Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow on the beach

It seems that the Outer Banks are getting more snow every year.  Two inches fell yesterday, and there are some good videos of snow on the beach:

And a winter wonderland through the woods on the sound side of Southern Shores, north of Kitty Hawk:

The videos are courtesy of my Mom.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ocean Conveyer in the news

The ice caps are melting, and we are all still probably doomed.  But the textbook version of the Great Ocean Conveyer may need some fine-tuning.  The release of floats in the deep Atlantic counter current (below the Gulf Stream) shows that this water may not move as predicted.  The new understanding of this current will lead to revised models for Conveyer flow and its effects on global climate.

And remember DDT, the once popular insecticide banned in the 1970 due to its propensity to thin bird egg shells and other various toxic effects.  Apparently lots of it was sucked down into the conveyer, and it is now slowly being released back into the atmosphere.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Can animals mix the ocean?

You might think that it takes some pretty big forces to have a significant effect on water movement in the ocean.  The sun and moon, winds, temperature and salinity produce tides, waves and currents, and in turn affect primary production and the distribution of species.  But what effects do marine animals themselves have on the mixing of ocean water?  Quite a bit, according to a recent paper in Nature.

Check out the video:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Summer research in marine biology

Our Ashland Science News blog has a new post listing a number of summer research internships in marine biology.  These internships pay you to do laboratory work at scenic, coastal marine research stations around the country.  If you want to stay a little closer to home, the post also describes opportunities in freshwater biology research at Stone Laboratories in Put-In-Bay.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The geology behind the tragic Haitian earthquake

The Christian Science Monitor had an excellent piece yesterday on the complicated geology of Hispaniola, the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  Two strike-slip faults, similar to the famous San Andreas fault of California, run through Haiti due to the movements of the North American and Caribbean Plates.  While the Easterly Lesser Antilles were formed due to subduction of the more dense North American Plate under the Caribbean plate, both plates are of equal density near Hispaniola, leading to a slip fault instead.  Built up pressure in the fault led to this week's terrible earthquake, and further research is needed to better understand and predict future movements of these faults.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Should you become a Marine Biologist?

Ah, the proud, the few, the marine biologists.  You may enjoy this sage advice from a famous ichthyologist and marine biologist, Milton Love, from the University of California at Santa Barbara:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Welcome to Marine Biology

We will be using this blog to explore and share information about diverse areas of marine biology.  There are lots of great science web resources that will add to the material we cover in class, and this blog will give you a chance to learn more about topics that interest you.