Check out some of the latest research in marine biology, stories of rescued seals and whales or the latest species discovered in the netherworlds of the oceans.
Please e-mail any stories I may have missed.


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SPOTLIGHT:
Rare giant sea turtle found on Stinson Beach (San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 4, 2009)
An endangered giant sea turtle rarely found north of Mexico washed up alive on Stinson Beach after drifting possibly thousands of miles.


Marine Life in the News: Week of Nov. 8, 2009

Watch the video from Reuters: Shark gives birth after tank tussle

Sharp-toothed shark acts as midwife (New Zealand Herald News, Nov. 11, 2009)
Visitors to Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World were stunned to see one shark give another shark an impromptu caesarean section. Staff were initially dubious when visitors came running to tell them there were baby sharks spilling from a wound in a female school shark's stomach - courtesy of a large bite by another shark.


Manta ray's secret life revealed (BBC, Nov. 9, 2009)
The once secret life of a huge, recently discovered species of manta ray has been unveiled. Biologist Dr Andrea Marshall has discovered that the giant fish, which she first described as new to science last year, undertakes huge journeys.

Elephant seals may take siestas (NYT, Nov. 9, 2009)
Northern elephant seals are long-distance mariners, voyaging for two to eight months at a time without making landfall. And when they are at sea, they spend up to 90 percent of their time on underwater dives.


Week of Nov. 1, 2009

Wolffish doesn't need federal protection (AP, Nov. 6, 2009)
A deep-water fish that's known as much for its ugly mug as its ability to gobble up whole urchins and crabs in a few swift chomps won't be getting federal protection after all.

Giant jellyfish sink 10-ton fishing boat (Environmental News Network, Nov. 4, 2009)
A 10-ton fishing boat has been sunk by gigantic jellyfish off eastern Japan. The crew of the fishing boat was thrown into the sea when the vessel capsized, but the three men were rescued by another trawler.

Rare whale gathering sighted (BBC, Nov. 4, 2009)
A large group of a rarely sighted, mysterious species of whale has been seen off the coast of Antarctica. Approximately 60 Arnoux's beaked whales were seen and photographed frolicking on the surface in the Gerlache Strait.


California's great white sharks are a distinct population (Mongabay, Nov. 4, 2009)
Researchers have long thought that white sharks Carcharodon carcharias migrated across oceans, but a new study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that the population in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, along California, hasn't mixed with other white sharks for tens of thousands of years.

Crabs trade sex for protection (New Scientist, Nov. 4, 2009)
Female fiddler crabs mate with their neighbours in exchange for protection. The discovery of the sex-for-security trait helps to explain a surprising quirk: how it is that females defend their territory just as successfully as males despite their smaller claws. It is also the first known case of male and female neighbours teaming up to defend territory in any species, according to lead researcher Richard Milner of the Australian National University in Canberra.

Study shows fish diverting north to cooler waters (Cape Cod Times, Nov. 3, 2009)
A new study by fisheries scientists in Woods Hole shows that about half of the 36 fish stocks they surveyed had shifted north or east toward cooler waters over the past 40 years, possibly in response to rising water temperatures due to global warming.

Week of Oct. 25, 2009

Wayward manatee safely back in Fla. (Boston Globe, Oct. 30, 2009)
For one Florida manatee, there’s no place like home. Ilya, an infamous 1,100-pound sea cow, got a lift home in a US Coast Guard cargo plane yesterday after a three-month vacation north, including a late-summer stay off Cape Cod. Rescuers stepped in after the young manatee got lost in a dangerously cold New Jersey river.


Wayward NJ manatee destined for Miami aquarium (AP, Oct. 29, 2009)
A wayward manatee is headed back to Florida aboard a transport jet after being rescued from murky waters near a New Jersey oil refinery.

Starfish 'pump up' to cool down (BBC, Oct. 28, 2009)
One starfish has a remarkable strategy to avoid overheating in the sun, scientists have discovered. The starfish pumps itself up with cold seawater to lower its body temperature when exposed to the sun at low tide.


Colossal 'sea monster' unearthed (BBC, Oct. 27, 2009)
The fossilised skull of a colossal "sea monster" has been unearthed along the UK's Jurassic Coast. The ferocious predator, which is called a pliosaur, terrorised the oceans 150 million years ago.

Week of Oct. 18, 2009

Shark mums 'invest' in newborns (BBC, Oct. 24, 2009)
Shark pups are born with super-sized livers, providing them with nutrients to help them survive early life. The researchers who made this discovery say it shows how the sleek fish have evolved to "invest" in their newborns.

For fish in coral reefs, it's useful to be smart (NYT, Oct. 19, 2009)
I have long suspected that fish are smarter than we give them credit for. As a child, I had an aquarium with several pet goldfish. They certainly knew it was feeding time when my hand appeared over their tank, and they excitedly awaited their delicious fish flakes.


The fate of Ilya the manatee still uncertain (AP, Oct. 18, 2009)
The fate of a Florida manatee that has wandered into northern New Jersey waters remained unclear Saturday night. The wayward male — known as Ilya — has been stuck near a Linden oil refinery, and officials say plunging temperatures and a lack of food were endangering its life. And while the gentle sea cow appears to be in good health, it had been huddling near an outfall pipe at an oil refinery — the only place it could find warm water.


A carbon neutral whale? (Science News, Oct. 17, 2009)
Sperm whales in the Southern Ocean deserve credit for their fine work pumping iron for climate change, researchers say.


Oct. 11, 2009

Can salmon evolve to survive among fish-killing dams (Oregonian, Oct. 15, 2009)
Dams hurt salmon, robbing them of free-flowing rivers and confusing them on their celebrated, circuitous life journey. But maybe the fish can take it.


NOAA will not list Bering spotted seal as endangered or threatened (NOAA Press Release, Oct. 15, 2009)
NOAA’s Fisheries Service today announced that two of three populations totaling more than 200,000 spotted seals in and near Alaska are not currently in danger of extinction or likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. The announcement follows an 18-month status review.


Week of Oct. 4, 2009

Dust storm triggers ocean bloom (ABC (Australia) Science, Oct. 7, 2009)
The red dust storm that dumped thousands of tonnes of soil across eastern Australia two weeks ago has caused an explosion in microscopic life in Sydney Harbour and beyond.

Albatross snags scraps from killer whale (MSNBC, Oct. 7, 2009)
Miniature digital cameras have caught for the first time an albatross feeding alongside a killer whale, waiting for scraps from the messy eater, scientists report.


Feds give sea otters habitat protection in Alaska (AP, Oct. 7, 2009)
Four years after being placed on the Endangered Species List, the dwindling sea otters of southwest Alaska on Wednesday were given an important recovery tool.

Mostly voluntary effort to study dead whale part of federal network (Tampa Tribune, Oct. 7, 2009)
The finely orchestrated effort that brought a dead, 42-foot-long whale to the beach at Fort De Soto Park this week and the quest to determine what killed it was part of a federally mandated program for stranded marine mammals.


NOAA announces $9 million in ocean education grants to national aquariums (NOAA Press Release, Oct. 5, 2009)
NOAA today announced 11 grants totaling more than $9 million that will create new education projects in aquariums across the nation. The projects will educate visitors about the ocean and encourage better stewardship of the marine environment.


Manatee spotted on Cape may be swimming home (The Boston Globe, Oct. 4, 2009)
Oh Ilya the sea cow, is that you? Ever since a wrinkled-muzzle manatee was spotted off Cape Cod last month, scientists and environmentalists have hoped the adventurous Floridian would turn around before succumbing to plummeting water temperatures.