There, the die-off had a clear ecological trickle-down effect, called a trophic cascade by biologists. After the sea stars died, populations of their favorite prey, green sea urchins, quadrupled. The urchins quickly gobbled up kelp, reducing by 80 percent. Undersea kelp forests are critical to near-shore ocean ecosystems, providing cover and food for many marine species.
Like in other countries, some Irish fishermen have been complaining that seals are increasingly eating up valuable commercial fish stocks, but a new scientific study says that’s generally not the case, with the possible exception of wild Atlantic salmon.
The work done by researchers with Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, shows that seals don’t have a significant impact on herring, mackerel, cod, haddock, whiting and 30 other species caught for commercial purposes along the south and west coasts of Ireland, from counties Galway to Waterford. Continue reading “Do seals compete with commercial fishermen?”→
Unique student research project tracks immune response to virus at genetic level
Biological sleuthing by a group of young marine-disease researchers from around the country may help solve the mystery of a massive sea star die-off along the West Coast.
Millions of the animals have died the past few years. Scientists still don’t why. They suspect a common ocean virus is at fault, and the new study, published this week in PLOS ONE, has contributed key information about the sea stars’ immune response when infected with this virus, which causes the marine creatures to develops white lesions on its limbs and within days dissolve or into a gooey mass. Continue reading “Study offer new clues in sea star wasting epidemic”→
‘We may have to live with smaller cod stocks if we want to protect our seals’
FRISCO — Efforts to rebuild commercially important cod stocks off the west coast of Scotland have been hampered by hungry seals, scientists said. The research by marine biologists at the University of Strathclyde suggests that, as fishermen have cut back on their catches by half, predation by seals has rapidly increased.
FRISCO — Biologists looking at 40 years of fisheries data from Puget Sound have documented a dramatic shift in marine species. Key fish in the food chain, like herring and smelt, have declined, while the number of jellyfish has increased exponentially, to the detriment of the marine ecosystem.