What’s making waves this week?

Hello all and welcome to the inauguration of Sea Snacks, my blog about marine biology and the science of the seas! I’m starting with what will, unless I forget, become a regular feature: a weekly news roundup. I’ll be covering whatever’s oceanic, scientific and new each week with this fixture. First comes a story about […]

The Thames: Back from the Dead?

Dead fish after an overflow event. Image: Thames Anglers Conservancy. There once was a time when the Thames was teeming with life. Otters, eels, and even salmon were abundant. But time has not been kind to the river, and it has been subjected to the worst consequences of human development. The use and abuse of […]

A Sense of Magnetism

The Summer 2012 issue of I, Science took a look at perception, discussing senses and their limitations. However, one sense that was not touched upon was that of magnetism, called ‘magnetoception’. The way magnets attract and repel things, or even levitate them (most notably frogs), gives magnetism the aura of the artificial, or the quality […]

Fish Go GaGa For Ginger Gene

  There may be plenty of fish in the sea but the medaka knows what it likes. A single gene mutation that causes the Japanese Killifish to be born a drab grey colour has proved to be a turn-off to members of the opposite sex. By over-expressing the ‘ginger gene’ in the medaka ‘super attractive’ bright […]

Science Behind the Photo #19

  There can be few species on Earth about which more myths exist than piranhas. Piranhas have an aggressive image as flesh-eaters, able to dilacerate a human body in seconds. While piranhas do occasionally attack humans, this is only usually when water levels are low and there has never been an official recorded death due […]

Science Behind the Photo #18

    Coral reefs around the world are rapidly being degraded by a number of human activities including over-fishing, coastal development, and the introduction of sewage fertiliser and sediment. Climate change is also a major cause of coral reef destruction. Coral reefs are often described as “the rainforests of the sea”, as they are home […]

Science Behind the Photo #15

Some shocking statistics about the world’s rivers: Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water courses. (Source: World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)) In developing countries, 70 percent of industrial wastes are dumped untreated into waters where they pollute the usable water supply. (Source: WWAP) Projected increases in fertilizer use for […]

Hiding behind nature

Hide and seek goes on just about everywhere. It’s a simple case of looking hard enough. Camouflage allows organisms of all shapes and sizes to remain unnoticed by their predators or prey. Obvious examples include a tiger’s stripes or a leopard’s spots, but let’s take a closer look at some more unusual cases of visual […]

Plight of the Penguins

I realise that our blogs have been somewhat penguin-heavy this week and I can assure you that this was in no way planned (at least not on my behalf). I had originally intended this blog to be about the 25th anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. However, faced with the prospect of being branded […]

Copycats

Apart from a few eccentric Germans, being eaten is probably the last thing any of us would ever like to have happen to us. The same is true throughout the rest of the animal kingdom, of course, with millions of adaptations evolving to help prevent such an occurrence happening. Many of these adaptations are pretty […]