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bullet Ecology DATA Series Archives

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Coral Snapshots - While it is possible to survey a coral reef using quadrats, scientists are now using cutting-edge technology to closely examine the entire reef, instead of extrapolating results from several study sites. Scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are taking video of reefs then analyzing it via a computer program back in the lab. This method cuts down on the inherent error associated with the quadrat system and actually requires less time and money spent in the field.

Saving Sturgeon - Atlantic sturgeon have survived since the age of the dinosaurs. Centuries ago, these giant fish were abundant in Virginia rivers. However, today these fish are struggling to stay off the endangered species list. How could such an immense species that could survive for millions of years become nearly extinct in a few short centuries?

River Watch: Tracking the Invasive Veined Rapa Whelk - Veined rapa whelks (Rapana venosa) are predatory marine snails that have been introduced into the Chesapeake Bay, USA. Will they survive and establish a self-sustaining population?

Coral Bleaching - Some of the planet's most diverse ecosystems are at risk. With temperatures on the rise, coral reefs are at greater risk for coral bleaching. Examine NOAA water temperature data from 2005-2008, discuss how it may have affected coral reefs and predict what's on the horizon.

Diversity of the Deep - Explore the diversity of organisms living on deep sea hydrothermal vents. The species in these unique communities have evolved to thrive in extreme temperatures and no light. This month's data activity will introduce you to some of the common statistical measurements of diversity as you compare the organisms found at various locations on a hydrothermal vent at the Juan de Fuca Ridge.

More Than Meets the Eye - When it comes to ability to see their prey, there's more than meets the eye for some large pelagic fishes. This month we'll look at the eye physiology and life history of four pelagic fish species to find out just what and how they see.

On the Half Shell -Seafood, and oysters in particular, are a holiday tradition for many. And, since December is an "R" month it's safe to eat oysters, right? Seafood handled and cooked properly is very safe to eat, but eaten raw can be a different story. Find out about seafood-related illnesses and how to avoid them.

Iron Fertilization - Using data from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, track chemical changes during an upwelling event and investigate the effects of iron enrichment.

Without An Ark - Coastal storms can bring extensive flooding resulting in highly publicized human suffering. But what happens to plants and animals in the wild when their habitat is flooded? Learn about some of the short-term impacts and potential long-term effects of floods on selected freshwater and estuarine organisms. Access real-time streamflow data from the U.S. Geological Survey and plot Hurricane Floyd floods.

Juvenile Oyster Disease: A Growing Problem - The eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) can be found from the Caribbean Sea to Canada's Gulf of St. Lawrence. It can survive in a wide range of temperatures and salinities, and even tolerate daily exposure to air as the tide recedes, exposing portions of its home, or reef. Considering these hearty life history characteristics, one would expect the oyster to survive most anything, but human impact and natural diseases threaten the oyster's viability. This month take a look at how juvenile oyster disease is impacting some Northeast oyster populations, and what steps can be taken to remedy the situation.

More Than Mud - Benthic communities are vital to the ecosystem at large, supplying food and habitat for many organisms and improving water quality through their filter feeders. But benthic communities are also one of the aquatic areas most vulnerable to human-induced problems, especially eutrophication and contamination. Learn how scientists use amphipods, a common Chesapeake Bay benthic organism, as an indicator species to help identify polluted sediments.

U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries: Southeast Region - This month we team up with NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuary Program to explore the habitats and associated fish communities of three of the twelve U.S. marine sanctuaries.

 The Bridge is sponsored by NOAA Sea Grant and the National Marine Educators Association

Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
College of William and Mary