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What if we explored the ocean’s vast twilight zone, teeming with undiscovered life? Today, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) was awarded $35 million—the largest philanthropic gift in the Institution’s history—to do just that. The award comes from The Audacious Project, a bold new philanthropic collaboration housed at TED to fund critical ideas that have potential to create massive, global change.
The first genetic study of the diversity of clinging jellyfish populations around the globe discovered some surprising links among distant communities of jellies and also revealed there may be more than one species of the infamous stinger. The paper published April 18 in the journal Peer J.
Invertebrates, such as squid and jellyfish, play a crucial role in the marine food web and are also vital commercial fisheries. Despite their importance, little is known about their natural behaviors or how their environment influences those behaviors or physiology. A new data-logging tag, called the ITAG, developed specifically for small and delicate invertebrates not only quantifies ocean conditions but also measures animals’ responses to their physical environments in high resolution.
The Census of Marine Life, a ten-year project to catalog all life in the sea, discovered more than 6,000 new species during its “decade of discovery,” scientists reported as they unveiled its results at a finale event in London Oct. 4-6. The collaboration combined the efforts of scientists from research organizations in more than 80 nations, including the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).
What if trains, planes, and automobiles all were powered simply by the air through which they move? Moreover, what if their exhaust and byproducts helped the environment? Well, such an energy-efficient, self-propelling mechanism already exists in nature. The salp, a smallish, barrel-shaped organism that resembles a kind of streamlined jellyfish, gets everything it needs from the ocean waters to feed and propel itself. And, scientists believe its waste material may actually help remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the upper ocean and the atmosphere.
Transparent jellyfish-like creatures may be more important to the fate of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the ocean than previously thought.
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