The Potential of Parasites

Although parasites have a negative reputation, they can be a valuable conservation tool. Their diversity means they can be used in many applications, and this range of known potential purposes will only increase with further exploration. This article explores how parasites have been used to better understand habitat fragmentation, invasive species movement, harvested species overexploitation, and even climate change!

Read more

Talk Turtle to Me: How Algae Could Drive Sea Turtle Populations to Extinction

Rising ocean temperatures have been increasing the size of algal blooms, with Sargassum being one of the most prominent algae species affecting coastlines in the Caribbean. When beached, Sargassum can only be removed from shores through human intervention, which is both costly and time-consuming. These algal outbreaks are ending up on beaches where sea turtles are known to nest, affecting their biology and survivability. Will beached Sargassum on Caribbean shores affect sea turtle populations irreversibly, or will we find a more effective way of dealing with the changing algal populations?

Read more

Prickly Adaptability: Will Crown-of-Thorn Starfish Populations Survive Rising Ocean Temperature and Acidity?

Crown-of-Thorns starfish outbreaks are of growing concern for the wellbeing of Indo-Pacific coral reefs. When these starfish populations grow too quickly, they feed on corals at rates that don’t allow the ecosystem to recover fast enough. With coral reefs struggling to survive rising ocean temperatures and acidity, it is essential to determine how these conditions affect their predators – in this case, the Crown-of-Thorn starfish. A recent study found that ocean warming and acidification affect larval development but not survivability. Could this mean bad news for coral reefs?

Read more

Using mangrove genes to protect where the land meets the sea

When two of Earth’s forces meet, we often get monumental products. Where the land meets the sea, the mighty mangrove forest protects the coastline and all its inhabitants. Deforestation has led to rapid declines of mangroves, threatening the diversity of life that they support. Analyzing the genetic variation in a forest is a promising tool for protective measures and restoration. Saving mangrove forests might be in the genes.

Read more