The Marine Scientist

Dec 18

Photograph by Tim Laman
A tubastraea coral waves  its wispy, orange tentacles near Sangeang Island, Indonesia. Coral  reefs cover less than one percent of the ocean floor, but they support  one out of every four marine creatures.

Photograph by Tim Laman

A tubastraea coral waves its wispy, orange tentacles near Sangeang Island, Indonesia. Coral reefs cover less than one percent of the ocean floor, but they support one out of every four marine creatures.

Photograph by Bobby Haas
As startling as a  bright-blue eye, a central lagoon peers out from Rocas Baimbridgen in  Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. The stark, rocky island teems with life at  times—the brackish lagoon waters are favored by flamingos.

Photograph by Bobby Haas

As startling as a bright-blue eye, a central lagoon peers out from Rocas Baimbridgen in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. The stark, rocky island teems with life at times—the brackish lagoon waters are favored by flamingos.

questionablenerdlygoodness asked: Hey! Awesome blog. :) I am interested in becoming a marine biologist (still in high school however); any good resources a noob like me can turn to?

Thanks :)

- apphysicsblog

The thing that helped me the most was talking to someone who was in the marine biology career field already. They can tell you what it is really going to be like and what to expect and the measures you will need to take. There are also places that offer summer courses that you can take while still in high school (http://dhp.disl.org/studentopps.htm). That is the one that is closest to me but I would advise you to look into programs like that in your area.  Hope this answered your question.

Dec 17

How to Become a Marine Biologist

The job of a marine biologist involves studying ocean life by using his skills and observation power to the fullest. Counting and proper classification of marine species is also a part of their job. A career as a marine biologist can promise a very adventurous life and good pay package. However, for all interested candidates, having a knowledge of the requirements to become a marine biologist is of prime importance. If becoming a marine biologist is your dream, then you should start working on it right from your high school. In the next few paragraphs, we shall discuss how to become a marine biologist.

Becoming a Marine Biologist

The marine biologist job description includes studying and collecting information on the life of living organisms in the ocean and other sources of water. This is indeed a very complex job and can be done only by a person who has the requisite skills, educational qualifications and abilities. In order to enter this field as a trainee, you need to have an undergraduate, or preferably a post graduate degree from a renowned university. The universities giving admissions for such courses want their students to be very knowledgeable and hence, good scores in high school and entrance exam conduced by the institute is a necessity to survive in the cut throat competition. It can be noted that most famous marine biologists generally have a doctorate degree in the field of marine biology and allied subjects.

For all those who wish to know what does it take to become a marine biologist, the answer is simple, read a lot of books on the subject and also see many television documentaries so that you get to know the basics easily. How long does it take to become a marine biologist? This is a frequently asked question by many aspirants in this field. However, answering this question is a bit tough, as it depends on whether you can clear all your subjects in your first attempt itself. Many universities offer three to four years courses after high school in this field. For those who wish to know how to become a marine biologist, a thing to remember is that education in subjects like marine science, oceanography, marine biology, fisheries science and also environmental science. Adventurous nature, good communication skills, interpersonal skills, hard working nature and ambitious nature are the vital qualities which a person must possess in order to become a marine biologist.

Marine Biologist Salary

The marine biologist salary largely depends on their acquired skills, educational qualifications, number of years of experience, type of employer and ability to learn new things. As per the various salary surveys, marine biologist salary is in the range of $35,000 to $45,000 per year. However, with experience, the salary rises at a significant pace. A marine biologist with an experience of around five years can expect to earn anything between $45,000 to $60,000 per year. The candidates with five to eight years or practical experience generally make between $60,000 to $75,000 per year in this field. Highly experienced marine biologists who have spent around fifteen to twenty years in the field can earn in excess of $100,000 per year. Marine biologists can make more money if they have the right kind of attitude and are constantly upgrading their skills.

Becoming a marine biologist is certainly a tough job and you need years of hard work to make a mark for yourself. Though you must have understood how to become a marine biologist after reading this article, the real challenge starts when you go through the entrance exams and interview sessions for jobs. So, good luck for the same, and do well.

((photograph  by I. MacDonald), Felder, D.L and Camp, D.K. (eds.) 2009. Gulf of  Mexico - Origins, Waters, and Biota. Vol. 1. Biodiversity. Texas A&M  Press, College Station, Texas.)
 Deep-Sea Amphipod
The roving Phronima sedentaria, a small crustacean, inhabits  the hollowed-out bodies of dead barrel-shaped organisms called salps.  The crustacean deposits its young on the salp barrel, in a phenomenon  called demarsupiation. This unique creature is part of an imperiled  community of aquatic organisms in the Gulf of Mexico, where poor water  quality and habitat loss have weakened the ecosystem.
Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Weird-Creatures-From-the-Deep.html#ixzz18LNC0R9X

((photograph by I. MacDonald), Felder, D.L and Camp, D.K. (eds.) 2009. Gulf of Mexico - Origins, Waters, and Biota. Vol. 1. Biodiversity. Texas A&M Press, College Station, Texas.)


Deep-Sea Amphipod

The roving Phronima sedentaria, a small crustacean, inhabits the hollowed-out bodies of dead barrel-shaped organisms called salps. The crustacean deposits its young on the salp barrel, in a phenomenon called demarsupiation. This unique creature is part of an imperiled community of aquatic organisms in the Gulf of Mexico, where poor water quality and habitat loss have weakened the ecosystem.



Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Weird-Creatures-From-the-Deep.html#ixzz18LNC0R9X

Asthma, Arthritis, Starfish Slime Treatment

Scotland marine biologists may have the answer to inflammatory conditions, using the non-stick goo from a starfish.

Scientists from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), have been studying goo produced from the spiny starfish usually located in the waters Scotland and other areas of the British Isles. The goo just may be essential in treatments.

Dr. Charlie Bavington, founder and managing director of Glycomar, marine technology company based at SAMS. Talked about this new research with the media.

During an interview with BBC, Dr. Bavington had shown how the starfish produces the slime. Within a matter of seconds of holding the spiny starfish goo had started to ooze.

This goo is actually the starfish’s mechanism for defense and prevents debris from sticking to its body.

Dr. Bavington states the compound which held their interest was the goo. The purified compound looks much like white powder and they are working with chemists to produce a man made version.

The scientists are hopeful that the can pound can perform for blood vessels what it does for the starfish, stop things from sticking.

Inflammatory conditions like asthma and arthritis occurs when the bodies natural immune reaction to infection overacts and the white blood cells adhere to and build up on the inside blood vessel walls, causing tissue damage.

Starfish are constantly bathed in micro-organisms, bacteria, larvae, and virus all of which wish to adhere to the body. However, the goo which the emit guards them from the continuing invasion by making their bodies too slippery to stick.

Dr. Bavington states starfish are much better than Teflon, they have a very productive anti-fouling surface for the prevention of things sticking.

Scientists want to observe if the compounds they have isolated from the starfish’s goo could be produced into a medication that coats blood vessels that flows through without sticking to the sides.

Human cells stick from a flowing medium to blood vessel walls. Scientists thought they could learn something from how the starfish stops this action, so they could find a way for the prevention to be used in humans.

Professor Clive Page, pharmacology at King’s College in London, is collaborating with Dr. Bavington on this research. Professor Page notes that the discovery of this substance in starfish goo has greatly lessened the usual time span in the development of a new treatment.

Professor Page continues usually scientists screen hundreds of compounds before they find a lead.

Glycobiology is the field of research in which this field is associated to, a branch of biology which studies the structure, biosynthesis, and functions of sugar chains and saccharides.

Saccharides exist on cell surfaces, they intervene the interaction between cells and cells and extracellular matrix and effector molecules.

The impact for arthritis on Americans is on the up climb and The World Health Organization indicates that 300 million people endure asthma with that number also increasing each year.

Many persons are looking toward alternative treatments for medical conditions due largely to the facts that medications carry numerous side effects and conventional treatments most of the times do not provide relief.

For inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis there are alternative treatments that are used for both conditions.

Chiropractic

Chiropractic care has been demonstrated to aide asthma and arthritis.

For arthritis spinal manipulations can greatly decrease the pain, provide normal functioning along with decreasing fluid build up in the joints. The treatments have been proven effective through scientific research for both genetic and non-genetic forms.

Chiropractic is also a parents first choice for asthma treatments for their children. Adults and children have noted relief from their asthma symptoms after chiropractic care. By correcting spinal misalignment it has a positive effect on asthma. Significant improvements in symptoms, reduction of cortisol levels, few asthma attacks and in some cases medications were no longer required.

Chiropractors use a variety of treatments beside manipulations which include massage and hot and cold therapy, nutritional and herbal education/advice along with electric stimulation with TENS units.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been established for effectiveness in a variety of conditions and diseases.

Several studies have noted that acupuncture can provide relief for arthritis symptoms. Acupuncture has decreased the need for surgery such as for osteoarthritis of the knee by at least twenty-five percent.

Acupuncture based on theory energy flows through the human body in positive and negative forces (ying and yang). By using particular points usually upper back and hand for asthma, it can aide in breathing and decrease the occurrence of attacks.

Debbie Nicholson is based in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, and is Anchor for Allvoices

Dec 16

Seaweed as Biofuel? Metabolic Engineering Makes It a Viable Option

ScienceDaily (Dec. 16, 2010) — Is red seaweed a viable future biofuel? Now that a University of Illinois metabolic engineer has developed a strain of yeast that can make short work of fermenting galactose, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

"When Americans think about biofuel crops, they think of corn, miscanthus, and switchgrass. ln small island or peninsular nations, though, the natural, obvious choice is marine biomass," said Yong-Su Jin, a U of I assistant professor of microbial genomics and a faculty member in its Institute for Genomic Biology.

Producers of biofuels made from terrestrial biomass crops have had difficulty breaking down recalcitrant fibers and extracting fermentable sugars. The harsh pretreatment processes used to release the sugars also resulted in toxic byproducts, inhibiting subsequent microbial fermentation, he said.

But marine biomass can be easily degraded to fermentable sugars, and production rates and range of distribution are higher than terrestrial biomass, he said.

"However, making biofuels from red seaweed has been problematic because the process yields both glucose and galactose, and until now galactose fermentation has been very inefficient," he said.

But Jin and his colleagues have recently identified three genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the microbe most often used to ferment the sugars, whose overexpression increased galactose fermentation by 250 percent when compared to a control strain.

"This discovery greatly improves the economic viability of marine biofuels," he said.

Overexpression of one gene in particular, a truncated form of the TUP1 gene, sent galactose fermentation numbers soaring. The new strain consumed both sugars (glucose and galactose) almost three times faster than the control strain — 8 versus 24 hours, he said.

"When we targeted this protein, the metabolic enzymes in galactose became very active. We can see that this gene is part of a regulating or controlling system," he said.

According to Jin, galactose is one of the most abundant sugars in marine biomass so its enhanced fermentation will be industrially useful for seaweed biofuel producers.

Marine biomass is an attractive renewable source for the production of biofuels for three reasons:

Co-authors are Suk-Jin Ha of the U of I’s Institute of Genomic Biology; Ki-Sung Lee, Min-Eui Hong, Suk-Chae Jung, and Dae-Hyuk Kweon of Sungkyunkwan University; Byoung Jo Yu, Hyun Min Koo, Sung-Min Park, and Jae Chan Park of the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology; and Jin-Ho Seo of Seoul National University. Funding was provided by the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology; the BioGreen 21 Program, Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea; and the Korea Research Foundation.

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

(Source: sciencedaily.com)

New Bacteria Found on Titanic; Eats Metal

Nat Geo shipRachel Kaufman

for National Geographic News

Published December 10, 2010

A new species of bacteria has been discovered on the sunken hull of the Titanic—and it may be speeding up the decay of the historic wreck, new research reports. (See Titanic pictures.)

Scientists at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, collected samples of the R.M.S. Titanic’s icicle-like rust formations, called rusticles, in 1991.

Although the formations were teaming with life, nobody had identified the specific microbes on the ship, instead grouping them into broad categories such as bacteria or fungi.

So Henrietta Mann and then graduate student Bhavleen Kaur, now of the Ontario Science Centre, decided to isolate and identify one species of bacteria from the mess of microscopic life-forms.

The one they chose turned out to be a new species, which the pair dubbed Halomonas titanicae. The bacteria is part of a family that had never been seen before in waters as deep as those in which the Titanic sits, about 2.4 miles (3.8 kilometers) below the surface, Kaur said.

Titanic’s Destruction “a Learning Process”

The Titanic sank 98 years ago and sat largely undisturbed on the seafloor until its rediscovery in 1985. Since then researchers have learned that microorganisms, seafloor currents, and the explorers themselves have been hastening the destruction of the ship.

(See Titanic Was Found During Secret Cold War Navy Mission.”)

Some experts hope to preserve the wreck by killing the metal-munching bacteria and shielding the boat from currents, allowing tourists and documentary filmmakers to visit Titanic for years to come.

But “letting it proceed with its deterioration is also a learning process,” Kaur said. “If we stop and preserve it, then we stop the process of degradation.”

Ultimately, such deep-dwelling, metal-eating microbes could teach engineers how to protect offshore oil rigs or dispose of other ships.

Research describing the new bacteria species appears in the December 8 issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

Ancient Balloon-Headed Dolphin Found by Fishers

Nat Geo imageKer Than

for National Geographic News

Published December 13, 2010

A new species of ancient balloon-headed dolphin has been identified from a fossil pulled up by fishers in the North Sea (map), a new study says.

The 2.5-million-year-old species was named Hoekman’s blunt-snouted dolphin after Albert Hoekman, the Dutch fisher who trawled up a bone from the creature’s snout in 2008.

Measuring up to 20 feet (6 meters) long, the newfound dolphin had an extremely short and spoon-shaped snout that supported a large, high, and protruding forehead.

(Related: "New, ‘Chubbier’ River Dolphin Species Found in Bolivia.")

Bulbous Head Helped Dolphin Navigate?

In looks and size, the new species was similar to modern pilot whales—although its head was much more bulbous, said study author Klaas Post, an honorary curator at the Natural History Museum Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

(See "Pilot Whales Are ‘Cheetahs of the Sea,’ Study Finds.")

Post and colleague Erwin Kompanje suspect that Hoekman’s blunt-snouted dolphin may have been a direct ancestor or at least a very close relative of today’s pilot whales. (See whale pictures.)

As with today’s pilot whales, the team also suspects that the new dolphin used its large forehead for echolocation, a biological form of sonar that allows dolphins and some whales to navigate in murky conditions.

"Pilot whales seem to have developed this tool in some special way," Post said via email, "and [Hoekman’s blunt-snouted dolphins] seem to have been the forerunner."

The new dolphin species is described in the 2010 issue of the yearly Dutch journal Deinsea. The fossil snout is currently on display at the Natural History Museum Rotterdam.