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

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Overfishing and Bluefin Tuna

Life Science Environment Ecosystems Human Impacts Oceans

There is debate whether fish like the bluefin tuna are going to go extinct. Some argue that the decline in bluefin results from excessive fishing. However, long time bluefin fishers like Eric Stewart, disagree with this stance as he sees an increasing population of bluefin. Listen to hear from both sides, and how one bluefin tuna can swim across the entire ocean.

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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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Coral bleaching

Science Middle School

Ocean Warming is Forcing Coral Reefs to Adapt

Life Science Environment Ecosystems Oceans Human Impacts

Oceans around the world see declines in healthy reefs. The increase in ocean temperatures due to global warming is one of the factors that cause this deterioration. Part of the coral reefs are endangered, but some corals are still thriving despite the increase in ocean temperature. Listen to learn who relies on coral reefs and what would happen if they completely deteriorated.

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Weathering and erosion

Science Middle School

Beach Erosion Threatens Infrastructure

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

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. Listen to learn about the other solutions that are being considered, including construction of an artificial dune.

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Spotted dolphins and spinner dolphins

Science Middle School

Tuna Fishing and the Dolphin Morgue

Life Science Animals Ecosystems Oceans Human Impacts

When people started using large nets to capture tuna in the 1960s, many spotted dolphins were killed because they were found living with tuna. Scientists responded by sending “observers” on tuna boats to keep track of the number of dolphins killed. Listen to hear from a scientist who is studying the spotted and spinner dolphins to try to learn how to preserve dolphin populations.

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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 exploring rare and large organisms that spend the majority of their time underwater. These unpredictable animals are examined by researchers to try to understand the method of communication between male and female whales. Listen to learn why it's so hard to study these animals.

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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 Oceans Human Impacts Sound

Human behavior continues to have an effect on marine life under the water. This story highlights how humans make the ocean so noisy. Scientists are worried that the noise is causing a disruption to animals and threatening their existence. Listen to learn what humans are doing and what can be changed.

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Elysia marginata

Science Middle School

Sea Slug: Animal or Plant?

Life Science Genetics Ecosystems Oceans DNA Ecology

Small green sea slugs puzzle scientists because they can photosynthesize energy, just like plants. These Eastern Emerald Elysia sea slugs also appear to have several different types of DNA. Scientists are hopeful these sea slugs might help them discover more about human DNA and treat human diseases. Listen to learn how these tiny creatures are teaching us more about genetics.

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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. There is a decrease in the number of juvenile oysters known as "seed" due to the increase of CO2 in the ocean. Listen to learn how workers are dealing with the issues and how it affects the seafood we eat.

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Killer whales

Science Middle School

Killer Whales Echolocate Loudly

Life Science Oceans

Biologists studying killer whales face the challenge of studying organisms that spend a majority of their time underwater. From extensive research, scientists have learned that killer whales have adapted their sounds to help them catch prey. Scientists are looking to do more research, but it's difficult to find the whales in the first place. Listen to learn more about the methods scientists use to understand killer whale noises.

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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 vital to understanding fish behavior. By studying the sounds that fish make when trying to attract mates and when breeding, biologists may be able to stay clear of them during those times to help them reproduce more productively. This protects the fish from human behavior. Listen to learn how this will help fishermen ensure the species don't die out.

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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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Design inspiration from nature

Science Middle School

Low

Design Inspiration from Nature Makes Oyster Glue

Life Science Arts Oceans chemistry

When getting knocked around by the ocean waves, a scientist realized the only things that were staying in place were the barnacles and muscles. This is due to the natural glue they produce that scientists are trying mimic to create a power glue that is non-toxic and can be used for things such as medical surgeries. Listen to learn more about how scientists developed these experiments and how this discovery could lead to a very useful resource.

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