a team of researchers led by marine biologist Brigitta van Tussenbroek revoked the long standing paradigm that pollen in the sea is transported only by water, discovering and documenting the process of zoobenthophilous pollination (a term they coined).
Gamarid amphipod feeding on pollen of a male
flower of the seagrass Thalassia testudinum at night. (Photo credit: Tussenbroek et al. 2012)
#SciFund is a month-and-a-half long initiative to raise funds for a variety of scientific research projects. Project leaders post a project description and an appeal for funds, and members of the public are invited to make small donations to projects that they deem worthy. Donations come with rewards such as access to project logs, images from fieldwork, your name in the acknowledgements of publications, among other possibilities. Many of these projects are marine or conservation themed. Over the next week, we’ll highlight some of our favorites. Please take a look at these projects and, should you so desire, send some financial support their way. If you do make a donation, let them know how you found out about their project and leave a comment (anonymous if you’d like) on this post letting us know.
Behold, the Power of Seagrass!
Ross Whippo is a graduate student at the University of British Colombia interested in the ecology of northeast Pacific subtidal zone. His research explores the connections between seagrass habitat and the surrounding environment. He is looking at the export of seagrass into marine food webs using a combination of biomass surveys and biomarkers to trace energy flow.
Photo by Andrew Huang, http://www.rockethub.com/projects/3795-behold-the-power-of-seagrass
I like that this project combines classical ecology–actually measuring the biomass of seagrass derived materials moving through ecosystems–and more modern food web studies that use biomarkers to quantify the contribution of seagrass primary production at various trophic levels. Go check out Ross’s project page and consider kicking a little rocket fuel his way.