Topic: Oceans

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Current Event July 19, 2017

Corals in the Great Barrier Reef Struggle to Stay Alive

Climate Change Oceans

Earth’s largest living organism, the Great Barrier Reef, has had record losses of coral in the last few years. A team of scientists estimate that an average of one-third of the corals along the entire Great Barrier Reef died between March and November of 2016. The global rise in greenhouse gas emissions has made ocean temperatures rise and has contributed to the number of coral that is dying, which is devastating for thousands of species that depend on the reef. Listen to hear more details about the loss of coral and the causes.

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Current Event August 25, 2016

Shipwreck Discovery Reveals Details about Maritime Warfare of Ancient Greeks

Oceans Ancient Greece

A 2,000 year old shipwreck was discovered off the Greek Island of Antikythera. It was full of expensive items such as marble and bronze statues, gold jewelry, perfume bottles and more. It was discovered over 100 years ago, but divers and scientists have recently returned to the wreck with sophisticated diving gear to search for more artifacts. They have found what they believe is not a luxury item but a torpedo-like device made of lead. Listen to hear how the ancient writings by the Greek historian, Thucydides, helped scientists find out how this was used.

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Current Event December 28, 2015

Ocean Noise Pollution

Life Science Elementary Animals Oceans Sound

The field of bioacoustics, studying the sound of animals, extends far below the surface of oceans. Whale vocalizations can be used as data to track migration and populations. Researchers have found ways to identify which whales are making which sounds. But in oceans, human-made sounds are often louder than other noises, making it hard for marine animals to hear the sounds in their own world. Listen to this story about what can be learned by tracking whale sounds, and how new guidelines are helping whales communicate with each other.

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Current Event September 24, 2015

Counting Fish with DNA

Environment Oceans DNA Biotechnology

New technology is revolutionizing underwater science. A brand new field is using DNA testing to study and track species diversity in various ecosystems and environments. Biologists can study one liter of seawater and identify the fish that swam through that water. This allows them to study fish and whales without having seen them and without the expense of divers and equipment. But, there are a few issues with some of the data, such as finding the DNA of food that was eaten miles away. Listen to how data from genetic testing can be used to protect marine life, and how it is changing the research process.

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Electricity and eels

Science Middle School

Eels Protect from Predators with Electric Volts

Life Science Oceans Electricity

Animals adapt to their environment in ways that protect them from predation and allow them to find prey. Electric eels look like water snakes but use electricity to hunt. New scientific studies have gained insight into how electric eels use different electric volts to find and kill their prey. Listen to learn how the eel’s hunting method is adapted to their environment.

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Shark survival

Science Middle School

Shark Embryos Fight for Survival

Life Science Ecosystems Evolution Oceans Reproduction

As plants and animals reproduce over time, they are able to change and adapt to ensure or improve their chances of survival. The evolutionary goal of reproduction is paired with the concept of natural selection and survival of the fittest to determine who will reproduce. From colorful plumage to size, different species use different strategies to ensure reproduction and mate selection. The sand tiger shark has a unique strategy to ensure successful reproduction - and it depends on the timing of mating. Listen to learn more about the ultimate sibling rivalry while in the womb.

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Current Event December 19, 2014

Shocking Eels

Life Science Oceans

Electric eels look like water snakes but they can create their own electricity. New scientific studies have gained more insight into how electric eels use different electric volts to find and kill their prey. Listen to learn more about this fascinating creature from an expert neurobiologist.

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Overfishing and bluefin tuna

Science Middle School

Overfishing and Blue Fin Tuna

Life Science Environment Ecosystems Human Impacts Oceans

This public radio story takes you on a boat for some blue fin tuna tagging and fishing. It’s action packed but also filled with scientific data about the status of blue fin in our oceans.

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Coral bleaching

Science Middle School

Ocean Warming is Forcing Coral Reefs to Adapt

Life Science Environment Ecosystems Human Impacts Oceans

Oceans around the world are seeing declines in healthy reefs. The changes are caused by many factors, including the increase in ocean temperatures due to global warming. This public radio story is about coral reefs that are endangered. But some corals are thriving despite the increase in ocean temperature.

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An imminent thaw

Science Middle School

The Changing Ecosystem of the Bering Sea

Earth and Space Science Environment Ecosystems Oceans

Ice is an essential component of the ecosystem of the Bering Sea region. For example, sea ice cover can dramatically affect the levels of phytoplankton which has enormous effects on the entire food web. In this public radio story we hear about the health of the Bering Sea ecology by studying scientific observations.

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Weathering and erosion

Science Middle School

Beach Erosion Threatens Infrastructure

Earth and Space Science Environment Geography Ecosystems Physical Science Human Impacts Oceans

What happens when human structures and nature come into conflict? Ocean Beach in San Francisco is naturally eroding, but the consequence of this shifting shoreline is that a sewage treatment plant is put in peril. Without intervention, raw sewage could be dumped into the ocean. A rock wall has temporarily stabilized the pipeline, but not without complications. Now other solutions are being considered, including construction of an artificial dune.

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Ocean acidification

Science Middle School

Shellfish on your Dinner Plate Threatened by Ocean Acidification

Environment Ecosystems Oceans chemistry

The increasing acidity of the oceans could eventually affect your dinner plate. This public radio story begins in a factory where workers are shucking shellfish. It looks at a shellfish producer and how the company has had a hard time producing juvenile oysters or “seed” because of the increase of CO2 in the ocean. The story examines the impact of ocean acidification on the seafood we eat.

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Spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins

Science Middle School

Spotted Dolphins and Spinner Dolphins

Life Science Animals Ecosystems Human Impacts Oceans

Spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins are often found living with tuna. When people started using large nets to capture tuna in the 1960s, many dolphins were killed as well. Scientists responded by sending “observers” on tuna boats to keep track of the number of dolphins killed. Scientists store samples of different parts of dolphins collected from dolphins killed by the tuna nets. In this public radio story you hear from a scientist who is studying these tissues to try to learn more about these dolphins in order to help preserve dolphin populations.

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Quieting the ocean

Science Middle School

Noises in the Ocean Threaten Marine Animals

Life Science Earth and Space Science Environment Ecosystems Human Impacts Oceans Sound

Oceans have become very loud because of humans. In this public radio story you'll hear some of the things that make the ocean so noisy. Scientists are worried all that noise is hurting marine life. They want to find ways to quiet down the ocean and study what the noise means for marine mammals.

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Right whales

Science Middle School

Biologists Find it's Hard to Study Right Whales

Life Science Animals Oceans

Biologists studying right whales face the challenge of studying rare, extremely large organisms that spend the majority of their time underwater. This public radio story explores some of the challenges and risks of studying right whales and explores the reasons that scientists are willing to work so hard to study them. In addition, the story discusses an experiment designed to learn how male and female right whales find each other during mating season.

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Sea slug animal or plant

Science Middle School

Sea Slug: Animal or Plant?

Life Science Ecosystems Genetics Oceans DNA Ecology

The little green sea slug is a puzzle to scientist because it can live in fresh water. Scientists discover the sea slug uses photosynthesis like a plant and has the DNA of a slug and algae.This audio story raises the question of whether the sea slug is an animal or a plant.

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Killer whales

Science Middle School

Killer Whales Echolocate Loudly

Life Science Oceans

Have you ever heard a killer whale? Biologists studying killer whales face the challenge of studying organisms that spend a majority of their time underwater. This public radio story goes underwater to hear what whales sound like and looks at the reasons scientists are willing to work so hard to study them. In addition, the story explores the adaptations that different populations of killer whales have evolved to capture prey.

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Giant squid eyes

Science Middle School

Giant Squid Eyes

Life Science Animals Ecosystems Oceans

Scientists have wondered why giant squid and colossal squid have such enormous eyes. Their eyes are the size of basketballs. Their thinking about this question has been hampered by the rarity of these animals and the difficulty of preserving eye specimens. Using some clever techniques and luck, researchers have been able to measure the size of giant squid eyes. This has led to an interesting hypothesis about why their eyes are so enormous.

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Fish sounds

Science Middle School

Fish Sounds Indicate Behavior

Life Science Earth and Space Science Ecosystems Oceans

Marine biologists are studying the sounds that fish make. They believe that sounds are key to understanding fish behavior. This audio story explores how listening to fish may also be a way to help protect fish. By studying the sounds that fish make when trying to attract mates and when breeding, we may be able to stay clear of them during those times to help them reproduce more productively.

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Corals and climate change

Science Middle School

Corals and Climate Change

Life Science Environment Climate Change Weather and Climate Human Impacts Oceans

What makes up a coral? This audio story takes you to an underwater observatory where a scientist is studying coral reefs. The scientist has found that CO2 in the ocean is making the ocean warmer and dissolving the coral reef system. But the scientist also discusses how coral reefs can recover. Listen to this story to hear the factors that threaten coral reefs and how they can recover.

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