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marine biology

Photo of 12 petri dishes holding brightly colored fungi.
Abstractions blog

‘Zombie’ Microbes Redefine Life’s Energy Limits

August 12, 2020

A new model shows that the denizens of a vast, ancient biome beneath the seafloor use barely enough energy to stay alive — and broadens understanding of what life can look like.

Illustration of a flying albatross, a swimming basking shark and the Lévy walk paths they take.
behavior

Random Search Wired Into Animals May Help Them Hunt

June 11, 2020

The nervous systems of foraging and predatory animals may prompt them to move along a special kind of random path called a Lévy walk to find food efficiently when no clues are available.

Close-up of water swirling among rocks at the sea’s edge.
microbiology

Inside Deep Undersea Rocks, Life Thrives Without the Sun

May 13, 2020

Newly discovered worlds of microbes far beneath the ocean floor, inside old basaltic rocks, could point to a greater likelihood of life elsewhere in the universe.

Art for "Rapid Oxygen Changes Fueled an Explosion in Ancient Animal Diversity"
Abstractions blog

Rapid Oxygen Changes Fueled an Explosion in Ancient Animal Diversity

May 9, 2019

Skyrocketing animal diversity a half-billion years ago was linked to spikes and dips in marine oxygen levels, according to a detailed geological study.

Art for "New Squid Genome Shines Light on Symbiotic Evolution"
evolution

New Squid Genome Shines Light on Symbiotic Evolution

February 19, 2019

Researchers hope that the genes of a glowing squid can illuminate how animals evolved organs for beneficial bacteria.

ecology

Cores From Coral Reefs Hold Secrets of the Seas’ Past and Future

May 29, 2018

Layered deposits of coral skeletons hold vast stores of environmental data from thousands of years ago, including annual records of ocean temperatures, water pollution and storm activity.

Abstractions blog

Complex Animals Led to More Oxygen, Says Maverick Theory

March 21, 2018

For decades, researchers have commonly assumed that higher oxygen levels led to the sudden diversification of animal life 540 million years ago. But one iconoclast argues the opposite: that new animal behaviors raised oxygen levels and remade the environment.

Sylvia Earle in one-person submersible DeepWorker
Abstractions blog

Sylvia Earle Is Not Done Exploring

June 7, 2017

The legendary marine biologist discusses why she’s excited about the coming era of ocean science, the shortsightedness of maritime exploitation and diving in the Arctic in her 80s.

Abstractions blog

How to Grow a New Model Organism

July 27, 2016

To develop new model organisms, scientists will have to find species that are easy to grow in the lab.