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Latest Plankton Stories

2011-10-18 13:14:01

Ciliary beating of Platynereis gives insights into an ancestral state of nervous system evolution As planktonic organisms the larvae of the marine annelid Platynereis swim freely in the open water. They move by activity of their cilia, thousands of tiny hair-like structures forming a band along the larval body and beating coordinately. With changing environmental conditions the larvae swim upward and downward to their appropriate water depth. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for...

2011-10-14 09:15:53

The tiny phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi, invisible to the naked eye, plays an outsized role in drawing carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it deep in the seas. But this role may change as ocean water becomes warmer and more acidic, according to a San Francisco State University research team. In a study published this week in the journal Global Change Biology, SF State Assistant Professor of Biology Jonathon Stillman and colleagues show how climate-driven changes in nitrogen...

2011-09-27 14:33:14

The way in which global warming causes many of the world's organisms to shrink has been revealed by new research from Queen Mary, University of London. Almost all cold-blooded organisms are affected by a phenomenon known as the 'temperature-size rule', which describes how individuals of the same species reach a smaller adult size when reared at warmer temperatures. But until now, scientists have not fully understood how these size changes take place. Writing in the journal The American...

2011-08-02 16:43:11

Changes in ocean chemistry due to increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are expected to damage shellfish populations around the world, but some nations will feel the impacts much sooner and more intensely than others, according to a study by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). As CO2 levels driven by fossil fuel use have increased in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, so has the amount of CO2 absorbed by the world's oceans, leading to changes in the...

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2011-07-22 12:12:55

Sediments buried beneath the Black Sea contain ancient virus and host DNA A scientist analyzing ancient plankton DNA signatures in sediments of the Black Sea has found that the same genetic populations of a virus and its algal host can persist--and coexist--for centuries. The findings have implications for the ecological significance of viruses in shaping ecosystems in the ocean, and perhaps in fresh water. "The finding that the DNA of viruses and their algal hosts can be preserved in the...

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2011-07-05 06:17:45

Zooplankton can use specialized adaptations that allow them to hide from predators in areas of the ocean where oxygen levels are so low almost nothing can survive - but they may run into trouble as these areas expand under climate change. "OMZs are very difficult places to survive," says PhD researcher Leanne Elder from the University of Rhode Island. "But we have discovered that Phronima sedentaria have adapted in two specialized ways. Firstly they suppress their metabolism, which is very...

2011-07-04 13:01:18

A new discovery reveals that the shrimp-like creature at the heart of the Antarctic food chain could play a key role in fertilising the Southern Ocean with iron "“ stimulating the growth of phytoplankton (microscopic plant-like organisms). This process enhances the ocean's capacity for natural storage of carbon dioxide. Reporting this month in the journal Limnology and Oceanography, an international team of researchers describe how Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba), once thought to...

2011-07-02 02:47:39

Tiny marine organisms called zooplankton can use specialized adaptations that allow them to hide from predators in areas of the ocean where oxygen levels are so low that almost nothing can survive, but they may run into trouble as these areas expand due to climate change. "Oxygen minimum zones are very difficult places to survive," said University of Rhode Island doctoral student Leanne Elder. "But we have discovered that these tiny animals have adapted in two specialized ways. First, they...

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2011-06-27 05:35:00

Scientists said a surprising appearance of plankton and whales through the Northwest Passage might be a sign of how global warming is affecting animals and plants in the oceans as well as on land. Scientists found plankton in the North Atlantic where it has not existed for at least 800,000 years. "The implications are enormous. It's a threshold that has been crossed," said Philip C. Reid, of the Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science in Plymouth, England. "It's an indication of the speed...

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2011-06-10 11:08:21

Fish farming is the world's fastest growing food production method and is projected to continue rising to meet the demands of an increasing world population. ESA's new Aquaculture project will support sustainable aquaculture by developing an information service based on state-of-the-art remote sensing. Satellites can provide a wealth of data on waves, sea-surface temperature and ocean color "“ all highly useful for planning where to establish new fish farms. "Sustainability depends on...


Latest Plankton Reference Libraries

Mediterranean feather star, Antedon mediterranea
2013-05-18 06:26:42

The Mediterranean feather star is a filter feeder that obtains food by straining suspended matter and food particles from water. The star has a stalk that has up to forty tendrils, (threadlike organs) which help the star cling to hard surfaces. The “body” of the star is called a calyx and is shaped like a small cup. This calyx is surrounded by feathery pinnules bearing arms. These arms are quite unique in the fact that they can regenerate if one should get broken off; these arms extend to...

Chilean Sea Urchin, Loxechinus albus
2013-01-28 14:52:23

Image Caption: Chilean Sea Urchin, Loxechinus albus. Credit: Dentren/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) The Chilean sea urchin (Loxechinus albus) is a species that can be found along the coastlines of Chile and Peru. It is typically found in shallow waters at or below the tide level, buried in sand or lying just on top of it. This species is often associated with Macrocystis pyrifera, a type of kelp. It is most often found in more open spaces. The Chilean sea urchin can reach an average width of...

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2009-06-19 13:00:04

The White-spotted jellyfish is also known as the Australian spotted jellyfish (Phyllorhiza punctata). The jellyfish feeds primarily on assorted snail species and thrives in the southwestern Pacific. The bell of the White-spotted jellyfish averages 17-19 inches in diameter but there had been a maximum reported size of 24 inches. However, on Sunset Beach in North Carolina in October, 2007, a White-spotted jellyfish was found on the shore measuring in at 28 inches, perhaps the largest to...

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2007-03-26 13:57:44

The Tarakihi or Jackass morwong, Nemadactylus macropterus, is a morwong of the genus Nemadactylus found off the coast of southern Australia, the Atlantic coast of South America, and all around New Zealand to depths of about 1312.34 ft (400 m). Its length is between 11.81 and 23.62 in (30 and 60 cm). The Tarakihi is similar to the Porae but with a silver body color and a distinctive black saddle immediately behind the head. Their diet is similar to that of the Porae but also with a wide...

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Word of the Day
lunula
  • A small crescent-shaped structure or marking, especially the white area at the base of a fingernail that resembles a half-moon.
This word is a diminutive of the Latin 'luna,' moon.
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