Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Marine Science @ Otago - Jordan Housiaux

Exploring the murky world of the Sevengill Shark

 Jordan Housiaux uses mark-recapture methods and photo identification to investigate genetic relationships and quantify populations of Sevengill Sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus) in Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island, and Otago Harbour, Dunedin.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marine Science @ Otago - Matt Desmond

How much light is getting through?

What happens on land has a big effect on subtidal coastal reef ecosystems.  When land is modified by farming, forestry and urban development, sediment from this disruption flows into the sea reducing light penetration. This results in less energy being available for primary producers such as macroalgae, in turn disrupting and altering complex marine food webs. 

Matt Desmond's research comparing modified and unmodified coastal reef ecosystems aims to quantify how light affects such valuable systems with the goal of providing information which can be used to support coastal management initiatives.

The photo shows a light logger at one of Matt's research sites on Stewart Island.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Marine Science @ Otago - Esther Stuck

Is this Antarctic echinoderm going to have a harder time than its tropical relative as Ocean Acidification increases?

It is known that cold polar waters are becoming less carbon-saturated more quickly than warmer waters, possibly becoming undersaturated by the year 2050. This means animals that build their skeletons from calcium carbonate (starfish and sea urchins) may be at risk of not being able to build a skeleton. Polar species are also more vulnerable than their tropical counterparts due to their extremely slow growth rate and metabolism (the polar sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri grows 80mm in 80 years!).

Esther Stuck's research, involves comparing how species from different latitudes respond to lowered pH and if polar species react differently to their tropical and temperate species.