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Latest Virginia Institute of Marine Science Stories

2011-05-05 16:13:00

Device can also provide an early warning system for spills Tests of a new antibody-based "biosensor" developed by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science show that it can detect marine pollutants like oil much faster and more cheaply than current technologies. The device is small and sturdy enough to be used from a boat. Testing of the biosensor in the Elizabeth River and Yorktown Creek, which both drain into lower Chesapeake Bay, shows that the instrument can process samples...

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2011-04-19 14:21:18

By David Malmquist, Virginia Institute of Marine Science A new study by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that turbulence from boat propellers can and does kill large numbers of copepods"”tiny crustaceans that are an important part of marine food webs. The study"”by VIMS graduate student Samantha Bickel, VIMS professor Kam Tang, and Hampton University undergraduate Joseph Malloy Hammond"”appears in the on-line issue of the Journal of Experimental...

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2011-04-13 11:14:01

Carcasses of copepods--numerous organisms in world seas--provide insights into oceanic food webs Tiny crustaceans called copepods rule the world, at least when it comes to oceans and estuaries. The most numerous multi-cellular organisms in the seas, copepods are an important link between phytoplankton and fish in marine food webs. To understand and predict how copepods respond to environmental change, scientists need to know not only how many new copepods are born, but how many are dying, say...

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2011-03-22 08:04:31

Salt water relay minimizes Vibrio A joint study by local oyster growers and researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that moving farmed oysters into saltier waters just prior to harvest nearly eliminates the presence of a bacterium that can sicken humans. The findings"”reported by VIMS professors Kim Reece and Howard Kator, and local oyster growers Thomas Gallivan, A.J. Erskine, and Tommy Leggett"”may offer a relatively low-cost solution to a controversial...

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2011-03-08 09:32:43

By David Malmquist, Virginia Institute of Marine Science An international team of researchers including professor Emmett Duffy of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science has published a comprehensive new analysis showing that loss of plant biodiversity disrupts the fundamental services that ecosystems provide to humanity. Plant communities"”threatened by development, invasive species, climate change, and other factors"”provide humans with food, help purify water supplies,...

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2011-01-20 10:06:53

Underwater glider sets 2 Antarctic firsts Researcher Walker Smith of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, has been conducting shipboard studies of biological productivity in Antarctica's Ross Sea for the last three decades. This year he's letting underwater robots do some of the work. Smith and graduate student Xiao Liu are using a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation to deploy and test a free-swimming underwater glider in the frigid waters of...

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2010-12-22 08:08:26

By David Malmquist, Virginia Institute of Marine Science A new study of local sea-level trends by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) brings both good and bad news to localities concerned with coastal inundation and flooding along the shores of Chesapeake Bay. Dr. John Boon, the study's lead author, says the good news is that "absolute sea level in Chesapeake Bay is rising only about half as fast as the global average rise rate." The bad news, says Boon, is that...

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2010-11-02 08:20:00

by David Malmquist, VIMS UFO"”unidentified floating object"”haunts lake at City Center Tracy Collier, an employee at Home Technologies in City Center at Oyster Point, was walking her employer's Westie around the Center's manmade lake on Thursday when she saw a large, mysterious blob floating in the water. Co-worker Charlie Schmuck says "The lake is behind our office. Tracy was walking by the lake, saw the object, and asked everyone else to come out and take a look." Tracy thought...

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2010-10-27 10:15:00

Conservation actions aid vertebrates, but not nearly enough Dr. Jack Musick, emeritus professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, has overseen a global study suggesting that 33 percent of shark, skate, and ray species are threatened with extinction. The work is part of a major new study of vertebrates by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world's oldest and largest environmental network. The IUCN study shows that conservation actions have benefitted a...

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2010-08-09 10:47:21

A new study co-authored by professor Kam Tang of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science reveals that tiny aquatic organisms known as "water fleas" play an important role in carrying hitchhiking bacteria to otherwise inaccessible lake and ocean habitats. The article, "Bacteria dispersal by hitchhiking on zooplankton," appeared in the June 29 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It was co-authored by scientists from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and...