The Lund lab recently published a paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters on hydrothermal scavenging of trace metals at the East Pacific Rise. The results suggest that 230Th, a radionuclide commonly used to constrain sediment accumulation rates on the seafloor, is highly sensitive to changes in hydrothermal output, with important implications for the use of 230Th in paleoclimate and geochemical studies (https://davidlund.wixsite.com/averypointpaleo/page4).
21 March 2019. Marine Environmental Research just published a study about long-term ecological change in eastern Long Island Sound based on data collected by Project Oceanology! This non-profit ocean literacy organization has educated middle and high school students on boat trips to nearby estuarine sites for decades. For the first time, the digitization of these data allowed their quantitative evaluation, offering insights into the abiotic and biotic changes in nearshore waters of Eastern Long Island Sound.
- Citizen-science observations revealed rapid warming, acidification, and dissolved oxygen loss over the past 40 years in eastern Long Island Sound
- Otter trawl catches showed significant decreases in overall species diversity and richness
- Cold-water adapted species (American lobster, winter flounder) decreased, but warm-water adapted species (spider crabs) increased since 1997
Mentored by Professor Hans Dam and Ph.D. student Matthew Sasaki, Undergraduate students Sydney Hedberg and Kailin Richardson (participants in the UConn-Mystic Aquarium Research-Experience-for-Undergraduates Program, http://www.mysticaquarium.org/reu/) carried out experiments that yield important insights into how zooplankton respond to warming. The results of the work are now published in the journal Royal Society Open Science (https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.182115). The research shows that predicting the vulnerability of populations to global warming involves complex interactions between evolutionary adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, and sex (females rule !). The paper has two important implications. Surprisingly, tropical populations are more at risk because animals are already living near their thermal limits. In addition, because of the low survival of males, populations facing warming may be limited by the ability of males to fertilize females.
Photos by Hans Dam
More than 15 faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduates from the Department of Marine Sciences presented their research at last week’s ASLO (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography) 2019 Aquatic Sciences Meeting in San Juan Puerto Rico. DMS presentations reflected the diversity of our faculty’s research disciplines and approaches, including coral reefs, plankton ecology and physiology, nitrogen cycling, microplastics, salt marshes, and ecosystem impacts of storm events.
Faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the Department of Marine Sciences participated in the 22nd annual Quahog Bowl held on UConn’s Avery Point campus. This year, sixteen high-school teams competed in the event which is a regional competition for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Members of the Department served as science judges, science graders, score keepers, and in other capacities at the annual event. The competition was fierce, and in the end the team from Science and Technology Magnet School A (New London, CT) won by besting the team from Coginchaug Regional High School (Durham, CT). Overall, all teams had a fun and educational day.
From December 10-14, 2018, students and faculty from the Department of Marine Sciences attended the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting in Washington D.C. This conference covers space, atmosphere, ocean, and earth sciences, as well as special sessions focusing on science policy, communication, and education. This year marked the start of AGU’s centennial, which introduced more unique programs. It is also one of the largest natural sciences conferences in the world, with an average attendance of 25,000 people.
The department’s presentations covered sea sprary chemistry, the Ocean Observatories Initiative, mercury in the Bering Sea, nutrient budgets in Long Island Sound, and more.
28 November 2018. Hannes, Emma, and Chris are happy to announce that Biology Letters just published our latest study, a meta-analysis of 20 standard CO2 exposure experiments conducted on Atlantic silverside offspring between 2012-2017. All these years of sustained experimental work resulted in the most robustly constrained estimates of overall CO2 effect sizes for a marine organism to date.
The study demonstrated:
A general tolerance of Atlantic silverside early life stages to pCO2 levels of ~2,000 µatm
A significant overall CO2 induced reduction of embryo and overall survival by -9% and -13%, respectively
The seasonal change in early life CO2 sensitivity in this species
The value of serial experimentation to detect and robustly estimate CO2 effects in marine organisms
Baumann, H., Cross, E.L., and Murray, C.S. Robust quantification of fish early life CO2 sensitivities via serial experimentation. Biology Letters 14:20180408
SCOR (Scientific Committee for Ocean Research, see https://scor-int.org/) has approved a new Working Group, “MetaZooGene: Toward a new global view of marine zooplankton biodiversity based on DNA metabarcoding and reference DNA sequence databases” (SCOR WG 157; see https://scor-int.org/group/157/) . The new WG is chaired by Ann Bucklin (UConn Marine Sciences), with co-vice-chairs K.T.C.A. (Katja) Peijnenburg (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and Ksenia Kosobokova (Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia). The WG will facilitate global cooperation among researchers using novel DNA-based approaches to study biodiversity of marine zooplankton. The goals of MetaZooGene are to ensure open access to data and direct comparison of results from different studies, encourage standardization of methods for applied uses in ocean assessment, and accelerate progress toward shared goals of understanding zooplankton biodiversity and functional roles in ocean ecosystems.
Photo P.H. Wiebe (WHOI)
Do you know what lives in our coastal marshes?
Explore Barn Island’s Salt Marsh on Sunday, September 16, 2018, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. with Avalonia Land Conservancy and scientists from UConn’s Department of Marine Sciences.
Join us to learn more about how our coastal marshes provide habitats for a variety of residents. There will be three stations for you to explore, located along a 0.25-mile stretch of the access road that runs through the marsh. A quick trip through the stations will take about an hour; to see everything, plan on two hours. Stations include:
• a welcome area with a touch tank of local intertidal organisms and marsh plants and a chance to examine some seaweed and take some home (as a pressing);
• a stream area where we are trapping fish and other aquatic animals, including hunting for coffee bean snails and scanning the sky for birds;
• a marsh pool and plant area where we will look at the plants and bacterial mats (imagine thin layers of rainbow Jell-O…), and look for insects.
At each station, you’ll also learn a bit about Avalonia Land Conservancy and the interesting history of Barn Island and marshes in general – as important habitats worldwide, and local farming and hunting practices.
Meet at the educational kiosks on the left just before the Barn Island CT state boat launch parking lot located at 249 Palmer Neck Road in Stonington. Turn southeast off Route 1 at Greenhaven Road then south on Palmer Neck Road and follow approximately 1.5 miles almost to the end (0.1 miles before the boat ramp). The access road is a dirt road but is handicapped accessible (and stroller accessible). No sanitation facilities are available at the event, though Porta Potties are available at the boat ramp, 0.2 miles from the welcome station.
Come prepared to get your feet wet!
This event is FREE and open to all – no registration is necessary.
Ann Bucklin (Professor of Marine Sciences) participated in a research cruise aboard the R/V Henry B. Bigelow exploring the deep layers of the North Atlantic Slope Water with oceanographers and engineers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and National Marine Fisheries Service. The expedition during August 10-21, 2018 was the inaugural cruise of the Ocean Twilight Zone initiative (OTZ, see https://twilightzone.whoi.edu/), a 6-year, $35 million effort that is using innovative technologies to document the ocean’s mysterious midwater layer. A combination of sonars, cameras, and sampling systems was used to try to quantify how many and what kind of animals live in this dimly-lit swath of ocean hundreds of meters below the surface. They found an abundance of marine life including zooplankton, squids, salps, and fish. The findings suggest that the sea’s murky depths might host more life than we thought. See https://twilightzone.whoi.edu/news/.
Photo credit: Jennifer Berglund